Unfortunately, Jamies Italian (first on this list) has closed down
Kids Corners, games, toys & colouring in
When going out for a meal with young children, it can sometimes be a struggle to entertain them whilst waiting for the food to arrive. Our family have tried a number of fun ideas such as spinning coins on the table, "eye spy" with colours and playing "pick up sticks" with the tubes of sugar to see who would move the stack first. Although these games have kept us all entertained, it is also handy if there are colouring-in pages or a little Kids Corner for the kids to explore, to keep them engaged and ward off any boredom. The following cafes, pubs and restaurants in the city, north and south of Canberra all have some form of kiddie fun to keep them busy. These are 20 that our family have discovered, however feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this article if you know of any others. When you are thinking of ideas of where to meet up with mothers goups, friends or family - with more than a few kids going - you can never have too many options!
Colouring in, stickers and badges at Jamies Italian, Canberra City
1/ Jamie's Italian, a Jamie Oliver restaurant, is a favourite family restaurant with cosy booths, colouring-in pages, reams of stickers and fun kids meals to enjoy. The staff, in particular, make a fuss of the kids on the table and also provide badges for them to put on when they "eat their greens". See here for details. For a full article on Jamie's Italian, see here.
2/ Queens Terrace Café at Parliament House is a surprising family friendly café with plenty of room between tables for prams, a decent kids menu and pencils and colouring in pages behind the counter. See here for details. For a full article on Queens Terrace Café, see here.
3/ Guild board game restaurant has a variety of board games filling up an entire wall of this popular lunch and dinner venue. Enjoy Hungry Hippo, Monopoly, Uno, Pick Up Sticks and a host of children's (and adults) games. It costs $3 per person to play the games. If you don't think you will be playing for long, they also have Breadstick Games which are smaller and quicker for free. They offer a delicious menu, with pizza their most popular attraction. See here for details. For a full article on Guild, see here.
4/ The Pancake Parlour is located in the heart of the CBD and is a popular family restaurant with a tasty breakfast selection, booth seating and colouring in for kids. See here for details.
Kids pancakes and colouring in at The Pancake Parlour. Source: Pancake Parlour Facebook
5/ Tulips Cafe is located in Pialligo, near Canberra Airport. This popular cafe is located inside a leafy plant nursery and garden accessories outlet, with peacocks roaming the grounds. The cafe itself has an outdoor playground with cubby, slide and bouncy toys. See here for details. For a full article on a Tulips Cafe, see here.
6/ Rodney's Garden Cafe is located at Rodney's Plants Plus in Pialligo - on the same road as Tulips Cafe above. This quaint cafe has a large play area with slide and cubby and a shady dining area under the trees. See here for details. For a full article on Rodney's Garden Cafe, see here.
7/ Brodburger on the Kingston Foreshore is a popular burger restaurant with children's board games to keep the whole family entertained while waiting. Games include Connect 4, Trouble, Dominoes and cards. See here for details. For a full article on Brodburger, see here.
Cards, board games and big burgers at Brodburger, Kingston Foreshore
8/ Tommy & Me is a family friendly café located in Macgregor, 25 minutes north of the city. This café is designed for families with an extensive kids menu, weekday crafts and toys - not just in a corner, but everywhere! See the Tommy & Me Facebook for details of the next cupcake decorating or craft class. See here for details. For a full article on Tommy & Me café, see here.
9/ As Nature Intended is a health food shop located at Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, just over 10 minutes north of the city. Inside the shop is a cosy cafe, where diners can enjoy a healthy menu and there are children's books to keep the young ones entertained. Just a short walk from the cafe is the mushroom playground. See here for details. For a full article on the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, see here.
10/ The Knox Made in Watson is a popular locals café located in Watson, 10 minutes north of the city. This is a friendly cafe to enjoy a delicious cake or morning tea, before the kids play in the Kids Corner with books and large chalkboard. See here for details. For a full article on The Knox Made in Watson, see here.
