• When my now 8-year-old was a toddler and we went out to eat, I always kept my bag stashed with crayons, coloring books and the requisite bag of Goldfish (in times of desperation, I’d break out the snacks before the art supplies, rebel that I was). When a colleague sent me a pack of tear-off, stick-on activity place mats, I went through them almost as fast as a bag of Goldfish! I always meant to order more of them, but never got around to stocking up. Wouldn’t a reusable mat work wonders for the time-crunched parent, the one who only realized she’d forgotten the Crayolas and paper after leaving home? (Yup, I admit to that being me on at least a few occasions…) Enter Jaq Jaq Bird Chalk Mats, a double-sided kids’ place mat that every on-the-go parent can use. On the one side, an open canvas that begs to be drawn on, colored on and graced with impromptu games of Hangman and tic tac toe. If you use it with Jaq Jaq Bird Butterstix, you’ll appreciate that the colorful, pastel-like chalk is dust-free–a big bonus during mealtime. Then, once the food arrives, flip over the PVC-free mat to reveal a delightful scene designed to keep your little entertained while eating. The mat wipes clean and rolls up easy for storage in your bag. Right next to those Goldfish.

    In a Nutshell: A mess-free dinner out, with the kiddies entertained. Chalk it up to a clever invention. Goes great with chicken fingers and fries.

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