5 Ways to entertain toddlers in a restaurant

My husband and I enjoy going out for brunch with our little one on weekends. However, the older she gets, the more challenging it gets to keep her entertained during the meal. Especially now that she’s 2 (they are called the “terrible twos” for a reason :-)). I’d be lying if I said we don’t use Youtube when we’re too desperate, but we try to avoid it if possible.

I recently ran into this blog post which inspired me to write about the things that work for our 2-year-old when we go to restaurants. So here’s our list.

  1. Crayons. These are a must for us. Plenty of restaurants usually have crayons and color sheets for kids, especially in the East Bay (at least compared to San Francisco). But I always have a Ziploc with 4 crayons and a small notebook in my purse. You never know.

2. Stickers. Toddlers love stickers. It doesn’t have to be a book with re-usable stickers, any kind of stickers will do. We normally buy regular office labels in different colors which she loves. We also have music stickers and all sorts of other kinds, but the plain colored ones are ideal to complement her drawings. Below you can see one of her works of art .

3. Hand-clapping games and singing. They won’t keep her entertained for more than 5-10 min at a time, but they’re fun to play! Plus they help develop control of muscles and hand-eye coordination. In this picture, she’s playing with grandma!

4. Small toys. Her favorite cartoons are Peppa Pig and Pocoyo, so why not bringing them everywhere with us? She imagines stories while she plays with these little guys, and memorizes and repeats the names of the characters over and over. She can also spend a long time just lining them up.

5. Telesketch type toy. This is the one that we use the least. We had one of these Telesketch cheap imitations which she would play a lot with. But when it broke and we never replaced it (she has so many toys!). This was a present that we got from the Daycare she attended in Spain for two weeks last Christmas, and it’s certainly a great idea for toddlers.

If you have other toys and tricks to entertain toddlers at restaurants, please share in the comments, I’d love to try them with my daughter.