As anyone with young kids knows, eating out can be hit or miss, especially if you’d like to go somewhere a step up from fast food! I came up with a way to ease the pain of dining out by bringing along a restaurant kit when we go out (and since it lives in the diaper bag it does double duty as a busy bag when necessary).
Here’s what I put in our restaurant kit for kids:
1. Start with the bag. A small cosmetics bag would work great – I used a bag with a clear front so that I could see inside easily, and its heavy duty material lets me clean it off.
2. Little blank notebooks for each of the kids – fun for drawing, tic tac toe, or pretending to be the waiter.
3. Extra plastic utensils – just in case (sometimes the restaurant only has large heavy utensils which are unweildy for little kids, and sometimes the fork is on the floor with no replacement in sight).
4. Assorted little toys – I tried to pick things that both kids would enjoy and that could spark some imaginative play.
5. Extra straws. Sometimes restaurants don’t have straws, or they’re only giant straws. I have some thin straws in our kit, and I also cut down some straws so that they fit kid-sized glasses better.
6. Little card games. I printed these ones out from nickjr.com and used wide tape to ‘laminate’ them – one is a memory match game and one is an easy number game.
7. Crayons. I put them in ziplock bags which hold up better than the little cardboard boxes and I have a baggie for each kid.
8. Little books. We have a Velveteen Rabbit set which breaks the story up into 6 little books, but any little books would work.
9. Sticker books or stickers. The reusable sticker books are great for a restaurant kit because then you know that the stickers won’t permanently bond to the table, chairs or floor of the restaurant!
10. Printable coloring pages from nickjr.com. Of course you can also find coloring and activity pages at a lot of other sites as well. I’ve found on some printers you can adjust the print settings to print 4 pages on one, which shrinks the images down to a smaller size – great for going in the kit and for coloring on the table without taking up a ton of space.
Of course, a phone with some kid-friendly apps works well too, but I try to avoid the electronic crutch when possible. What are some things you use to entertain your kids at restaurants?