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Make Your Own Play Mat for Kids Pretend Play

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Make your own play mat for kids pretend play using quick-drying paint sticks. Children can make their own play mats & continue to add to them as they play!

How to Make Your Own Play Mat for Kids Pretend Play with Paint Stix

A big thanks to Kwik Stix paint sticks for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Play mats are great because they encourage pretend play. But most aren’t cheap and since the designs are static, the pretend play can be a bit more limited. And kids can get bored with them after a while.

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I have a better idea.

Let the kids make their own play mats.

They’ll be doubly creative. Creative as they make the play mat and creative as they play with it.

And it’s not difficult; all you need are simple art materials and an imagination. 

Make Your Own Play Mat for Kids with Paint Sticks

Plus, the kids will be able to create a mat that suits their play right now and that can even evolve with their play.

Are they into airplanes? They can draw or paint a runway and hangar onto their mat.

Do they realize they need a pond for the animals to drink from? They can add it and then continue their play.

How about a paddock for their horses? It’s easy to draw one as soon as they realize it’s needed.

Do they want another road? A bridge, fence, river, hay, beds, a forest?

Anything can be added as part of their play and as a continuation of their play.

How to make your own play mat for kids with paper and paint sticks

And then the play mat can be kept and used (and added to) as long as the children are interested. Or they can start fresh and make a new one when they are ready.

We made our own play mat during our children’s art group last week and the kids LOVED it.

I even sent each child home with a big piece of paper so they could make their own at home.

Would you like to make your own play mat?

Here’s how we made ours and how you can make one too.

How to Make Your Own Play Mat for Kids Pretend Play with Paint Stix

Make Your Own Play Mat for Kids Pretend Play

MATERIALS

*We used white art paper from a big roll we had on hand. Other options including taping two lengths of easel paper together, using a roll of brown contractor’s paper (inexpensive in the painting section of the hardware store) or bulletin board paper, taping together a couple of large poster boards, or using a big piece of cardboard.

**You can buy Kwik Stix at Walgreens, at Michaels (both in stores and online)online at Target, and online on Amazon.

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1. Tape paper down

This will hold it in place as you work and play.

Make Your Own Play Mat with Paint Sticks - Drawing Roads

Step 2. Draw roads, etc.

Use the paint sticks to draw roads, rivers, lakes, mountains, bridges, meadows, runways. Whatever suits your play and vision right now.

Cars and figurines on the DIY play mat

Step 3. Add cars, figurines, and houses

Get out a few basic open-ended toys for pretend play on the mat. Some ideas include toy cars, boats, or airplanes and animal and people figurines.

Make Your Own Play Mat for Kids - Adding houses and buildings

You may also want to build some 3-D structures such as houses, garages, barns, bridges, fences, trees, etc. For those you can use magnet tiles as we did, building blocks, or legos.

Make Your Own Play Mat for Kids - Playing with it

Step 4. Play!

Play with your new play mat!

Make Your Own Play Mat for Kids - Adding more details during play

Continue to add details during play as desired.

Need a bridge over the water? Add it. Need a connecting road? Draw it! Need food or beds for your animals? Simply add them as you play.

How to make your own play mat for kids with paper and paint sticks

Want some Kwik Stix paint sticks to make your own play mat?

They are great for working big and bold, plus the best thing of all for these play mats is that they dry almost instantaneously. Within 90 seconds the marks are smudge free, so you can draw a lake and then play out a scene with your toy boat and animals right away.

You can buy Kwik Stix paint sticks at:

More DIY Play Mats for Kids

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Make Your Own Play Mat for Kids Pretend Play

Thanks again to Kwik Stix for sponsoring this post and for sending us paint sticks to use and review! As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Olga
    October 10, 2017 at 6:47 am

    This is so gorgeous, Jean! My son (4yo) and I have been doing this kind of play mats for some time, but we’ve only used stickers (e.g., cars on the road, animals at the farm). Adding the toys brings it to the whole new level! Thanks for this idea and many others, your writings are a true inspiration.

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      October 11, 2017 at 6:16 am

      You’re so welcome, Olga! I hope you and your son enjoy adding toys to your play mats! (Although the sticker idea is super fun, too!)

  • Reply
    Suzanne
    July 21, 2018 at 11:12 am

    This a great idea. Today will be a heat index of 104- so we will be inside all day. Thanks for the idea!

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