November 14, 2010

Car Playmat

I have drooled over car playmats for a couple of years now and been wanting to make one.
But seeing as how I am proud if we all smell halfway decent and I've made dinner I haven't been able to sit down and get started on the one I wanted to make.

What's a playmat?
A portable cloth that is often made of felt and opens up to reveal a play world inside. Cars, farms, trains, outer space...anything your kid is into could be made into a playmat. And besides being the surface for play it can also hold the toys needed to play on it.

I think it's awesome to be able to carry a whole play world anywhere you go where the kids would be bored out of their minds: Planes, doctors' offices, dental conventions. You know how we frequent those.

So I finally got my arse in gear and made one.
There are all different kinds that I admire. Ones like this, this and this.

I like them all, but really wanted something that wasn't only flat. So I borrowed ideas and imagined new ones and I thunk and I thunk and came up with this:

We have gas and air, with hoses:

A mountain to drive through. Which I had snap on in case it needed to be removed. And I'm glad I did, because I should have made it out of something sturdier than cardboard and interfacing. First thing Brother did was mash it down. Of course.
It's still standing but maybe a couple of wires to help it keep its shape would have been good:

A construction site with real rock beads on fishing line that goes from one end of the pit to the other. That way they can be "bulldozed" around the work site:

A drive through car wash. This one made with wire, so it gets knocked down and bent out of whack and goes back into shape with just a few tugs:

Parking lot:

Isn't this the cutest fabric on the other side?:

And it closes for easy transport. Just throw in the cars, trucks and anything else you need and pull the string.

Silas likes it. He's still a little young for it still but really likes pushing the car through the mountain.
Sadie loves it.

But these days a simple request from me that she allow me to take a picture playing with the mat means she has to squeal and run away as fast as possible. So you'll have to imagine her joy.
We are working on a design for a fairy playmat for her at her request, after I assured her that, no, we didn't need two car mats. And, yes, we could share them both.
So I'll share that one with you soon, hopefully, as I am trying to keep my aforementioned behind in gear.


LindaT said...

That is terrific. Can I get one with a golf course. Your are so talented.
Love ya

Greerio said...

You are amazing. I want a horse one and a dinosaur one.

Schleck said...

You are seriously the coolest person/best mom ever. Seriously. I would like a world travel one please, with a tiny you and me that we can move from country to country. And maybe a teeny tiny Mets bag to carry with us. And then I'll just come over and do it in your living room :)

Kathleen Babbitt said...

do you think plastic mesh would work for the tunnel? what kind of wire did you use? did you use chenille stems? love your ideas. flat is great but adding a dimension is awesome!

Sarah Lyons Fleming said...

Hi Kathleen,

I think plastic mesh would work great. Better than cardboard. It's been so long since I made it that I can't recall exactly what wire I used, but it was fairly thick--thicker than chenille stems--but thin enough to bend by hand. I think chenille stem wire would break with all the squashing. Most likely it was from Home Depot or the like.
I bent the edges and sewed them onto the mat before putting the outside fabric down, I believe.

Thanks! It was a lot of fun to make. I'd love to see what you come up with.


Neel said...

Love your car playmat, took the idea of the tunnel from you. Thanks!!

Emma @ Our Whimsical Days said...

I have been drooling over car play mats for awhile, too - but I think I like yours the best! The mountain and standing car wash are just genius!