Ways to Entertain Toddlers at Restaurants

You do not want your toddler to occupy himself or herself by screaming at the top of his or her lungs at a restaurant. Instead, come prepared with a variety of tools to keep your toddler occupied. Think about what entertains your child the best.


Coloring is such a common activity at restaurants that many restaurants supply their own. Bring your own if they do not supply them or if you have one that will better occupy your child. You can also bring an entire box of crayons so that he or she can try all of the different colors. Buy a coloring book with a character that your child likes such as Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street.

For something that does not use paper, bring a magnetic pad so he or she can make pictures again and again and then erase them.

Activity books

Your toddler might like an activity pad. Make sure to get something age-appropriate and not too mature for your toddler. He or she might like to do simple mazes or hidden pictures. You can bring a magazine such as High Five.

Reading books

Obviously your toddler cannot yet read, however, you can read to him or her. Get some tiny books that fit into your purse or diaper bag. Read the stories to provide quality time while you are waiting to be served.

Quiet toy

There are many quiet toys that might entertain your little one. Go through your toys to see if something will work. For instance, you can bring Play-doh for him or her to make into shapes.

Quiet games

There are many quiet games that you can play with your little one. For instance, you can see who can whisper the best. You can play a game of I spy; you can say, “I spy something red” and he or she has to guess what it is. You can also do knock knock jokes or other games.


You might not want to teach your toddler that he or she should watch television at the table, however if this is the only way you can enjoy a restaurant meal, then it might be worth it at least while he or she is very young. Bring a DVD player, tablet or laptop to play a favorite show of the child.

Oftentimes, a variety of activities can be most effective at keeping a toddler occupied. This works if a child has a short attention span. With work and preparation, you can enjoy your restaurant meal, even with a toddler.