Order at the drive-thru before heading to the fast food play area

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tammy's tip for simplifying visits to the fast food play area:

Fast food playgrounds are a nice little outing especially when you are meeting up with other families — until you are in line ordering food with anxious kids pulling you toward the playpalace

We now order our meal in the drive thru, and then park and take our food (nicely packaged with napkins, condiments, straws etc.) into the play area.

I grew up not far from a McDonald's, and I STILL remember when they remodeled and put in the playground. That was a big day in my kid life (not that my mom was ever willing to take me there…fast food was a road trip-only indulgence).

If your family visits restaurant play areas, be sure to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy, or have your kids wash their hands thoroughly after playing.

Another way to minimize the grime factor is to follow another Parenthacker's advice and visit mall and restaurant playspaces first thing in the morning.


  1. FreeRangeDad says

    Or, you know, you could just let you kids go play in the play area while you order food. It’s not that far away, and kids need to learn to interact with others without their parents hovering around them.

  2. Zed says

    This falls squarely into the WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT category.

    We only go 2-3 times a year, but with all FOUR kids trying to look at the play area, talk about the play area, and wander over to the play area…. all while I’m trying to figure out what they want to order….this is genius!!

  3. says

    I think your post is genius. Corralling kids while I’m trying to do something is my LEAST favorite thing in the world. They are now FINALLY old enough to be there by themselves so would have loved this post a couple of years ago but will still use it now for convenience!

  4. Mis says

    Or they could learn patience waiting for their food rather than learning it’s okay to waste fuel and packaging in the drive thru?

  5. says

    when my son was growing up fast food was not really a thing for me i would just take him to play for a while.. and yes hand sanitizers because i remember years again my friends son was playing inside the play yard and it was very dirty, in the tunnel before they slide down very dirty.

  6. Asha Dornfest says

    Just to be clear: my personal preference would be to find a play area not attached to a fast food place. But I’ve heard for some the fast food playground is the ONLY close-by option. Hopefully this helps those folks out.

  7. Beck says

    Our local Chick-Fil-A just started offering “Parent Valet” service. You drive thru and place your order, park and go inside where they have everything set up and waiting for you at a table. Genius! CFA has always been great at accommodating parents and this is just one step further.