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Restaurant-Friendly Activities for Kids (Because You Deserve to Get Through a Sit-Down Dinner)

The key to having a pleasant meal in a restaurant with kids along is keeping them busy, happy, and entertained. That's why I always bring small activity kits that I make for each child. I often see parents struggling with kids that have nothing to do. Maybe their parents think that kids shouldn't play with toys at the table, but my theory is that busy hands are happy hands!
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Materials:

  • A few crayons and markers
  • Small notepad
  • Felt
  • Small toys such as cars, figures and animals
  • Mini book
  • Zipper pouch

Note: For this project, gather together age-appropriate items to be placed in the zipper bag. If your child is creative, you can add more craft items such as markers. A younger child could have more pretend play items like a mini tea set or dolls. Remember for toddler kits to only include toys that are large enough not to be a choking hazard. Rubber duckies, bath toys and large toddler crayons are great for toddler kits.

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How to Make the Restaurant Activity Kits for Kids:

1. Start with a cute zipper bag of some sort. You can find these at drugstores or dollar stores or maybe you have something at home. I like to purchase clear vinyl slide zipper pouchs online at places like PaperMart. They come in many sizes and shapes and are inexpensive.

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2. I think it's very important to include art materials in the kits. This could be markers, crayons, mini paint set, colored pencils, pieces of felt or tissue paper and a pad of paper.

 

For toddlers, you could use large toddler crayons and a mini coloring book. I love to get those just-add-water painting activity books with the pigment printed right on the pages -- you can find them at dollar and craft stores.

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3. It's nice to include small plastic figures and animals so that the child can have someone to interact with. In a restaurant this can be combined with a cup and saucer on the table for "expeditions." My kids' favorites were the plastic coffee creamers used as tables and chairs for their little "companions."

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4. Don't forget to include a mode of transportation. A mini car, truck, or tractor has always been a favorite with my kids.

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5. Pretend play is not only educational, but it can also buy you a lot of time when dining out, if it captures the child's imagination. Try miniatures of household items such as a coffee cup, spoon and fork, plates, plastic food, or furniture.

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6. A mini book to read is also a must.

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7. You can personalize the kits so that the chid can take ownership and take pride in carrying it with him or her when he or she goes out. You can simply print out a label on the computer, or embroider a name on a cloth bag.

 

My checklist for sucessful activity kits for restaurants is:

  • Something to create art
  • Something cute
  • Something to pretend you are grown up
  • An animal, a person, and a car
  • Something to read
  • A surprise! The surprise can be just something new that you add to the kit.

 

Now you are ready to go out and enjoy a meal in a restaurant with your kids!

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About the Author

Wendy A. Gardner

Wendy Ann Gardner loves dogs, cats, chickens, and pets of all kind. One day she met a French Bulldog, which inspired her to create the Vicious French Bulldog plush toy, and the Naughty Naughty Pets were born. She formed her company, Scary Stories Inc., and began selling Dig Ivan Dig, Heedley Pecked Me in the Eye, and all the other mischievous characters in her line of unique plush...

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