6 Creative Ways to Keep Bored Kids Occupied in a Coffee Shop

Give your free time creative purpose

Here’s six simple activities guaranteed to keep your kids busy while YOU enjoy your coffee.

They are easy to make… only use the materials found in coffee shops… and don’t require any preparation.

Hopefully, they’ll ensure one of life’s little pleasures… coffee with friends… doesn’t become one of life’s major frustrations!

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First, What will I learn?

1) You can be very creative using only the materials found in a coffee shop.

2) To always choose a coffee shop that has wooden coffee sticks, they are the most useful of all the materials.

3) Kids will get an extra level of enjoyment out of activities they have been involved in making themselves.

No.1 Espresso train

Coffee shop activity: Espresso Train

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

How to make it
Coffee shop activity: Espresso train how-to illustration

Take the cardboard sleeve off your coffee cup and add four additional folds (1) until it takes on a rectangular shape when viewd from above (2).

Coffee shop activity: Espresso train how-to illustration

Draw a train onto each side of the sleeve (3) and carefully tear around the train, removing the areas indicated in light red above (4).

Break off pieces of a stirring stick and push them through the base of the sleeve, to form axles (5). Grab an instore leaflet and draw train wheels onto it, tear them out and force them onto the ends of the axles (6).

As a final touch, stick another piece of stirring stick in the chimney and push on crumpled pieces of napkin to create clouds!

No.2 Stick house

Coffee shop activity: Stick House

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

How to make it
Coffee shop activity: Stick house how-to illustration

Take one stick and hold it vertically. Overlay two more sticks so they form a cross towards the bottom third of the vertical stick (1). Next, interlock two horizontal sticks, one at the top and one at the bottom (2).

Add another two sticks to form the roof (3) and then the final two sticks to form the sides of the house. Snap off the bottom of the side sticks so they are flush with the bottom of the house (4).

No.3 Table football

Coffee shop activity: Table Football

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

Make a football by screwing up a small piece of paper napkin. Create goals from cups. Use straws to blow the football between the posts.

No.4 Checker board

Coffee shop activity: Checker Board

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

Weave the stirring sticks in and out… just as if you were making a rug!

No.5 Wagon wheel

Coffee shop activity: Wagon Wheel

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

Carefully position the sticks on top of each other, slightly rotating each stick.

No.6 Baby sick!

Coffee shop activity: Baby Sick

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

Turn the plastic lid of a paper cup into a face using a marker pen. Tip the cup on its side (make sure its empty) and position it in front of a small spillage!

Do your own thing

Don’t let these ideas inhibit your creativity, there are plenty more ideas waiting to be discovered.

Just remember to keep a Sharpie in your bag, that’s the one thing that’s always worth having with you, because if all else fails, the kids can just decorate their paper cup.

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Photo of Scott Bedford
Scott Bedford

Maker, Illustrator and Author