SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dining Out Fun: Do-It-Yourself Restaurant Kits | Family Economics

By Trisha

Over the years, I’ve discovered the more prepared and organized I am occupying my children while they wait for their meals, the more successful our dining out experience has been. This inspired me to create a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) restaurant kit. This kit is full of fun to keep children busy as they patiently wait for their meals to be delivered to the table.

You may find less fidgeting and “I’m bored” moments by creating your own DIY restaurant kit to take along on your dining experiences.

DIY Restaurant Kit Instructions:

1.    Purchase a closeable plastic tote with a handle. You can find inexpensive totes at your local dollar store. Other types of closeable bags or containers will work as well.

2.    Have your children personalize and decorate their totes with art supplies.

3.    Collect items to place inside your tote. The items you chose will be based off of your children’s preferences and what they consider the most entertaining. Here are a few ideas for your kit:
•    Crayons
•    Markers
•    Pens and pencils
•    Mini coloring books
•    Mini notepads
•    Word search books
•    Stickers
•    Index cards for coloring or playing tic-tac-toe
•    Small games and toys
•    Playing cards (old maid, go fish)
•    Small Slinky

Be sure to include hand wipes with your kit and leave it in your car so that you are prepared for random family dining out occasions. Remember to refill your kits when needed and change the contents as they grow older.

The DIY restaurant kit is also perfect for taking along to doctor visits or other situations your children may need it to play quietly. What are some items your children would love in their restaurant kit? I would love to hear your ideas!

4 Comments so far

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On Sunday, September 18, 2011, Calif Mom wrote

fantastic ideas.. we always have stuff on-hand for our son to do while we wait at restaurants, doc offices, etc. but we are usually running around the house grabbing things last minute.. plus all these things usually end up in my purse! Having a 'kit' ready in the car will solve these issues. Other to-do ideas - "matchbox" cars, small lego kits (in ziplocs so pieces aren't lost), dominoes, memory games. Other 'food' ideas - juice or milk box, 'Grammy Sammy' or 'Jammy Sammy', Box of Raisins or other dried fruit, Fruit chews in child's fave character.

On Thursday, September 15, 2011, LeslieP from South Kitsap wrote

I LOVE this! Thank you!

On Thursday, September 15, 2011, Alijoy wrote

Great idea. We regularly take a bag of supplies too. Small puzzles work well too. I often put the pieces in a ziplock bag and the base separately. A small train track that fits on the table has been good too. Since we are also trying to cut down on our waste we also have our own doggie bag containers and real cutlery to use if necessary. I like the idea of the container you used.

On Wednesday, September 14, 2011, Patty wrote

I also use to include a small amount of Cheerios or crackers because sometimes the kids, or the adults, can't handle that wait . Warding off a hunger melt down is worth it. A small dry erase board with washable markers is great for the little bit older set. Small books that teach colors, numbers, alphabet...the kids will look them over. Dollar store "fun pads"...puzzle pads, etc. It's a great time to draw a picture for Grandma or do a thank you...enclose envelopes and put a stamp or two in your purse. You can address it at the restaurant and drop it in the mailbox on the way home.

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