Ages: 15 months and up
Bust boredom at restaurants with this toddler-friendly art kit. The easy-to-clean mat allows for endless artistic expression with washable crayons, while the carrying tube keeps her supplies in one place.
To make a mat, cut a place mat-size rectangle (ours measures 12 by 18 inches) from a roll of white, nonadhesive vinyl shelf liner. For the carrying case, cut a mailing tube to size (ours is 13 inches long). If you like, cover the tube with patterned Con-Tact paper or glue-on wrapping paper. For extra durability, cover this with clear Con-Tact paper.
Stash the mat and washable crayons in the tube. When your little dinner date grows restless, have her draw on the mat, then show her how to wipe it clean with a damp napkin. For more imaginative play, draw a road or town and let her take a toy car, or even a spoon, for a tabletop joyride.