Dining Al Fresco with Kids | Tuesdays with Jacob

Dining Al Fresco with Kids

July 12, 2016
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BackToPlay #CollectiveBias
Thank you Back to Nature Macaroni & Cheese for sponsoring this post. Try the new Back to Nature Made with Organic Macaroni & Cheese Dinners!


Oh sweet, sweet, summertime. The days are longer, our schedules are simpler, and there's no better time to take our dining outside. In fact, June was Get Outdoors Month! As a Florida family, we eat outside quite a bit, and I know it's not without it's challenges. I'm partnering with Back to Nature Mac & Cheese today to share some tips to make your Al Fresco dining experiences a little less stressful for you and a little more fun for your kids!


1. Set up before the kids come out. Do whatever you have to do to occupy your kids inside while you get the table set and all the food brought out. Little ones underfoot while you are making trips back and forth with dishes and hot bowls of food is not a good combination. Get everything cooked up and ready to go inside and THEN bring it all outside before bringing out your kids. That way, all that's left to do is sit down and enjoy your meal. Don't forget plates, silverware, serving dishes, cups and napkins. Stick to routine as much as possible. Bring your child's high chair or booster if they use one, along with their normal plate, cup, and utensils.



2. Keep the food kid friendly. This is not the time to branch out with unfamiliar dishes. You want meals that your kids are familiar with and really like so their food won't end up all over your deck, patio or grass. Generally the goal of Al Fresco dining is to relax and enjoy some time outside, not to spend time arguing with your kids and getting frustrated when they won't eat. Jacob loves macaroni (it's one of the few foods he'll willingly eat) so it's a no brainer for me to serve him Back to Nature Mac & Cheese from Target. It's creamy, cheesy, and made with organic pasta which makes it a winner for the whole family! No artificial flavors, preservatives, or synthetic colors are used either!



3. Bring entertainment. You can certainly bring along a tablet or a phone so that your little one can watch a show or play a game when they are finished, but I like to keep things unplugged so we can all enjoy the great outdoors. A placemat and crayons are a great way to keep your child occupied while you take some extra time to enjoy your dinner and your company.



I made this ocean themed placemat to accompany Back to Nature Made with Organic Pasta Silly Sea Life Mac & Cheese. Your kids can color the ocean setting and then use their imagination and creativity to fill in the scene with the pasta! Isn't that exactly what most kids want when they start acting out during mealtime? They want to play and be kids!



You can download my silly sea life placemat by clicking HERE.


Back to Nature Mac & Cheese can be found at Target in the pasta aisle!

July 14th is Mac & Cheese day, how will you celebrate?

Here's a handy pin! 


22 comments on "Dining Al Fresco with Kids"
  1. Great tips, especially about having everything set up before the kids come outside. It can get chaotic setting up while they are out there.

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  2. What a cute idea! I never temember to let them play with dry pasta!

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  3. This placemat is adorable! I'm definitely going to print a few for Henry. And I could eat mac and cheese all day long!

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  4. Adorable and my toddler would love this!!

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  5. These are great tips! We love dining outside in the summertime!

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  6. I love using the shapes with the placemat! What a great activity!

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  7. Eating out doors is always a fun time. We let our older kids help with set up and younger ones were in charge of getting crayons and fun stuff.

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  8. These are such great idea!
    We live in San Francisco, so the weather is really good, especially during the summer.
    I should definitely pick up a box of that mac and cheese and take him outside for dinner one night! :D

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  9. Excellent tips and what a fun printable too! We love eating outdoors during the summer!

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  10. My kids ask to eat outside almost everyday! Sometimes I'll just leave eveything in the kitchen, make our plates and then head out. So easy!

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  11. This is adorable! We love eating outside...so cute!

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  12. So creative and fun! I love this!
    www.busylittleizzy.com

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  13. Very fun! Love the mac and cheese shapes!

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  14. These pics are great! I love that you let them play with the dry noodles. Looks like the perfect summertime lunch.

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  15. Love the coloring touch!!!!! That Mac and cheese looks delicious!

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  16. Great advice and so fun! My kids love eating anywhere other than the table! And you're totally right about bringing an activity!

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  17. This must be so much fun. A restaurant that has coloring pages and crayons is always a winner for us.

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  18. This is adorable and such great advice!

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