While the average adult can find fun at a restaurant in good drinks, a sociable wait staff and ambient music, kids are harder to appease when it comes to table entertainment. Fast food and fast-casual chains often have coloring menus with your average crossword puzzle or word search, but other independently owned restaurants try to think outside of the box when it comes to providing appropriate fun for children. Here are some of the best ideas we have come across at The Dish to keep your kids from fussing of boredom when you take them out for a family meal with


A classic form of entertainment catering to both children and adults, magicians have made a comeback in select restaurants across the country. These magicians often display card tricks and other sleight of hand feats with coins or small items that amaze young onlookers. The best restaurant magicians get the crowd involved into their acts, targeting parties and large groups with a guest of honor eager to participate in the action.

Arts and Crafts

Some family friendly restaurants do their best to keep the kids preoccupied leading up to your meal. This allows the adults in the family time to socialize and unwind with each other while watching their kids’ creative minds run abound. Some restaurants allow kids to decorate their own keepsake to help remember their visit. Examples of such keepsakes included t-shirts, plates and jewelry. Other restaurants offer balloon twisting for kids, where they can be shaped into various animals, figurines and objects by an experienced ballon twister.

Table Board Games

Patrons of Cracker Barrel restaurant are very familiar with the “peg game” provided at each table and giant checkers set located outside the restaurant, which are both incredibly effective at keeping children preoccupied leading up to a meal. Even if these fun games are not provided to you by the restaurant itself, you can always improvise a checkers set with a napkins and sugar packets or make your own tic-tac-toe set with your table’s utensils and sugar packets or other condiments.


Sure, Japanese teppanyaki and hibachi grilling isn’t exactly targeted to the entertainment needs of kids, but few can turn their eyes away from a well-prepared onion volcano or behind the back egg toss straight to the griddle’s surface (while skillfully splitting the eggshell open with a sharp cooking utensil). Teppanyaki chefs tend to be engaging with diners and the great ones love to put on a show that features elaborate tosses and displays of flaming foods. Your kids will be fascinated.


Sometimes good old-fashioned television viewing is the best way to get your children to sit down and relax at a restaurant. Sports bars and themed-restaurants often have televisions sets galore, sometimes they even place one for each individual booth and table. The best case scenario is when you have the freedom to choose what channel to watch at your given seating arrangement. The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon are usually better distractions for kids rather than Monday Night Football or a Pay-Per-View UFC match.


We live in the modern age where access to the internet provides a limitless array of entertainment options for people of all ages. Restaurants which feature Wi-Fi access to all their patrons allow for kids to play video games (by themselves or against friends) on their smartphone or handheld gaming device, chat with friends on social networks and watch a streamed movie or t.v. show on their tablet device. Wi-Fi access save you the trouble of having to provide unique entertainment to your kids in a limited restaurant setting. Your meal should be enjoyable and peaceful, as long as you don’t have to worry about multiple kids sharing one or two devices.

How do you keep your kids entertained when you dine out at a restaurant? Do any of your favorite restaurants provide good entertainment options? Tell us in the comments sections below.