I remember going out to eat with my family at a very small age. It wasn't any place fancy, mind you, just the local place that had excellent tacos or the deep-dish pizza all four of us loved. Once in a while, we would go to the Sunday brunch at the Officer's Club (I'm an Air Force brat...and I say that with pride).
The funny thing is, though I can remember going out to eat as a kid, I can't recall what we did while we waited. You know, as we sat there while people ordered or before the food arrived, what did we do? I think as I got older, I may have brought a book, but not even sure I did that. I'm pretty sure we talked or observed what was going on around us...maybe colored a bit.
I grew up in an era waaaaaay before the iPod, Gameboy, any sort of hand-held game device. It's funny as now, when I go out with my husband and daughter, I see those electronics in the hands of kiddos of every age. And yes, full confession: my kiddo has played "Slice It" or "Cut the Rope" while waiting for her cheese quesadilla to arrive.
Lately, I've been trying to figure out some other out-to-dinner fun we can do together, to connect as a family. Of course, chatting about our days and what is going on is great, but sometimes we need a little diversion. That's why I like these little table games, perfect to play while we wait for that plate of pasta to be ferried from the kitchen.
-- The "And then..." game. A mommy friend introduced me to this one as we shared a two-hour car ride with our kiddos. One person starts a story, gives some details, and passes it off to the next person with an "and then...". The next person then adds to the sentence, and, when ready, passes it to the next person to go, again with an "and then...". It's a classic add-on game, but one that is so full of twists and turns, it gets everyone giggling. The more creative you are, the better it is.
-- Ask "Would you rather?". This party game where you pick between two hypothetical scenarios has been turned into a board game, but you can play it anywhere. Would you rather be a giant hamster or a tiny rhino? Would you rather have the ability to fly or be invisible? Would you rather meet Elmo or Doc McStuffins? Your kiddos' answers may surprise you!
-- Draw a Word. This Pictionary-inspired game is ideal when not everyone is into talking. All you need is some paper and a crayon or two. Give everyone a piece of paper and a crayon. Think of a word that can have a few different meanings (like cart, cold, block, fall, blue, note, ring, swing, stick, an so on). Say that word, and have everyone draw what pops into his or her head when they hear it. It's pretty amazing to see what everyone in the family comes up with.
How do you and your kids connect while waiting for the food to arrive? Would you rather have the ability to fly or be invisible?