What I made
days ago

6 crafty activities to keep kids quiet in coffee shops!

1) Espresso train
Keep kids quiet, technique no.1: train made from a paper cup insulation sleeveStarbucks espresso train how to

Keep kids quiet for: 15 mins
Pros: Kids love trains, enough said!
Cons: Adults will need to get heavily involved

2) Table football
Keep kids quiet, technique no.2: table football using straws and a paper ball

Keep kids quiet for: 10min
Pros: Very easy, and great for more than one child
Cons: It can get a bit noisy!

3) Checker board
Keep kids quiet, technique no.3: checker board pattern made from interwoven stir sticks

Keep kids quiet for: 10mins
Pros: Great challenge for older kids (7+)
Cons: You need a lot of sticks!

4) Wagon wheel
Keep kids quiet, technique no.4: wagon wheel shape made from stir sticks

Keep kids quiet for: 5mins
Pros: One for the young children (3+)
Cons: You can’t take it away with you.

5) Baby sick!
Keep kids quiet, technique no.5: paper coffee cup with a face drawn on the lid and a small spill of coffee made to look like vomit!

Keep kids quiet for: 8mins
Pros: You only need a pen…
Cons: …it needs to be a permanent marker

6) Stick house
Keep kids quiet, technique no.6: house shape made from stir sticksStarbucks stick house how to

Keep kids quiet for: 10mins
Pros: The perfect starter for older kids (7+)
Cons: Some parent involvement required

I love coffee shops. I have a Latte ‘to go’, most mornings – it’s part of my commuter coping mechanism!

At the weekends trips to coffee shops are more of a family affair, the kids are particularly partial to Chocolate Cream (the nearest thing to a milk shake on the Starbucks menu).

But as much as the kids enjoy these trips, they quickly become restless (and I mean quickly!). So over the years I have improvised a number of crafty ‘keep kids quiet’ activities, all of them make use of the materials available in any coffee shop. I hope you find them helpful, or should I say I hope they help you to enjoy your coffee!

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For another fun (and super simple) coffee shop craft check out the Zen Napkin on page 246 of my new book! If you are interested you can find out more here, or just pop into your local library and ask for Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff.

Napkin with a pattern drawn on it mimicking a zen garden

Enjoy your coffee (in peace)!

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35 thoughts on “6 crafty activities to keep kids quiet in coffee shops!

  1. Pingback: Soup Scoop – Best Links of the Week

    • Loved your ideas. I have a coffeeshop and decided to post this on our fanpage. Maybe you’ll get more followers. Great work!! Thanks!

  2. Love these! One creative barista at Starbucks once helped my young son build a sword. Here’s how: slide wooden stir sticks into the ends a straw so that you can slide another straw on top (thus adjoining as many straws as you like) to make a sword. Then slip on a clear domed lid for the sword’s hilt. Viola!

  3. Pingback: The Motherload » Amy’s Notebook 09.22.11

  4. You’ve made my heart smile! I have two boys…no wait, I have two RAMBUNCTIOUS boys; who love “making”-cause crafting is for girls?! This is by far the best and most useful article I’ve ever encountered in the way of tidbits for kiddos! Martha Stewart ain’t got nothing on you! Thanks a bunch, and keep them coming!

  5. I just LOVE your drawings! Wonderful!

    And as for the coffeeshop activities they are just great. I cant believe someone has to raise their eyebrows over that! Those few extra sticks and others does not cost much for the owner, and they have happy costumers in return!

    • Yes, it seems my ‘coffee shop crafts’ post has stirred up a small measure of controversy – I didn’t see that coming. Thanks for the comment. Scott:)

  6. Hi, I check your blog from time to time. Have to say I missed you! Good stuff, and great for kids. Thanks for sharing your creativity!

    • Thanks Kari – I have a Starbucks Latte every morning, I’m a big fan – so hope you don’t mind me making use of a few extra stirring sticks from time to time! Scott:)

  7. While so many of the other ideas on this blog are great, I have to say that this post leaves me sort of sad.
    Those are interesting – but I would suggest you tip the shop or barrista five or ten bucks for the ‘craft supplies’ and the mess they get to clean up. There are places that some folks like to go and have a bit of quiet time – a coffee shop is one of them for a lot of people.
    Seems like if the family is along, why not get your coffee and take the kids to the park to play?

    • I’m with you! As the owner of a small coffee shop, I’d be a little annoyed if someone attempted to have play time at my place. I’d recommend taking the opportunity to teach your kids to ask politely for things, clean up after themselves and show gratitude. Perhaps that spoils the fun though? :)

      • Yes, my wife also managed a coffee shop, in fact, that’s where we met. I love coffee shops, I’ve spent a lot of my working life in them (it’s where I like to think). Now I have kids, I like to share the experience with them – they all have their favourites, tuna melt sandwiches (with olives removed) and hot chocolate in the Winter. But as polite and as well mannered as they are, on occasions I have found myself looking for creative ways to distract them (or should I say, ways to stop them distracting others!). Luckily, in the UK most coffee shops are very child friendly – they are often the chosen meeting point for ‘baby groups’. So all I can say is that so far I’ve not spotted any raised eyebrows!

  8. I may consider starting to drink coffee just to take my kids there and try these projects. We do love to entertain our kids by having them build pyramids out of creamer and jelly at any place that has them at the table. Also, do you know the straw worm trick? That is a fun one too! :)

  9. I dig your website and push it onto as many unsuspecting folks as I can. Your creations are refreshing, clever and so cool because everyone actually wants to make them. Thank you for rescuing us Americans from her glut of country-crafty blogs.

    My site has art! Look at it if you want. :)

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