In my preschool/ childcare days, I worked with infants for about three years out of the ten plus I was in early education. I learned a lot about the needs of babies. Sensory exploration is a very large part of being a baby and I wanted to make a special soft, sensory place for the babies in my care to explore and crawl and lay on. I put together a rather shoddy play mat that at the time I thought was a work of genius. It has however, lasted through three years of babies in my care and then moved with me to a toddler room and a preschool room where it stayed for almost five years as a reading corner mat. When I left my job to stay home with my baby, that mat was one of the few things I took with me. I wanted to give my baby girl a chance to lay and crawl and enjoy my efforts and sure enough she is doing just that. For this sentimental gal, I get pretty happy seeing my own baby playing on a mat that I made and that already has so many memories for me.
I had collected bits and pieces of different types of fabric- sheepskin, flannel, micro-fleece, cotton, velvet , chenille and even vinyl. I sewed them all together to create the top. I took a large piece of thick fleece, sewed front sides together and turned the whole thing inside out and voila! I had myself a sensory mat. Ellie seems to really be enjoying the different textures. She prefers scratching at the vinyl the best. I love how well its held up. I can throw it in the wash on hot and it comes out just as soft and cuddly as ever. I’m tempted to make another. Some of the fabric is worn and loved on this one and I think I could make a much nicer one now. But this little mat will always have a place in my heart and now even more so with new memories of my own baby girl enjoying the sensory exploration, this very important work that babies do.