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Making You Own Play Mats

Have you seen those lovely play mats or play rugs in the stores that just invite you to get down on the floor and play? But unfortunately, they cost big bucks.

Did you know that you can create your own play mat inexpensively with things around the house or that you can buy cheap?

Here are a couple of ones that I made for my kids years ago:

Picture of Oil Cloth Play Mat

This one I made out of oil cloth and colored with markers.
It has faded some over the years.

Picture of Sheet Play Mat

This oned is made out of an old sheet. It has faded more than the first one. My kids helped draw this one.

Both of these were well used by all of my kids and now by my grandkids.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what you have around the house that could be used for the background. Be creative with what you have.

Some Possible Materials for the the kids play mats are:

  • shower curtain (if you don't have one, usually you can find one at the Dollar Stores)

  • tablecloth, light colored, better if thicker or lined

  • fabric, heavier is better

  • rug remnant or scrap (preferably not shag), light colored works best

  • white or light colored sheet

  • large roll of paper such as from a newspaper (does not last as long as the other options)

Let the kids draw their own village, roads, railroads and other items. If kids are too little, you can draw them, or you can draw them in pencil and let the kids color them.

Use a pencil or chalk to outline where you want things to go. Put things in that are meaningful to where you live.

You will want to have roads, train tracks, airport, spaces for houses, etc. Make things that reflect where you live. That way the kids will be able to reenact some of the things that they encounter in their daily lives.

Some things you might want to include:

  • School
  • Airport
  • Church
  • Fire Station
  • Gas Station
  • Grocery Store
  • Hospital
  • Mall
  • Police Station
  • Train Station

When you are satisfied with your layout for your playmat, let the kids decorate with markers, crayons, colored pencils, fabric paint, or other paint. Use what you have. Draw over your markings and color in the items.

You can use blocks or boxes for houses and buildings. Or you can create your own buildings using cereal type boxes. You can turn the boxes inside out so the plain cardboard is on the outside and the printing is on the inside so the kids can decorate them.

For storage, find a large cardboard box with a lid or flaps such as a paper box so you can store everything inside when the kids are not playing with all of it.

You can even sew curtain rings to the corners so that you can quickly pick up the whole thing, buildings and all, and stow it away quickly if needed. You can hang it from a nail until you need it again.

Enjoy playing with your child with the completed child play mat. Watch quietly over their shoulders, and you will be amazed at what they act out.


"You're Never Too Old to Play"

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on a regular basis.

You probably have some great ideas too!
Feel free to

share your kids play ideas with us.

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