Dinner Table Drawing

by Wendy Copley on August 21, 2014

Put paper on the table and let your family doodle for a special treat

Last night I tried a little art experiment at dinner-time. Before the boys came in to set the table, I spread several sheets of butcher paper across our kitchen table and set out a few pencils. They were so excited when they saw it and both of them commented that it was like “being at a fancy restaurant.” Ha!

I was a little worried that the drawing would distract the kids from eating, but this turned out not to be a problem. I think it helped that I was serving a favorite meal (spaghetti and garlic bread) and that we were all very hungry, but the kids dutifully ate while we all doodled.

Dinner is often prime bicker-time for my boys, but the drawing distracted them and we all had a nice time talking about what we were making and building on each other’s drawings. When dinner was over we all cleared our dishes, but the empty spaces where out plates had been called us back to the table for more drawing. Augie wanted more color on the table so he ran back and forth to the art cart grabbing big handfuls of markers and colored pencils for us to use. We ended up drawing and chatting for another hour and a half after dinner was over!

This is probably not something I’ll do every night, but we all enjoyed it so I know I’ll do it again in the near future. Maybe it will become a spaghetti dinner thing?

What do you do to make dinners more special for your family?

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  • Susan

    I love this and will try it tonight – my 4 and 5.5 yo boys are so distracted during dinner and it drives me crazy.

  • Liz R-H

    Our weather has been so great lately that we have eaten out on the deck almost every night. But when we’re inside sometimes we will have a family dinner by candlelight, especially on a Saturday night when we don’t feel so rushed. Then there is bickering over blowing out the candles at the end, but it is different and fun enough to eat with the lights off that the kids seem to linger longer at the table without the usual shenanigans.

  • bubu2

    We sometimes, especially in winter on a Saturday/holiday night, will have a “fancy” or “restaurant” dinner with candles, music, and I will try to plate the food in a fancy way. Sometimes we also have “French Dinner” — which I started doing after reading “Bringing up Bebe” and learning about the multi-course meals the French eat and feed their kids from a young age. It’s fancy and different for the kids, but also means they eat all their vegetables up front, which leads to less nagging later on — and they love the bread and cheese course afterwards..

  • Love this paper idea!
    We often do a themed dinner. If we’re having a family movie night, we’ll try to find a meal that “fits” with the movie. For example, we made pirate ship pizzas when we watched Peter Pan and a tagliatelle pasta dish for Tangled night.
    We also like to find foods that fit what Kidzilla is learning about. She has a subscription to Little Passports that she absolutely loves and so we often scope out meals inspired by whatever country she has for that month.
    Mealtime is so important to a family, no matter how you do it!

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