As anyone knows who’s ever watched a child pound peas into the tabletop, fingerpaint with avocado, or smear yogurt around in circles, teaching a toddler to eat can be messy, and too many vigorous wipe-downs can wreck the finish on some tables. A tray or placemat is the answer, and the best-looking mats we’ve found are made by Oakland-based company, Modern Twist. They’re made from soft, flexible, FDA-grade silicone, so there’s no nasty chems leaching into the food (perfect for kids who like to throw plates on the floor-just serve them straight on the placemat). Just toss them into the sink or dishwasher to clean. And the simple designs mesh perfectly with a modern home. Modern Twist designer and mother of three Kat Nouri tapped local artists Carrie Gifford and Matte Stephens to come up with designs for the mats, and their cityscapes, inquisitive owls, and playful monsters will capture your child’s imagination. If they insist on doing their own artwork, however, they can draw on the mats with pen or marker and it will wash off along with the food. Pick up a pair (fun to have when friends come over) at Lavish in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, the SFMOMA gift store, Summer House in Mill Valley, Urban Indigo in Oakland, and many other locations.