Table Top Time

Using simple kraft paper to cover the kids' activity tables at our library. It saves space while encouraging creativity |

Another one of my “projects I’ve been waiting to do” was putting butcher paper down on our kids’ tables.  After reading about how Mo Willems covers his dining room table with butcher or kraft paper and then has “dining room dinner doodles” with his family, I knew that I wanted to do something similar with one of our tables.  We were burning through magic erasers getting rid of crayon scribbles all over our tables, and this seemed like a good creative solution to this problem. Then I saw this pin and that did it.

And here’s our version:

A simple protective layer of brown craft paper over our children's tables encourages creativity and keeps the tables clean.

Heading into the new year we purchased a big roll of brown paper, and wrapped a piece lengthwise down one of our two tables.  I then added frames with an encouraging “Draw on Me” written on it since this was a new thing and felt that kids (and parents) needed encouraging.  Side note: permanent markers don’t work well on this cheap paper – crayons are the best.  Not that this is a huge revelation or anything, but it did surprise me.

Amusing enough, the first day it was up I heard a mother say “Oh honey, no, do that over here.”  I didn’t think twice about that until I went back to wash my hands at the hand sink and saw the mother’s toddler gleefully scribbling the last few inches of his coloring sheet – on the uncovered table.  My best guess is that because I drew the frames on the paper, the mom assumed that kids were only supposed to draw on that paper and within the frames.  Yeah, that’s all I can figure.  Needless to say, by the next day both tables had been covered with paper.  Since we plan to change out the paper at most once-a-week (plus making sure that both sides of the paper get used – that was a fun “facepalm” realization to have) I don’t think it’ll be a waste of the paper.

My drawing of Elephant Gerald and Piggy with the word bubble saying "We love drawing on the tables - please draw with us!"

So far, it seems to be very popular – and nothing super-inappropriate’s been written or drawn on them (one tween was caught writing that her sister is stupid – so far that’s been the worst).  I also plan on creating a Flickr gallery to show off some of the more bright and inventive drawing.

Mo Willems' Pigeon and "Don't Let the Pigeon Doodle on the Tables!" doodle to encourage others to doodle.  Doodling!

The most wonderful aspect that I didn’t really foresee was that this is finally a passive program that parents seem to naturally participate in with their children.  It’s been a joy to see moms, dads, and even granparents merrily drawing along with their children.  Sometimes working together to create some truly fun art.  One mother drew something (like a house) on one side of the table, and then her daughter would mirror her on the other side.  Too cute! 

A few more of my favorites:

A pink and mauve horse says "Hi" with a glowing special orb above it. A simple smiley face looks upon a colorful abstract blob near its head. A fun version of our Build a Band game sheet featuring the guitar and microphone. Another idyllic scene of home. Only this time the colorful image has a giant horse with giant hair overlooking everything.

4 thoughts on “Table Top Time

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