A Wild Baby Play Mat

My friend group is in the early years of its “baby boom” and not being a parent myself, I don’t always know what new parents (or new humans) need and want.

Thankfully I was once a small child and I remember how much fabric wall hangings and playmats got in my household. My mom made both my brother and I playmats, wall hangings, and curtains with street and house scenes.

These fabrics were backdrops for our playtime and provided interesting things to look at. I can remember laying in bed staring at my curtains and just visually picking out patterns or shapes in the negative spaces.

So I can imagine a friend’s kid laying on this playmat counting the animals or learning colors and animal names. Maybe they’ll play a matching game with their parents and put their stuffed animals on top of the corresponding critters.  When they are older it can be a backdrop for their own stuffed animals’ adventures or they’ll creative narratives about the animals in the scene. Or they can ignore the animals completely and just play on top of a warm fabric surface during the winter.

And knowing that my peers are dealing with tough housing markets on the west cost, I wanted this gift to also be space-saving. So the playmat has a draw string that gathers it (and any toys inside) up into a lightweight tote for quick transport or storage.

I did not use a pattern, so I’ll do my best to describe the specs. It is made with three layers of fabric: 1) decorative cotton, 2) batting, 3) flannel. The mat can technically be reversible, if you want baby to lay on the soft flannel when it is cold. The mat is about 40 inches wide with a 3.5 yard drawstring cord. The drawstring channel is about an inch wide. I used the same technique for cutting a circle skirt, folding the fabric into fourths, with a 20-inch radius.

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One thought on “A Wild Baby Play Mat

  1. Bravo! That is a great idea. You know what new parents don’t have? Time to sew anything. Also anything that can go into the washer and then right into the dryer is brilliant. And patterned things don’t show the inevitable stains.

    New parents need friends who don’t have babies to remind them why they thought this was a good idea. And being an auntie is (shhhh) better than being a mom. Don’t tell my kids I said that.

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