Kids are more likely to use something that they created themselves. Since my girls can get messy at times, I thought it would be fun if they worked on making place mats for the dinner table.
First, give each child a rectangular piece of poster board. If you buy one large sheet, you can cut out four rectangles to make four place mats.
Second, supply your children with markers, magazines, stickers, scissors, stampers and glue. Ask your kids to write their names in the center of the place mat. They can do this with block letter, bubble letters, or in cursive.
Third, instruct your children to surround their names with things that they like. The place mat should show the child's personality as well as the child's interests. For example, Tommy may like fire trucks, dogs and the color red. He may choose to color his name in with a red marker, cut out some pictures of a fire truck from a magazine, and use a stamper to put dog images around the edges of the place mat. The possibilities are endless.
Finally, once the glue dries you can laminate the place mats. There are two ways you can do this. You can take it to an office supply store, such as Staples or Office Depot, or you can use contact paper (which is usually used to cover school books). To use the contact paper you'll need to cut two sheets that are larger than the place mat your child made by one inch on all four sides.
Peel the backing off of one piece and lay it flat with the sticky side facing up. Put the place mat down in the center of it. Top it with the other sheet of contact paper. Smooth out any bubbles.