Learning to Set the Table: Homemade Placemats

The following is by contributor Mariah Bruehl of Playful Learning.

Children love to be involved in holiday preparations and decorating. This enthusiasm creates a wonderful entry point for teaching children how to set the table.

One way to make setting the table fun for everyone involved is to make placemats that can help guide your child through the process. They are very simple to make and will add a personal touch to your family meals.

1. Start by making photo copies of your spoons, knives and forks (we simply put the silverware on the glass top and closed the cover loosely over them).

2. Trace the outlines of your plates, napkins and the bottoms of your glasses on pretty printed paper.

3. After cutting everything out (great for fine-motor skills), glue them (in the proper places) to 11 x 15 inch pieces of watercolor paper (for added texture).

4. It helps to take them to your local office supply store to have them laminated for extra durability.

5. Last but not least, enjoy the independence  your children experience when successfully setting the table (not to mention the extra time)!

Your children will take great pride in helping to set the table and your guests will be intrigued by the colorful handmade touch they bring to your dining experience.

What ways are your children helping you out this holiday season?

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  1. I was looking for table decorations. We love placemats and have a bunch of different types. I love how bold these look. We used contrasting colours to make our cutlery.
    Taking notes about the other table decorations- I need to pretty up the table more. Since I’m surrounded by boys I’ve not kept up sadly. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Melitsa´s latest post: Christmas activities that promote family time

  2. Mariah, thanks for this idea! I can see this being something that all three of my kiddos will be able to use and I love the idea of laminating it so that the placemats can stand up to daily use. The paper you used is so pretty, too 🙂

    How are my kids helping this holiday season? My oldest is taking a big interest in cooking and baking this year, so she has been a super helper in the kitchen. She has also been helping her Dad and I make presents and do some wrapping, too.

    All of the kids have been helping to keep the house clean and picking up after themselves (even the two year old, so some degree) LOVE that! 🙂

    Happy holidays!
    Kara @Simple Kids´s latest post: Learning to Set the Table- Homemade Placemats

    • It is amazing how the little things our children do to help out can make such a big difference! The best part is that they feel so great about contributing to the family 🙂

  3. Love that idea – very cute and helpful.
    Rachel´s latest post: Andy’s Mac and Cheese

  4. No need to go to an office store for lamination. Clear shelf liner (Contac brand or others) does the job nicely. We made some placemats this way several months ago and they’re still standing up to my 2 and 4 year olds.

  5. I love this idea. I have made something similar before, but I love the idea of actually photo copying the silverware! This will be fun to do over winter break.

  6. This is such a fun idea! Love it. 🙂
    Alicia´s latest post: Green craft round-up- Aromatherapy playdough- wine sweaters and more!

  7. I love the paper prints used in each place mat. I think I will do this for the new year. Thanks.
    c.f.´s latest post: 2010-12-21-day66cf

  8. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing!
    See Jamie blog´s latest post: See Jamie Blog in 2011

  9. This is adorable, we are going to do this for New Years Eve!
    Vanessa´s latest post: Wishing You a Wonderful Holiday

  10. We made the placemats (I had the same idea about a year and a half ago—don’t know where I got it from) but I don’t know where to store them! They’re too big for a drawer, I don’t want to store them on the table, and I just haven’t found anywhere nice to put them. Any ideas?

    • Hi Kim… I am so excited to hear that you made the placemats 🙂 Our placemats fit in our kitchen cupboard, but to be honest with you they usually end up stacked and left at the head of our table. Happy New Year!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sherry & Wendy. Sherry & Wendy said: SO cool! RT @confidentmom: RT @simplekids Learning to Set the Table: Homemade Placemats http://bit.ly/dEAFxi […]

  2. […] ici used a variation of a tutorial from Simple Kids to prepare lovely […]

  3. […] If little ones have trouble remembering all that belongs on the table, you might download a cute free placemat which shows a proper casual place setting. http://www.positivelysplendid.com/2011/05/dinnertime-doodle-mats-ssg-idea-16.html or try your hand at some more decorative, but still instructional, mats like these. http://simplekids.net/learning-to-set-the-table […]

  4. […] Set the table. I love these simple suggestions from Simple Kids on how to teach little ones to set the table. If yours are older than that, begin them with the habit of setting the table daily on their own […]

  5. […] difficulty by providing a placemat guide (making one is a great fine motor activity outlined here) to get all the parts in the correct place. Once that is easy for him, take away the placemat and […]