Fortunately, inspiration's stinger found my brain at the dollar store like a bee finds a bare foot in the grass. There, in the kitchenware aisle, sat several rolls of clear, adhesive shelf liner. I swiftly snagged a few rolls and went to pay for my purchases.
Back at home, I started to work, peeling up the already peeling top of the table. The kids joined in the fun, thankfully, since it took a while.I went to the computer and made up some things and downloaded some things. I also perused coloring and activity books. I did some sudoku, dot-to-dots, periodic table, scriptures, prepositions, mazes, a word bingo for each place setting, etc. All these things I cut out and place strategically on the bare table top. I put the preschool type things at Chubby's spot, the Chemistry and prepositions at Sticky's.
When the table was nicely covered, I got out the shelf liner. Princess helped me to carefully unroll & unpeel the liner from its backing and onto the activity cut-outs. I let enough hang over the edge to smoosh the sticky liner against the underside of the table to prevent it from easily peeling up.
Now all that was needed was erasable markers! I was able to find some that had built in erasers and magnets so that they could hook to the metal part under the top of the table for easy access all around.
When we play Bingo at the dinner table, everyone has a marker and if you hear a word on your Bingo sheet spoken, you cross it off. When you have five in a row marked off, you holler Bingo, or go for the black-out and get all of them! Everyone's Bingo card has the same, or nearly all the same words, but in different order. It is lots of fun!
Here is Chubby by a couple of the Bingos. Each person has something they enjoy doing, or need to work on. The only trouble comes when the markers dry up, or when Chubby decides to smash the tips in.
We have had the table like this for about 6 months now and it is still entertaining. We just recently turned the table around 180 degrees so we all have something new to look at.Perhaps in another six months, we may create a "new" table.
We can use the table any way we want. Here Chubby drew a picture of his brother.
The really cool thing is that it cleans up quite simply with a wet washrag. The other really cool thing is that guests have been very intrigued by this table and it has spurred many interesting conversations. The other really cool thing is that it was really cheap to make. The other really cool thing is that we had fun making it. The other really cool thing is that there are more really cool things that I am just not going to continue droning on about. :)
This became a case of something I planned for that didn't turn out as I planned, but did turn out to be a good thing. There's probably a good lesson in that for other things.