Mealtime is the one time my busy kids sit still for a little while, so I love that smart people are creating such interesting learning dishes for kids, educational placemats, and other housewares that let kids do more than doodle at the table. Or uh, play Candy Crush. Whether or not your kids will actually review math facts or practice cursive over the mashed potatoes, they’re likely to absorb some of the information presented in front of them, which I think is kind of neat.
For little ones, Brinware’s brightly colored, easy-to-clean silicone alphabet placemats (above) make for a fun find-the-letter or count the numbers game to play with the kids while they play with the lovingly-made organic foodstuffs you’ve prepared. They also come in purple and pink should that be your kids’ colors of choice these days .
At Toy Fair this year, were introduced to The Multiples, which makes unique multiplication-themed, BPA-free melamine plates and cups (shown at top). In muted tones featuring a wide-eyed animal, each piece highlights a different multiplication table around the edges. Have a child who can’t remember the answer to 6×8? Grab the Bugsy Eight Hops plate, bowl, and tumbler and master those troublesome eights. Or, check out their curriculum sets which give you a variety of multiplication tables on the dishes. Just don’t get too upset if you find that the peas have been broken out in groups of six before they are eaten.
Even though texting seems to be the handwriting of the future, I’m not ready to give up on old-fashioned handwriting. Or cursive. With Sarah + Abraham’s dry-erase handwriting placemats for kids, I can sneak a little handwriting practice into our day before I finish up meal prep. I like the two-sided personalized cursive placemats which give kids practice writing their names and the letter shapes before they flip it over and try connecting those letters together. And their manuscripts mats would make a great gift with one side reserved for writing practice and the other featuring a big, bright personalized image of the little scholar.
There are also USA and world map placemats available for some geography practice which are pretty sweet too. And better than the paper ones at the diner which aren’t quite as useful with spilled maple syrup all over them.
GRAMMAR RULES DISHES
I would like to buy a set of the Grammar Rules plates or Grammar Rules mugs for every person who’s ever going to write a comments on any article on the Internet, but instead I’ll stick with educating my own kids about the difference between its and it’s, or good and well. This is real ceramic dishware, not plastic, so it’s best saved for kids old enough not to toss their plates onto the floor.
Is your glass half full or half empty? Well, now your kids will know for sure with these clever BPA-free, plastic fraction-bar Math Glasses from Quality Math Products. You can even print a list of questions to ask while they drink, inserting the names of your child’s family and friends into grade-level questions like, Isabel watched the glass being filled until the milk covered 5 out of the 6 parts of one of the bars. What fraction of the glass is full of milk? Thankfully, for the math-challenged, they provide the answers too.
GOOD MANNERS PLATES
Ooo la la, these French-language Manners Plates for kids are both lovely to look at and music to my ears, especially after a day when I’ve had to remind the kids to say please repeatedly. Don’t know French? These charmingly illustrated plates are also available en anglais. It would be nice though if there were a few more options featuring boys. Presumably they need a little nudge about putting elbows on the table too.
If you’re speaking two languages in the house or just preparing for a trip this summer to Europe (lucky), Bebe Bilingual’s laminated Spanish or French foreign language placemats come in loads of styles, though I love the idea of teaching the kids the name of all the vegetables they are going to try to reject. Hey, at least they can reject them in another language. Politely, if they have the Manners Plates, too.
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