Let’s face it, dining out with toddlers is tough. In a perfect world, my children would sit through dinner quietly while enjoying their meal. Once in a blue moon this may happen, but they’re usually bored after a few minutes, loose the three crayons the waitress gave them when we got there, and are done with their food after two bites. My husband and I used to eat out all the time before we had kids, our favorite place was Cracker Barrel (I may have a slight addiction to the cheesy hashbrown casserole).
We still try to go out once a week for dinner when we can, which is why I was so excited after a friend introduced me to busy bags, I have no idea why I never tried them before but they work wonders! And there are so many different ways to make them that include inexpensive things you probably already have in your house. And because I’m always rushing out the door and forgetting something, I like to keep them in a basket in my car so the kids can grab a couple to bring into Cracker Barrel with us every time we go, that way they’re always on hand! First you’ll want to pick up some small bags like the ones kids use for school supplies or even some plastic baggies will work. Then fill them with some easy hands on activities like some of these ones that I’ve listed below to help you get started!
10+ Restaurant Busy Bag Ideas For Toddlers
- Felt Caterpillar Busy Bag – Only a few materials and you can pair this one with The Hungry Caterpillar.
- Matchstick Colour Drop – Make this fine motor sorting activity with a few recyclables.
- Printable Animal Puzzles – This printable activity lets the kids mix and match different parts of animals.
- Pizza Making Kit – Any young inspiring chefs will love this little inexpensive activity.
- Silhouette Matching Game – Another free printable that you should take advantage of, it’s an easy activity to set up and prepare.
- Free Letter Tracing Roads – A fun and free way to teach kids how to write the ABC’s.
- Shapes, Counting, and Colors Busy Bag with Printable – Working on shapes, numbers or colors? Check out this free printable busy bag for a fun fine motor activity!
- Fishing Quiet Game – This is so easy to make and such a hit with the kids! You could even number the fish to add some counting into the activity too.
- Robin Counting Fine Motor Busy Bag – The kids can have fun making this and then playing with it afterwards.
- Portable Lego Kit – Includes free printable activity cards for your little lego lover!
Some other things I like to include in ours are small puzzles, board books, and popsicle velcro sticks. We brought the popsicle sticks to our last Cracker Barrel outing and they were my sons favorite! We use them to make different shapes, color sorting, and by the end of dinner they turned into roads for his toy cars. So while the kids were playing with dad I was able to sneak in some shopping while they finished dinner. If you’ve never been to Cracker Barrel, besides having a large assortment of delicious food they also have the Old Country Store. The store’s one of my favorite places to shop because they offer such unique products like toys, home decor, clothes and even food. I always end up getting cookware and toys, my husband is a sucker for the candy! They also have rocking chairs to sit on and games to play while you wait for your table and food. If you’re looking for the perfect family friendly restaurant, stop by your local Cracker Barrel for a delicious home cooked meal. The menu items are made fresh and include Chicken Fried Chicken, Chicken n’ Dumplins Platter, Meatloaf Dinner, Baked Apple Dumplin, and an amazing Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake to name a few. And don’t forget to check out the Cracker Barrel’s Retail Store while you’re there!
What’s your favorite menu item at Cracker Barrel?