Picture yourself sitting at a table with children. How many times do you push their cup up or tell them to push their cup up because it is too close to the edge? We can’t have cups falling off the table! What would you say if I told you I have an easy fix! Place mats, with a spot for the cup helps the problem. Table manners are one of my 5 essential classroom rules. Here is how you can DIY place mats!
Picture of Child
Let the child draw a picture front and back. I didn’t tell my kiddos that I was keeping their drawing, and they didn’t seem to mine. Allowing children to color their own picture gives them a sense of entitlement and promotes creativity.
Add a circle in the top right corner, their name in the bottom left, and a picture to match. The circle give the cup a spot. Children aren’t able to fully see (or know) where their cups, place, and silverware should be. The place mat gives them a visual to build off of. We can’t expect children to know everything, they have to practice. I traced a regular piece of paper around their drawings as my laminator doesn’t fit construction paper.
The last step is laminate! I use this laminator (which has since been recalled). Here is another great laminator option. When you are working with children spills are bound to happen. That is just part of the territory. I mean, I still spill things so I don’t expect children to be spotless. Laminating the paper saves it so that if there is a spill, it can be cleaned without ruining the paper.
Benefits of DIY Place Mats
Adding a name and pictures helps them build name recognition. There have been times my kiddos have practiced tracing their letters while waiting for food. My kiddos are still working on name recognition, so when the place mats are set out before meal times, having their pictures helps them identify which spot is theirs without reading their name.
They are easy to maintain. I wipe them off after every use just in case food was spilled on it. I find that it makes meal times easier. There are just a few times I need to remind a few kiddos “where does your cup go?” They push it into the circle and continue on with their meal. Meals are a bit less stressful since we aren’t worrying about spills. Plus, it can be an independent check for the kiddos so I am not on them all the time.
I hope you consider making your own place mats for home or work! They do add extra work during meals, but I think it is worth it!
Thanks for reading!
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The Repurposed Nanny – She has bits of everything from DIY, Lifestyle, Kids, Recipes, and Decor.
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