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Dining Out with Toddlers

We have two kiddos, which are at very different stages!  M is almost 5.5 and loves to dine out.  G is 18 months and doesn’t share that same love of sitting and eating.
We don’t eat out too much but when we do, I love to bring a few activity bags with us.  They definitely keep him happy in his high chair until the food arrives!
These are some of our bags.  I’ve developed some toddler-friendly ones especially for G.
Finger Puppets
Ikea has the most reasonably priced selection and the details are adorable.  I’ve also found some cute ones at Dollar Tree, too.
They are fun to just explore, but also fun for others at the table to play along.

 

Stickers
I love stickers and have quite the collection!  For G, I peel the surrounding “frame” off, which leaves ONLY the stickers.  This makes it super easy to peel off AND it’s a great fine motor activity!
This activity bag is filled with pre-prepped stickers and some construction paper scraps that he can put the stickers on (though he really just loves to put stickers on himself!).

 

Sorting
This is our favorite activity bag!  I got this ice cube tray at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and it’s perfect because it fits in a zippered, cloth pencil bag.  I glued felt squares into the bottom of each compartment and added some tiny objects.  I used counting bears, plastic fruit, chunky beads, and buttons.  He loves to sort the objects and explore!

 

Get Creative!
Okay, so sometimes even the most prepared activity bags can’t hold little man’s attention and that’s when we just have to think outside the box!
We do everything from playing tic-tac-toe with utensils and sugar packets (pink and blue!) to stacking creamer cups.

 

How do you keep your toddler entertained while dining out?

Written by Jill
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4 Comments

  • Reply Lizzy FM

    This is a great post. Our little girl is 15 months old now and taking her out to a restaurant is quite the hassle. I usually let her roam around (with me in tow of course) until our food arrives. Then I sit her down in the highchair with her own food and some activities. I would love to hear other mom’s tips.

    November 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm
  • Reply Shahidul Islam

    INCREDIBLE THINKING!! You did really making sense. My little baby girl like different things to do and I think this will be enjoyable for me also when I’ll see she is doing this.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    I keep a calculator in my bag. My 1.5 year old loves it!

    November 28, 2012 at 2:49 am
  • Reply Mjane N

    Balloon filled with playdough tied off lots of fun to squeeze

    November 30, 2012 at 5:51 pm
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