11 Games to Play with Your Kids in Restaurants

Val Curtis

You know that feeling where you REALLY don’t want to make dinner because the kids are at the end of their rope, but you are too and then you think, “Hey! We are just going to go out to dinner!” But THEN you think, “My kids will lose their minds in the restaurant and that is more than this fragile soul can endure right now.” Am I right? It is for that reason alone that I created this worksheet “Games to Play with Your Kids in Restaurants”. I print 3 copies out, fold them into a square and have those little babies waiting in my purse.

Yup! I also keep a few card games in my bag. Forget bandaids – I rarely ever have those (yes, they are in the van) – but, I always have a few games for my kids to play.

Let’s chat about the worksheet:

Games to Play with Your Kids in Restaurants


Your traditional game. Xs and Os. These can always continue on the back, but there are enough to get the game going.


This is also an easy way to pass the time. Each player draws a line until they form a box. If they form a box, they place their initials in it AND they get to make one more line. The player with the most boxes wins. If you need more details directions, go here.

Word Bomb

This is an alternative to Hangman. I just can’t play that version of this game anymore. Another conversation for another day, but just think about it, m’kay?

Here is how you use this game board:

  1. Create your dashes for the word or phrase in the bottom.
  2. Use the middle space to write incorrect guesses.
  3. Every time the player guesses an incorrect letter, a section of the fuse is crossed out. Once the last section is crossed out… BOOM!

How to play the word bomb game

There are some other suggestions across the bottom that do not require a pen or pencil.

I Spy

One person picks something in or out of the restaurant and others at the table have to guess what that item is by asking “yes or no” questions. They can ask if it is something to eat? Is it furniture? Is it outside? Is it red? Is it in our booth? The game ends when someone guesses or they give up.


We love this one in restaurants and on the road as well. The idea is that you have to work your way around your space by identifying things that start with each letter of the alphabet. If it is a place you frequent, don’t allow for repetition. for younger players, have them find the letters on the menu.

20 Questions

We play this one at dinner, in restaurants, on the road, just about everywhere. The way we play is that the caller has to provide the players with 3 clues.

The older your kids get, the tricker they become about the clues. I love to introduce this idea by saying, “Ok, my item is black, white and red.” The kids look about madly to see if it is something in their immediate area. Nope. I will cut to the chase… it is a newspaper. Black, white and READ. They really start to have fun with this play on words and I am always surprised by what they come up with! Glaciers, asteroids, rainbows and the World Cup have all made it into the game.

1 0r 2?

This is a game for two players. Place seven sugar packets in a row. Player 1 may take away one or two sugar packets. Player 2 may also take away one or two packets. Continue to take turns in this manner. The one who is left with the last sugar packet loses. The loser gets to go first in the next round. This is an awesome game to teach your kids how to develop different strategies.

Would You Rather?

This is another game we play all of the time. My daughter loves to climb into bed in the morning and do a few rounds. I think she loves it because it always cracks us up!

Would you rather kiss a donkey or eat a worm?

Would you rather live in the mountains or down by the beach?

Would you rather swim in the ocean or in a pool?

Would you rather go on vacation with Bear Grylls or Simon Cowell?

You get the idea…


Some of the links here will take you to Amazon.

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Games to Keep in Your Bag

A deck of cards

So many options with War being the easiest. Here is a great source for card games to play with your kids.


This is the classic game of matching colors and numbers. Buy here.


This game is similar to Uno, but it is FASTER! The speed element really gets kids going. Buy it here.

Rat-a-Tat Cat

This game is SO awesome.  This is just a great game to have in your bag of tricks. It’s competitive, requires some strategy and has an element of surprise. We play it at home, on the ferry, camping, on the road, and in restaurants. Buy it here.

So there you go. You should feel safe to head out the door and give yourself a break from making dinner tonight! Don’t forget to download our printable worksheet.

Click here to print

Games to Play in a restaurant printable

Keep your kids busy and having fun with these games to play in a restaurant or anywhere they have to wait