What are Some Kids' Placemats?

wiseGEEK Writer

Dining children often make messes and placemats can be an excellent way to minimize this mess. Fabric mats in plain colors may be easy to wash but they don’t have the same kind of appeal as kids' placemats, or those designed specifically for children. Numerous kids' placemats exist and can give kids a sense of fun when dining, while helping to save table surfaces and reduce cleanup after a meal.

Placemats might be made out of yarn.
Placemats might be made out of yarn.

There are many different types of kids' placemats, and these may be categorized by material and design. Materials for mats are most often one of three types: plastic lined or laminated, thick rubberized material, or fabric. Designs vary significantly and can include plenty of things that will appeal. Pictures can include animals, vehicles, the ever-popular dinosaurs, maps of a specific country or the world, or licensed cartoon characters. In toy stores and online at many stationary stores, customers are sure to find significant variety in placemat design.

Plastic plates for kids.
Plastic plates for kids.

One thing that can make a great gift for kids is a personalized placemat. Such personalized kids' placemats also have numerous styles and designs and can be purchased in a variety of locations. These mats feature a child’s name and may make the child feel that much more special when he or she gets to use the mat. A visible name, especially above or below where the plate sits can help kids learn how to recognize, and gradually spell and write their names. When there are many kids in a family, personalized kids’ placemats may also end inevitable arguments about which mat belongs to which child.

Parents may wonder how to clean kids' placemats and this really depends upon the type. Fabric mats with kids’ designs may be machine washable, though parents should look at washing recommendations. Laminated mats and those with rubberized backs can usually be given a quick scrub with warm soapy water. Most mats should not be cleaned in the dishwasher, and those that appear to be broken or extremely filthy (perhaps not washed immediately after a meal) should be discarded.

Sometimes kids' placemats are sold with coordinating cups, plates, bowls, napkins and even silverware. Such mats and their accessories may be particularly popular with younger kids, especially those who need plastic plates because they’re not yet reliable with breakable plates. These placemat sets can be a great choice for birthday gifts, especially to really young kids who are new to eating at high chairs and tables.

Another type of placemat suitable for kids is the disposable mat. These can be helpful for on the go dining or just for dining at home. Parents can order paper mats by the case and restaurants very often feature kids' menus on their disposable mats. Throwaway paper mats provide easy cleaning and those with decorations may occupy kids through longer meals.

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