This isn't a new idea. We've eaten at a number of restaurants that have implemented this clever trick to keep their patrons occupied while waiting for food. But a light bulb went off in my head the other day when we were expecting friends for dinner. I decided that our table needed a table cloth so I could clean up the mess easily. Then, the thought of having to shake out, spot treat, and wash my sunny yellow table cloth seemed to be more work than just wiping down the table itself. And that's when I remembered our huge roll of drawing paper just sitting, unused in our easel upstairs. And since we always have a can of colored pencils at the ready in the middle of our table, it just made sense.
And the result?
Practically perfect children.
This paper-on-the table idea is a keeper. We had more fun adding pictures to our tabletop mural. Each day there was a new little surprise in the form of a picture, and I looked forward to seeing what cropped up next. I left the paper on for more than a week before I decided it had done its job [catching spills], and finally removed it, much to the dismay of my little artists. We had to say good-bye to a few of our tabletop friends, but I'll be adding another pristine paper surface today and will await the new surprises.