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Full Meal Deal

Funny thing about the school year. It's more organized, since there's a dependable calendar at least from roughly  8-3 on weekdays, but it's also, often, more crazy-busy than the summer. You know the drill--soccer, ballet, tae-kwondo, chess club etc, etc, etc.

Which leaves, for many families, less time for sit-down family meals. Which means, in turn, that those sit-down meals a family can grab are that much more precious.

Here at Oopsy daisy, we have more art placemats than you can shake a stick at (or a chopstick, more on that later!). In honor of the still-new school year and the always-important family meal, we offer a mini-roundup of a few of our kids' placemats that have an educational, and decidedly artistic, theme. (By the way, all these mats are 12x17, phthalate-free soft vinyl, reversible to green & white polka dots, wipe clean and made in the US. Whew!)

This Land is Your Land is a piece by Donna Ingemanson that has a square for each state, listing need-to-know info such as the state flower and bird. Great family-dinner conversation starter.

Kids can learn state names, locations and capitals as easy as pie with the Oh Say Can You See placemat (really! It's a piece of cake!).This friendly, folksy piece by Jill McDonald can even be personalized.

Jill McDonald also created A-Z Tropical Fish, which features a different actual, accurately drawn tropical fish for each letter. Maria Carluccio's Animal Alphabet pairs each letter with a sweet and expressive animal.

Exploring the World from A-Z by Jenny Kostecki-Shaw features a world city, the country in which it's located, and a caption about the illustration.

Speaking of exploring, Solar System by Donna Ingemanson features all the planets in the correct order from the sun, with a little boy exploring them for good measure.

In addition to states, letters, cities and planets, kids can sit down to a fun depiction of the Chinese Zodiac in this sweet piece by Donna Ingemanson.

We told you we'd get to chopsticks, and how's this for a perfect segue? In our opinion, fun placemats call for fun place settings. We have a couple suggestions, starting with Chopstick Kids. These silicone rubber kids click their heels while keeping a set of chopsticks together. Ideal for little ones learning how to use the untensils (or big folks who haven't quite mastered the feat!).

Finally, there's this Spreadybear, a koala plate (koalas aren't bears, but let's not quibble with cuteness) that has space for peanut butter in one ear, jelly in the other, and a spreader masquerading as the koala's mouth. Add bread to the center and kids have everything they need to make their very own PB&J.

The best part: while they're making their meal, you'll have more time to memeorize your state capitals.

Bon appetit!



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