Restaurant Games to Get Kids Off Screens

Restaurant Games to Get Kids Off Screens

It’s not uncommon to see my entire family including myself on a screen while waiting for our food at a restaurant. While it keeps everyone quiet, it annoys my husband to see us all on screens. He’s devised a series of restaurant games designed to get everyone off screens.

Restaurant Games to Get Kids Off Screens

Chopsticks Messy Backyard

Chopsticks Messy Backyard

This is a simple game that you can do at any Asian restaurant. Simple rip up the paper chopstick holder into small pieces and place in the center of the table. Place a napkin in front of each player. Using chopsticks, move the pieces from the center to your napkin. The player with the most pieces wins.

What Moved?

What Moved? restaurant game for kids

This game is harder than it sounds. Everyone surveys the objects on the table then closes their eyes. No peeking! One person (very quietly) moves one of the objects. Everyone has to guess What Moved? The key to this game is subtlety. Some hard to detect things to try include:

  • Turn the salt shaker by a quarter turn.
  • Pull the napkin slightly out of the napkin dispenser.
  • Turn the ketchup lid slightly.
  • Switch the place of the salt shaker with the pepper shaker.

Numbers 1-11 Drawing Game

drawing 1 to 11 game

I have a post on my husband’s 1-11 drawing game and the video is below as well.

Table Football or Soccer using Chopstick Paper

What Moved?

Fold the chopstick paper holder into a triangle, tucking the last piece into the crease. This is your game ball. Now, flick the “ball” into a set of goal posts (be careful of eyes), or across the table for a game of soccer. This is not my favorite restaurant game but the kids love playing this with their dad (who is a big kid).

What are your favorite restaurant games to amuse your kids? Do you like the dot game, drawing, or hangman?

Restaurant Games to Get Kids Off Screens

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Sarah

    This is a wonderful idea! We’re guilty of being on our screens as well while waiting for dinner. I completely forgot about the football game that we played as kids. Thank you for the reminder. We’re bringing it back!

  2. It really makes me sad when I go to a restaurant, and I see entire families on their phones, instead of talking to each other. I also cannot stand TVs in restaurants–so annoying!!

  3. I personally dislike when there are families who don’t even talk to each other at restaurant, so I like this post a lot. 🙂
    Erik – TKRB recently posted…“Inspiring Future Scientists” – my latest Scholastic News articleMy Profile

  4. These are great games! Very clever of your husband 🙂
    MaryAnne recently posted…Chapter Books Your Tween Will Love {Emma Reviews}My Profile

  5. How fun! We often congregate around the children’s menu’s and play tic tac toe or hanging with the crayons and paper once the kids have completed anything else that held their attention but we don’t allow screens at the table so I’ll need these ideas for when they are too big for the children’s menus!
    Mother of 3 recently posted…10 Reasons to Re- Visit Old Field TripsMy Profile

  6. Great suggestions! Yes, guilty, too. True confessions on the Internet. 🙂 A decade ago, while in a restaurant, I thought, “What can’t wait that people feel a need to pull out their phones?” It didn’t take many years before I, too, was on mine. Later, my husband and I made a rule – no electronic devices in restaurants or during dinner. We parents must model good communication styles and uphold the rules.

    Clearly your husband is quite imaginative. I have bookmarked this to try a few!

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