While it's nice that our son eats with such gusto, his gusto ends up all over the table. We have some very cute placemats, but we needed to think bigger. Much bigger. On a rainy day trip to Ikea (frankly, just to walk around indoors) we stumbled upon a product in the office section that does the job perfectly.
Sold as an office pad, it's twice as big as a standard placemat (25 5/8 " x 17 3/4 ") and clear so we can leave it on the table at all times without a visual impact. It cost us $6 which is less than most of our real placemats and it has held up well over the past month.
It's called Projs at Ikea, but surely most office supply stores like Staples carry something similar.
(photo: Carrie McBride)