File this under #travel and #kids—this toddler place mat is super easy to make, and light enough to carry in your diaper bag. It will also make finger feeding a little cleaner.
This was inspired by my son, who finger feeds himself. At home, we put his food on the highchair tray and he goes to town feeding himself; however, at restaurants—well, you don't get a highchair tray, and putting a ceramic plate within grabbing distance of an eighteen-month-old is seriously a bad idea (crash!). Call me a germaphobe, but I hated putting his food on bare restaruant tables (eww). So, I invented a toddler place mat, which is incredibly wipeable and lightweight (call me Crafty Mummy).
I went to my local fabric store and asked for a vinyl remnant—a piece of vinyl remaining after the rest has sold—you can find them in clearance bins, or ask a salesperson. The one I purchased was left under a counter, because they didn't know what to do with it. My total bill for the vinyl: under two dollars.
I used a place mat we already had as my template (why make things hard, right?), and cut down the middle of the vinyl, making two place mats.
Then I used pinking shears, because I was cutting while kids were playing around me, and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to cut straight. And the sawtooth effect of pinking shears hides crooked cuts.
Despite using the pinking shears, it was horribly, horribly crooked (Crafty Mummy status lost). So, I had to do a free-hand redo of the cutting.
Thought I would straight sew the backs and fronts of the vinyl together, and then I thought, "Are you nuts? Don't haul out the sewing machine, Caroline!" So, instead broke out . . .
the hot glue gun (you can't help feel Crafty-Mummy-like when you hold a hot glue gun right?).
Under my supervision, I let the big kids glue the inside parts of the vinyl together. (Yes, I involved the children. It was either invite them in on this activity or listen to their "pah-leez, Mummy," a billion more times.)
Glue dry. Place mat made. Easy breezy, no more chicken on the restaurant table, please-y.
My two dollar place mat is folded in my diaper bag, and I have used it again and again at restaurants. I wipe it after each use to keep it clean.
This might not be a big craft to those extreme crafters out there, but for a Mom who travels with a finger food eater, this has made my life a whole lot easier!