HOW TO KEEP YOUR KIDS BUSY IN A RESTAURANT WITHOUT SCREENS

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Do you want to keep your child quiet and occupied when you are eating in a restaurant? What about when you are at the doctor’s office and suddenly the wait is over an hour?  Do you have a little one who you are constantly lugging around to an older sibling’s activities and you don’t want him on a screen while he waits? 

With three kids, you can bet that I’ve been in all of these situations more than once.  Poor Sloane spent half  her toddlerhood waiting in the orthodontist’s office for Nate or sitting on a blanket at Ruby’s softball practices.  She waited on the benches with me during swim lessons and sat through more than a few dinners out that were way past her bedtime.  

I knew I didn’t want to occupy her with a screen during these times (ZERO JUDGEMENT IF YOU CHOOSE THIS), but I also didn’t have it in me to sit there and read her books or play with her or follow her around begging her not to lick the walls. So, here’s what I did…

I bought a bunch of these muslin pouches on Amazon and I filled them with simple, open-ended activities that were mostly mess-free and could be used anywhere.  My goal was to put them together once and then have them for hours of entertainment on-the-go for Sloane and her friends or siblings.  

Yes, this takes a little bit of effort up front, but the reward is SO worth it.  

Here are my favorite Amazon-friendly materials for you to put together your own little activity pouches for your family, on-the-go.  

First, you’ll need some of these multi-use muslin pouches.


Next, you need some open ended goodies to fill them with!

Mini Felt Balls and Wooden Numbers are a simple pouch. This is great for number recognition, patterning, color play, early math and counting.  Let your child explore without guiding.

Plus-Plus Manipulatives are an easy no-brainer. Just dump them in a pouch and you are set!

Mini Vehicle Erasers and Mini Animal Erasers- These erasers are great, light weight figures for open ended play.  Spill a few out on the table at a restaurant and watch your child fall into an imaginary world while you sip your wine and have an adult conversation.  (These have tiny parts so if your chid still puts things in their mouths, this one is not for you.)

Tiny Colored Blocks- These are great on their own, or to add in with animals or vehicles. Just dump them into a little pouch and you are ready!

Art Pouch for open-ended art on-the-go. These materials are fantastic for grownups and children of all ages.

Click the images above to go directly to amazon and find these items. These are affiliate links, which means I get a small kickback when you purchase through my links. It does not cost you anything. Thank you for supporting The Workspace for Children.

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-Lizzie