15 fun kids’ dining games To play at restaurants

Are you looking for fun kids’ dining games to entertain kids at the dinner table without having to resort to a tablet or screen time? Then, here are some screen-free games you can and enough family meals, to strengthen bonds, improve communication skills, and have fun. 

Going to restaurants means you don’t have to cook the meal, do the cleanup, or make 100 menus for each member of the family. It also means that waiting can be hard when little ones are hungry and have no patience.

Here are 15 fun kids’ dining game ideas we have used with our toddlers and preschoolers but I know older kids can enjoy as well.

15fun kids’ dining games

fun kids' dining games

Take note of these family dining games for your next dinner outing or when the food at the restaurant is taking too long…

1. What’s Missing?

This game is so fun! I used to play it when I was little and have used it with both of my kids. It’s a game the whole family enjoys. The idea is everyone has 10 seconds to see what’s on the table (start with only 4 objects with toddlers). Then everyone closes their eyes and you hide one object under the table. Everyone opens their eyes and they have to guess what is the missing item. Whoever guesses it first (or takes turns) it’s time to hide.

2. I Spy

I Spy, a common game used in the car for long road trips but can be used at the restaurant game. You say “I spy something the color….” and then pick a color. Then everyone else has to game. You can switch this game with letters or even numbers.

3. Bingo

fun kids' dining games

I love to make restaurant kits but my favorite one is to play bingo. You can use a piece of paper to create a grid and using the crayons provided create color grids, then call each color one by one and use the sugar packs to cover the colors.

I also like to make my bingo cards or purchase seasonal bingo cards (take a peek here for affordable bingo cards) and keep them in my bag. We use numbers or alphabet bingo cards to play.

4. Hot Potatoe

Story Starter Hot Potato

Pick an item from the table to represent the hot potato. We love to use the sugar packs as they are safe if they fall when passing from person to person.

sing hot potato and pass along the sugar pack.

Hot potato, hot potato (hot potato, hot potato)
Hot potato, hot potato (hot potato, hot potato)
Hot potato, hot potato (potato), potato (potato)
Potato, potato, potato

Then count from 10 to 1 and whatever ends up at zero loses!

5. Straw wrapper worms

I loved it when my dad did this for us and I love to do it for our kids. It’s like magic and a great way to wait for the food to come at the restaurant.

Scrunch the paper from the straw as you pull it out and then add drops of water to the straw and watch as it expands by itself, mimicking a little worm moving along the table.

Tip: Do it over a plate so you don’t get water all over your table!

6. Tic-Tac-Toe

A common game that every kid’s meal paper has. But instead of using pen or crayons why don’t you swap it by drawing a large ti-tac-toe and use the sugar packs (red, pink, or white) to use instead of the X’s or O’s?

7. Dots Game

This one is probably my ultimate most favorite fun kids’ dining game ever! I played it as a child with my sister and now I play it with my kids and I love it just the same.

Create a grid of as many dots as you want. I did it 6×6. Then take turns using different colors and connect two dots.

The one that closes the square and puts their initials wins that box and goes again. Whoever wins as many boxes wins the game!

8. Hangman

I think this is the most popular pen-and-paper fun kids’ dining game there is. You can make it as simple as a word or as complex as a sentence. You can make rules like “things that are in the restaurant” or as wide as it could be any word.

One person thinks of a word and draws a series of dashes on a piece of paper, each dash representing a letter in the word. For example, if the word is “apple,” the player would draw five dashes: “_ _ _ _ _”.

The other player(s) start guessing letters that might be in the word. If the word has the letter you put in the right place and if it’s wrong the hangman starts getting drawn, a leg, a head, etc… once the man has no more body parts, then the other person loses. If they guess before you finish the body parts then they win.

9. Menu Mystery

Take a peek at the restaurant’s menu and pick out the craziest food items you can find. Mix and match them to create the wackiest dish ever! Then, share your silly creations with your friends and family. Who can come up with the funniest combo?

10. Restaurant Bingo Bonanza

: Grab some paper and markers and create your bingo cards before you head out for dinner. Fill each square with things you might see or hear at the restaurant, like a waiter wearing a funny hat or someone ordering dessert. Keep your eyes peeled

11. Tasty Trivia Time

Test your foodie knowledge with a round of restaurant-themed trivia! Ask questions like, “What’s the main ingredient in pizza dough?” or “Who invented the ice cream cone?” The player with the most correct answers gets the title of Trivia Master!

12. Word Association Adventure

Start with a word, any word! Then, take turns going around the table and saying the first word that pops into your head after hearing the previous word. See where the word train takes you—it’s a wild ride full of surprises!

13. Guess the Flavor Challenge:

Close your eyes and let your taste buds do the guessing! Have a friend feed you small bites of different foods from your plates, and try to guess what they are without peeking. Can you guess the secret ingredients?

14. Storytime Spectacular

Let your imagination run wild with a storytelling relay! Begin a story with an exciting sentence, then pass it on to the next person to add their twist. Keep passing the story around until you’ve created an epic tale to share with everyone.

15. Restaurant Survival kit

And if none of the fun kids’ dining game ideas work, then I highly suggest you create a restaurant kit you take with you when going out. On ours, we have a coloring book, a small box with legos, stickers, easy travel puzzle games, and small cars. When you make a bag with things your child likes it is more likely they will stay entertained as they wait for the food.