11/ Little Oink Cafe is a small café located at Cook shops, 15 minutes north of the city. This colourful, friendly café has a Kids Corner with a range of toddler toys to keep young ones busy. See here for details. For a full article on Little Oink Cafe, see here.
Toddler Kids Corner at Little Oink, Cook
12/ Wilbur's Cafe Bar is a family friendly pub and café, located in Hackett, just over 10 minutes north of the city. This local gem has colouring in pages and pencils for kids and an extensive kids menu. If you visit in Winter, ensure you warm up by the toasty fire. See here for details. For a full article on Wilbur's Cafe Bar, see here.
13/ The Old Canberra Inn is a historical pub located in Lyneham, 10 minutes north of the city. This family friendly pub has a tasty kids menu and a kids area with chalkboard and toys. If there are no functions using the function room, there are also pinball machines and games to utilise. See here for details. For a full article on the Old Canberra Inn, see here.
14/ Ricardo's Cafe and Patisserie is a cafe located at Macquarie, just over 10 minutes north of the city. This large cafe is well known for its creative desserts ("Zumbo - style") and if you sit outside you can watch the kids have a play in the shopping centre playground just out the front. See here for details. For a full article on Ricardo's, see here.
15/ Black Pepper Cafe is located in Belconnen, opposite Lake Ginninderra, 15 minutes north of the city. This casual locals café has a kids menu, colouring pencils and jumbo colouring books to borrow, as well as a noticeboard to pin any creations at the end of the visit. See here for details. For a full article on Black Pepper Cafe, see here.
16/ Fox and Bow is a small café located at Farrer shops, 20 minutes south of the city. This popular café has a small dollhouse inside and outside there is a basketball hoop and hopscotch. See here for details. For a full article on Fox and Bow, see here.
17/ Meating Room is a family friendly pub located at Weston Creek, 15 minutes south of the city. There is a dedicated kids room with electronic games for the older kids and toddler toys for the smaller kids. See here for details. For a full article on Meating Room, see here.
18/ Krack'd Peppa is a family friendly cafe located at the entrance to Rose Cottage pub in Gilmore, 20 minutes south of the city. This cafe has a full sized play area with slide, swings, chalkboard and toys. See here for details. For a full article on Krack'd Peppa, see here.
19/ The Public Place is a café located in Chisholm, 25 minutes south of the city. For families sitting outside, there is the shopping centre playground that the kids can play on while you wait. If you sit inside there is a colourful Kids Corner, which is perfect for toddlers with colouring in, toys and books. The Public Place also has the best Baby Chinos I have ever seen, with rainbow fairy floss floating in the top and a little rainbow marshmallow on the spoon - super cute! See here for details. For a full article on The Public Place, see here.
Kids Corner, fairy floss Baby Chinos and outdoor playground at The Public Place
20/ The Millhouse Cafe is located in Queanbeyan, 20 minutes east of the city. The cafe is located inside a historical home from 1883 and has a play area outside for kids with cubby, toys and games. Across the road is also a new playground and water play area to enjoy afterwards. See here for details. For a full article on The Millhouse Cafe, see here.
One last idea is to visit the many family friendly Clubs around Canberra who also offer colouring-in pages, games arcades or toddler playgrounds. They also have extensive Kids Menus to attract families and some even offer "Kids Eat Free" deals on weeknights. See here for a list of Canberra's Clubs in all areas of the city.
When cafes, pubs and restaurants offer kids activities it puts a smile on the face of everyone. Parents and carers can enjoy a coffee (while it's still hot!) and kids can have a play, before coming back together and spending quality time at the table over a meal. With over 20 choices around the city to choose from on this list - and 20 more we haven't discovered yet! - it will (hopefully) be a good start for your plans for this weekend, or school holidays.
Which one will you be trying?
Toddler and Pre-schooler fun at Millhouse Cafe, Queanbeyan