Wednesday, July 26, 2006

an amazing trip trick: eating out with small children

Feeding toddlers while out and about.

Easy, right?

Well – it is easy … if you have the right gear.

These are a few items that have worked GREAT for us while we are on the run:

Snacktrap: This little contraption is brilliant. Not only does it keep a hungry toddler at bay for minutes on end (that’s an eternity in my world) … but it also keeps snacks from getting all over the place. The little cup has a rubber stopper on top that “theoretically” allows the child to remove one snack item (i.e. goldfish or animal cracker) at a time. Whenever our kids see their Snacktraps – they break in to joyful “yeeee!!!”. When I’m out and about … I offer the kids their Snacktraps just as they are starting to get fussy, and I can be guaranteed another 15-20 minutes of (relative) peace. The only complaint I’ve heard about the Snacktrap is that kids figure out how to remove the lids. To date - that hasn't been a problem for us, which means that tomorrow it probably will be. You can pick up these gizmos at Babies R’ Us, or at the link provided above.

Spork … or is it Forpoon? Either way … we love these “re-use or lose” plastic spoons and forks from The First Years. We’ve been offering the babies utensils to hold during meal time, ever since they were old enough to hold items in their hands. We have found that giving a baby a spoon makes meal time a whole lot more enjoyable for EVERYONE involved. However – we’ve realized that scooping watermelon, cantaloupe or macaroni and cheese up on a spoon isn’t the easiest thing to do … especially if you are 21-months old. These little plastic sporks (rounded fork) allow the babies to jab their food …yet are they are much easier to use than spoons. What's nice is that the fork isn’t too sharp that you’d need to worry about babies hurting themselves.

Or you.

Or a sibling.

Or the dog.

Disposable placemats. I’ve posted about these nifty things a few times in the past. Disposable placemats have transformed our dining out experience. You just peel back the plastic strips on either end of the placemat, stick to the table, and presto. When you're finished with your meal - wrap up the food and throw them away.

The ONE drawback is that everytime sometimes the kids will try to peel the placemat off (as William is expertly demonstrating in the photo to the left), so I will wrap the bottom of the placemat beneath the table. You could also use some duct tape to secure down the edges. 

Most restaurant tables are positively disgusting – even after you wipe them down – so these work really well to reduce the plethora of germs your kids would otherwise be exposed to when dining out. If your child isn't yet at an age where they understand the concept of keeping a bowl ON the table ... these are great. You can them up at Target, Walmart or your local grocer.



Disposable Placemats. 

These items are a must-have in our diaper bag at any and all times when there are self-feeding infants and small toddlers in tow.

Also, a roll of duct tape - which is especially necessary if the restaurant doesn't have booster chairs or similar devices to keep your child stationed at the table.  

Oh, but I kid. 


  1. I found that snacktrap thing a little too late (after finding goldfish dumped all in the seat). By the time I bought one, he had figured out how to dump them, too. But I think that they are really cool.

  2. Those snack traps are absolutely wonderful! Mine haven't figured out how to dump them yet. I haven't tried any of the other items you talked about, I'm glad they work for you.

  3. I have GOT to go and get one of those snack traps ... I think they're fabulous! My baby is just now at the point where she needs one and I keeo forgetting to buy one ... thanks for the reminder!



  4. These are such great strategies...awesome WFMW.

  5. We've had those snack traps for a while now too. They're GREAT! Jace has only recently learned how to pop the top off. It's usually when he's not very hungry so he's being mischievous.

    As far as eating out....we just don't do it very often. The one time we used the placemat things, they did exactly what you said....pulled them off. I didn't have duct tape with me however...that's a thought!

  6. Hmmm, I will have to consider getting those snack traps! Alyssa is at the stage now where I still have to hand her the cookie or Cheerio and she will eat it, but I am sure before long she will be getting into her snacks all by herself.

    If there is any advice that I am going to take, it is going to be from the lady with triplets! So... looks like I need to keep those 3... I mean 4 things in the diaper bag!

  7. You've always got really good ideas. Mine are getting older now, but I wish I knew those tricks a few years ago.

  8. God Bless you woman! I am having a hard time with 2 who are 20 months apart. I cannot imagine 3 the same age. But they are adorable.

    Found you by way of 1girls2boys by the way

  9. I love those ideas! I am packing them all away for definite future reference. Keep em' coming! :)