Thanks to those of you who contributed to our list of fab top tips to help keep the kids entertained while you’re out and about in cafes and restaurants.  Here’s what you all came up with :-

  1. Use the menu as entertainment.   Kids love looking at the pictures and being treated as a grown up.  If they are able to, encourage them to order with the waiter or waitress.  They will love being made to feel special and grown up.
  2. Many cafes will supply you with crayons and paper to keep the kids entertained – ask if they don’t give you as the staff may just be busy and have forgotten.  Even better, remember to take paper & crayons for drawing as not all restaurants will have them for you.
  3. If you’re worried about things getting crumpled in the bottom of your bag why not try storing paper/pencils in one of those old weaning cutlery cases?
  4. It’s amazing the things that can be created with a paper napkin; table decorations, origami animals, hats and that folded paper game that you wear over your fingers where you get other people to lift a flap to reveal a message.  Get creative and start folding!  If you need some inspiration take a look at the fab blogs atRedTedArt and NurtureStore.
  5. Stickers are always a winner.  Ask for a ‘take away cup’ and get your child to decorate the cup giving you time to enjoy your coffee.
  6. Small, portable toys are always great to have to hand eg a small tub or two of play doh or the mini books that slip into a pocket or bag easily.
  7. Take, or ask for, a paper plate.  Kids can colour in a plate with the food they have ordered as a memento of the trip – Grandparents love receiving these ‘gifts’ and can talk to the child about their experience.
  8. Older children enjoy pencil and paper games like ‘squares‘.  This is the one where you put a load of dots on a piece of paper so when they are joined together they form squares. You take turns in drawing a line between two dots and if you complete a square you put your initial in and then have another go. The winner is ther person who has won the most squares.
  9. For the more adventurous how about taking photos of each course and printing them out for a scrap book all about the restaurants & cafes they have been to? If your child is interested you could encourage them to act as a restaurant critic and give each venue a mark out of 5. Or maybe they could upload the photos to create a power point presentation? Both ideas would cover Literacy & ICT skills for school meaning you can buff up your halo while you relax and enjoy your coffee!
  10. If you have younger children ask for a table by a window so you can see all the cars going by or look at the trees and see if you can see a bird.
  11. Younger children will also enjoy simple games like pointing things out such as naming & counting all the cutlery on the table.
  12. Avoid eating out if it is near nap time and your child gets crotchety if they are not kept in their routine.
  13. If you’re sitting outside why not try bubbles - these are always popular with kids and easy to keep in your bag or pocket.
  14. Keep your own handy supply of healthy snacks like breadsticks or raisins to keep the kids going until the food arrives.
  15. If your child is in a pushchair it’s best to let them sit up at the table with you instead of feeding them whilst in their pushchair. We all like a change of scenery and your child will appreciate a break from the pushchair.

We reckon that’s plenty to keep you going until your food arrives!  Do you have a tip to share?

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