As a parent of young children sometimes it can be stressful to bring them out to eat at any sit down restaurant or to anywhere they may have to sit for a while. Sometimes we decide if we can “go out” based on how the kids are acting, but even when they are acting just fine we could get to the restaurant and they just can’t sit still. For a while I used to keep crayons and paper in my purse, sometimes toys, pens, pencils, and just about anything else to help keep them well behaved. When I traveled a lot for work it became a chore to clean out my purse, and honestly I was sick of all the extra stuff.
I’m also not the type of parent who will just hand my kids a phone or tablet to keep them quiet. I know it’s hard for kids to sit still but it’s important for them to learn how to sit and wait with the rest of us. When we sit and wait as a family we like to take the time to slow down and catchup with everyone. Having a bag full of things to help keep the kids still and quiet helps a lot. Sometimes they want to play games or talk, but others they would rather color, draw, or play other quiet games. I’m really excited to move the activity bag out of my purse and into the kids hands!
I thought the best option is to have a bag they can bring with them that has different activities. I plan on having the bag kept in the car with strict rules that it is NOT to be used in the car, it’s only for special occasions when we are out. I finally had the time to make the bags, they turned out AWESOME! A pencil bag would also work well for those of you who don’t want to make your own bag. If you want to check out how I made the bags, here’s a direct link to the post on my other blog. I made Star War, Wonder Women, and Frozen ones.
Depending on the age and interest it will depend on what to put in the bag (below are some suggestions). I found some of the stuff at the Dollar Store, some from School Supplies (during the awesome school supply sales!), and I even made a tick tack toe board. I walked through the dollar store and looked for different ideas that would be quiet, the least messy as possible, and age appropriate.
I decided to give them a quick try to see what worked well. The Connect-4 game and the mettle puzzle were the big winners! I went out and picked up a few more of the mettle puzzles to put in the older kids bag.
- Paper and erasable markers, pencils, or colored pencils. I DO NOT recommend caryans, if the bag is left in the car (which I plan on keeping mine there so we always have it on hand), the caryans could melt in on hot days.
- Games: Tick Tack Toe is always great, even for some little bit younger kids because it’s an easy game to learn. For the older kids I also put in a travel Connect Four game from the dollar store. I tried this out at the local coffee shop the other day with my oldest and it worked really well!
- Puzzle type toys: at the dollar store I found one of those metal puzzles where you have two pieces and need to get them apart, I figured those would work well for the older kids.
- Other quiet toys: Cars work great, SMALL stuffed animals or dolls.