It's a project that will appeal to everyone in the family: Kids get a special surface (three of them, in fact) to play on, and adults can clean up faster because toys will be confined to one area, not scattered all over the house. Begin with a table that's a comfortable height for kids: The top should be about 18 inches from the ground.
Next comes the fun part -- designing and painting three playscapes. One is painted directly on the table; apply the other two on the top and bottom of a lightweight board cut to fit the table. Attach straps to the board for easy lifting, removing, or turning over by an adult. We painted a sweeping country motif for setting up train tracks, a city grid of streets and buildings befitting any driver's fantasy, and a domestic floor plan that will delight all the small dolls (and their owners) living in your house. Under-table bins make cleanup easy. We chose large boxes, but several small ones would serve as well. If you label the containers, kids can quickly find whichever set of toys they need.