15 Family Restaurant Games

When my boys were little and we'd take them out to eat I kept a small bag of toys in the car to grab on our way into any restaurant.  That way they would be entertained and a bit quieter while we enjoyed our meal.

Now that the boys are older we don't keep a bag of toys handy but we do have few games we use to keep the boys occupied if they start getting bored or squirmy while we're waiting for our food or our check.

While there are many phone apps, portable gaming systems and electronic games that could occupy my kids we prefer to use the time together at restaurants to connect with one another and so we tend to play games like:
  1. Hangman--  any restaurant that has paper place mats works well for this.  We take turns picking  a word and drawing our hangman stand then take turns calling out letters and seeing if we can solve the puzzle. 
  2. Tic Tac Toe-- This works best with pen on paper place mats but we have played making a grid with butter knives and using different colors of sugar packets in place of the x's and o's. 
  3. I Spy-- This works great in restaurants like Texas Roadhouse or Cracker Barrel that have a lot of "stuff" around the room.  We take turns picking someone to be it and we all try to guess what object they spied with their little eyes. 
  4. Single Sentence Game-- Make up a story where each person adds just one sentence to the story at a time. 
  5. 20 Questions-- One person thinks of an object and the others try to guess what it is using only yes or no questions.  They have 20 questions to try and figure out the object. 
  6. Guess who?-- played much like 20 questions, in this game instead of an object players ask questions to determine which person one player is thinking of.  (It should be noted that we do NOT pick people in the restaurant but famous people or family/friends that we know.  We would not want to make any fellow diners feel insecure thinking we were talking about them). 
  7. I'm thinking of a Number-- Played like guess who and 20 questions but this time players are trying to determine what number one player is thinking of. 
  8. Spelling Bee-- If the kids are willing to play we'll quiz them on the random spelling of words.  They get a point for each word they spell correctly.
  9. Dots and Boxes-- My kids love to play this game and have been known to draw up their own grid board using plain white place mats and pens. 
  10. Would you rather?-- My kids just got the card game Would You Rather that asks random questions about what scenario you'd rather do.  Making up our own questions we take turns asking each other.
  11. The Alphabet game-- We often play this in the car but could easily play in restaurants too.  We pick a category (like animals) and take turns naming something in that category that starts with each letter of the alphabet.  We start with A and try to make it all the way to Z. 
  12. Memory game-- "I'm going to grandmas and I packed my suitcase with..." we take turns listing something we packed in our suitcase.  Each person must start with the line "I'm going to grandmas and I packed my suitcase with.." then add all the answers given before theirs.  It can get quite tricky and it's a lot of fun since they can pack whatever silly thing they'd like.
  13. Truth or Truth-- Just like on Jimmy Fallon, instead of truth or dare we ask "truth or truth?"  Then take turns asking each other questions.  My boys watch enough snippets of Jimmy Fallon to know this game and they think it's a lot of fun.  
  14. True or False-- In a slight variation of the above we each take turns thinking up statements-- they could be true they could be a lie.  We take turns telling our story and everyone else has to guess if it's the truth or a lie. 
  15. My list-- We've often played this game while hiking in the woods but it would work great at a restaurant too.  We pick a category and name 10 things we'd have on our list.  We've listed places we'd like to live, places we'd like to go on vacation, animals we'd like to have as pets (though anything goes!  My middle son once answered he'd like a dolphin and a red panda). 
Linking Up With:

JENerally Informed

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  1. These are great. We usually give the kids electronics to play with at dinner. I'll have to try these!

    Thanks for posting to the turn it up Tuesday link party.

  2. What a great list and definitely going to have try some of these the next time we go out to dinner with my kids here. Thanks :)

  3. Yes! Keeps everyone calm & classic games too! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love that you used games that keep you engaged with others rather than faces in the tablet/phone! #happynowlinkup

    1. Thanks! I can't say we ALWAYS play games and NEVER use tablets/phones but we do try to most of the time.

  5. Fun list! I do love a good game of Would You Rather?


    1. It can get quite silly quite fast... at least with my brood.

  6. Our kids are just getting old enough to play some of these games. Definitely going to try this in the new year. Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Glad you found some that look fun.

  7. Super cute games! Pinning this for future inspiration. :)

  8. Those are fun easy games! and educational too!

    You should come link up at #bloggerspotlight tomorrow night!

  9. I love these suggestions! I see so many kids playing on tablets or cell phones in restaurants (and mine often do too!), so it's nice to see so many great ideas for games that are fun and that allow us to interact with the whole family. Thank you for linking up with us on the Hip Homeschool Hop! This post will be one of our featured favorites in this week's Hop that goes live on Tuesday, 1/10/17. :)

    1. OH thank you for the feature! So glad you found some ideas for your family to use too.

  10. These games would keep me interested. Some places seem to take forever but usually it is because I am starving. Thanks so much for linking up at #familyfriday we appreciate it! We hope you come back next week.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! It does seem like the hungrier I am the longer it takes for our food to show up..


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