TODDLERS ARE BUSY! We have narrowed down the best busy bag essentials for you to bring with you to a restaurant to help keep your toddler entertained while you eat! Keep reading below to find out what we recommend that you bring with you!
Tips for eating at restaurants with toddlers
- Arrive early and order ahead for kids
- Wipe down area around younger kids table section
- Bring a busy bag
- Bring snacks, toddler cutlery and cup
- For younger ones, bring a disposable placemat
- Order familiar foods
- Ask for bill when food arrives
- Let go of guilt over screen time
- If you can, pick a table in the back or near a wall so kids can run around
TIP: Remember to give yourself grace. We would all love to have the perfect peaceful meal out with our little ones, but it is completely age appropriate for toddlers to have a shorter attention span and behave imperfectly at a restaurant. These are some items that have helped me keep my kids happy and busy at a restaurant.
Busy bag kit essentials
The perfect mess-free activity for on the go! We use these ALL the time. This Water Wow bundle comes in a pack of three (extras for siblings). We have also been loving this deluxe water wow bundle with a special lens!
Wikki Stix are easy ones to throw in any diaper or bag. They stick together to create whatever your toddler can imagine, or try these wikki stix with a book to help guide your toddler in their creations.
This Boogie Board has traveled with us to restaurants, on road trips and plane rides. We have practiced letters, played Pictionary and drew everything on these! This is definitely a most-used item for when we are out.
If you are always helping your little one get stickers off the page, these puffy stickers are perfect for little fingers to grab without any assistance! Beesie and Finn can do these books all by themselves (magical quirky, science, 100 words) and these dot stickers are great classic choices, you can get creative and use them in a million different ways.
My favorite placemats (BPA free) we bring with us everywhere, because when the waiter brings a glass plate for your toddler, you need a backup plan 🙂 I’ve tried a few other brands and these work the best for my family!
Raise your hand if you loved polly pocket as a kid! I’m so happy they still make these and they have so many little features that create endless pretend play for your toddler!
This traveling princess doll set for your little one that loves Disney and loves to make believe!
If they can do it on their own, this necklace set can be ideal for focus and creativity on the go! And it makes the cutest necklace at the end. It comes in versions with all the different Disney characters!
Melissa & Doug makes these super convenient coloring books with holders for markers. Also comes in a no-mess invisible ink version. We also LOVE the Color Wonder marker sets (that will only draw on color wonder paper, and not on anything else!)
One of our most used items! It’s a little pricey for a book, but it really provides hours of entertainment with different activities on each page. Bee started using this book at 6 months old (when Finn didn’t steal it) and still uses it now at the age of 2! Roey is starting to love it now too, so it’s great for all siblings! Disclaimer – be careful of the small pieces that do come off for younger babies!
Has your toddler ever taken your scotch tape and made a mess all over? This book comes with fun tape colors and places to put the tape! *Always supervise your toddler when they are using tape.
These letters snap into place and comes in a very convenient carrying case. We use this one at home to practice letter recognition too!
Magnetic drawing boards are a staple on our family outings. Our younger ones love sliding the drawing away and using the magnetic shapes. and Finn is getting really good at using the magnetic pencil.
This busy board is worth every penny! It is Montessori based and such great practice for fine motor and will also keep your little ones busy figuring it out!
We use this one a lot at home, but it also works for on the go! Lacing makes great practice for fine motor and your Bee is so proud when its complete!
Bee got these stacking rocks in her Easter basket from her grandparents and she hasn’t stopped stacking and knocking them down!
For the toddler that is always trying to see what things fit in where, this is the perfect little game that travels easily!
For your vehicle loving toddler, this mat was made for travel, with the cutest little town and roads to play on.
I came across these, and they would be the perfect holder for all your busy bag toys! They come in wildlife, horse, dino, and unicorn. My friend has these cute plush backpacks where you can push the little animals into. I’m going to add this unicorn one to Bee’s wish list.
This super cute book is perfect for your little one with 3-D felt stickers and press outs.
Other helpful blog posts:
- Items to leave at grandparents’, nanny share or second caregivers’s houses
- When to transition to a toddler bed
- 10 snack ideas for babies and toddlers
- Potty training tips + how to know when your toddler is ready
- Diaper bag essentials
- Stroller accessory must haves
**This post is educational and not meant to take the place of your provider. Bumblebaby makes a small commission on some of the items listed above