Six of the Best Screen Free Ways to Entertain Kids While Dining Out

  • Family
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By Lenore Pearson, ellaslist explorer

Tears, tantrums, flying cutlery and smashed plates while trying to decide  on the perfect meal at a lovely family restaurant, only to quickly choose the first thing you see resulting in indigestion after rushing your meal down in between getting up from the table 20 times….sound familiar?? I learnt very quickly to always be prepared when dining out with kids. Below is a list of tried and tested screen-free ways to entertain your kids while dining out, all of which can easily fit into a handbag!

1. The Drawing Game

This game can be played with three people. The first person draws a funny face and folds the piece of paper over and passes it on to the next person who draws a body. They fold the piece of paper over again and the third person draws the legs/feet. The piece of paper is then unfolded to reveal a crazy creature.

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2. Conversation Cards

These are such a great idea. A set of table topic cards with questions to encourage conversation and interaction. A card is read out and each person takes a turn to answer. A wonderful selection of Table Topic Cards can be purchased here.

3. Coloured Pencils and Small Colouring Book

This is always a life saver. A small colouring/drawing book with pencils
will keep the kids entertained long enough for their meal to arrive. You may find that many child friendly restaurants already have these available.

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4. Small Travel Games-

There are so many wonderful travel sized games available, small enough to fit in a handbag. These are a selection of travel games that are popular with my kids.

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5. Hang Man/Eye Spy-

You can’t go past the classics. Hang Man and Eye Spy are always the favourites.

6. The Dot Game-

This was always one of my favourite games to play as a kid. All you need is a piece of paper and pen. Draw up a 10 by 10 dot grid and take turns to join to dots, ultimately trying to create a box which you claim by writing your initials inside. The person with the most completed boxes in the end is the winner.


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Lenore Pearson ellaslist explorer

Hello! My name is Lenore, proud mumma to three gorgeous kids, amazingly awesome wife to one cool dude and self-professed travel addict! I started out my career as a primary school teacher for five years, which, second to having my own kids, was extremely rewarding for me.

While I was pregnant with baby number 3, and slowly going insane pacing (waddling) up and down the house, I felt I needed to keep my mind active and decided to take up a Diploma in Travel and Tourism, because I clearly wasn’t going to have my hands full enough with three kids!

I am all about exploring. For me, living a full life is about collecting amazing experiences from as many incredible places as possible. Travel and adventures fuel my imagination and I love sharing them in the hopes of inspiring the explorer in each of us! Along with my family, I have been fortunate enough to have discovered lots of places already.

I am super excited to be an ellaslist Explorer, aiming to provide very real and practical information for families looking to create their own adventures and experiences. I am forever researching new and exciting things to do with the kids and I look forward to sharing them with you.

I have also just launched my own travel blog ‘Little Miss Piggy’ a treasure trove of travel inspiration and unique experiences in and around Sydney and abroad.