Place Mats are a good thing to have if you have a messy child or if you are just trying to keep your kids entertained at the table, restaurant or their grandparents house.
Mr. I really likes to make food groups so for our place mat I drew the food plate from the http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ and then we cut out food from magazines. You could do any theme you like or you could just draw a picture. It's really up to your child what they like the best.
Markers, Crayons or Paints
Take the paper and make a design using writing utensils or gluing magazine clippings.
When you are finished measure out some contact paper and cut.
Remove the backing of the contact paper and put it on top of art work. Repeat on the back side.
Cut off access contact paper.
Display your play mat on your table or keep for visits.
Here's another idea. Use draw erase markers to draw on them and wipe them off.