We don't go out to dinner as a family very often for this very reason, but we did last night. I knew we were planning to go out and I prepared myself. That's when I discovered the magic of...busy bags.
Here is Caleb (21 months) at dinner last night, playing happily. This kept him busy for about 30 minutes! In the world of toddler-restaurant-time, that is a lifetime! My husband and I finished our dinner and then the three of us just sat around, playing and talking. No more rushing to pay the check to prevent the inevitable meltdown that we know is coming. It was wonderful :)
So what exactly is a busy bag, you ask? Well, it's simply a small and portable activity you can take with you. They can be educational or just plain fun. Usually it's something you could fit in a small ziploc bag. Last night, I brought a set of colored, reusable ice cubes (from the dollar store!). They came in 4 colors so I brought 4 small containers from home. He had lots of fun sorting, dumping, re-sorting, stacking, and more!
I'm now a big believer in busy bags, and will be looking for more ideas. If you search for busy bags on Pinterest, there are lots of great ideas - like this one. Do you have any other busy bag ideas to share? I'd love to hear them!