Thursday, August 13, 2015

DIY Canvas Car Playmat

So, my baby turned two yesterday.

And I just KonMaried my house and I am SO. OVER. the toys. And the kid clutter. Plus he has both a big brother and a big sister, and they have toys that cover all the basics. But we still have loads of birthdays and Christmases in our future, so what in the world am I going to give? Anyway, my internal brain rant ended when I came up with this idea. It meets all of my current criteria:

  1. It is durable. 
  2. It is open-ended and fosters imaginative play.
  3. It folds up small and can be stored with like-items in our toy storage system.
  4. It encourages cooperative play.

My hubby had a mat like this one when he was a kid, so I asked my mother-in-law to give me some details on how to make our own. I bought 60 inches x 45 inches of duck canvas and ran a zigzag stitch down the raw edges. Then, (after planning out the city on graph paper measured and accurately scaled proportionately, then folding the canvas to help rescale my plan) I drew in the city using some permanent sharpie markers.

I seriously can't stop looking at it. I love it so much! Maybe even more than the kids, although all three were delighted when Max opened his gift.  Justin has a tin of Micro Machines from when he was a kid and they are absolutely adorable on the mat. But I sized the roads so the regular Hot Wheels cars can fit on either side, and Max's Melissa & Doug Car Carrier will also (barely) fit on the whole road. They will need security to block off the other lanes of traffic. ;)

Before I started, I asked Harvey what places I should add to our city and he surprised me when the first thing he mentioned was the temple. I have to admit, it never crossed my mind, but I added it because he wanted it. Just a little thing that made me smile.

I added a little neighborhood, a church, grocery store, school, and bank.

 Another must-have was an airport -  with a landing strip, a gas station and a restaurant.

One of my favorite things about the original mat was the mountain scene, and river flowing into a lake so there could be bridges on the streets. I added the dirt road going to the mountains... complete with a little camp site at the end. And since the river is close by, I drew in a couple fish for another recreational activity.

I couldn't forget the "city center" with a round-about and a little fountain in the middle. It is surrounded by the city pool, office (aka "the place where Daddy works"), a police station and hospital, with a landing pad for the life-saving helicopters.

And last but not least, the river ends in a lake, with a beach and a little dock so the cars can watch the sun set over the water before they head back to their cul-de-sac for bed.

To make sure it lasts... (and it better last generations! Ha.) I ironed it to set the ink during washing. And I've got to remember to only wash in cold water.

Total cost: $13.50
Duck Canvas: $6.50
New Sharpies: $7

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