A Summer Play Mat

I’ve been sewing like crazy these past couple months. I have like 4 projects going all at the same time. The other day, Jeff came over to me and said, “how many projects are you doing?! You are dancing all over the place with needle thread, paint and sanding tools!” And it’s very true. Any time my busy child is sleeping, I go straight to work on a project. This week I was working hard to make Ellie a summer time play mat. I love the idea of a nature table (it was my pride and joy when I was a preschool teacher), but I also love the idea of having the nature we find, mingle with the toys we have out. And providing that seasonal aspect, the colors that summer time brings, the images summertime procures; I wanted to create something special for summertime play.

beach mat

I went about creating a beachy feel, with the different colors of an ocean blue as the centerpiece. I created rocks with luxurious wool felt, hoping to give a tide pool effect.

whole shebang

I made stepping-stones and a grassy area and then backed the whole thing with a funky and bright vintage tablecloth. And with a little help from Gerda Mueller’s Summer, I had a delightful back drop to bring it all together.
finished productAdd some great mermaid figures and some handmade peg people as well as some local beach wood and you’ve got yourself a summer play scape! Ellie loved it and as you can tell by all the photos and my blubbering, I kind of love it myself. In fact, I was going to present all of this to her on the solstice but I just couldn’t wait that long! This is California after all, and it’s felt like summer for quite a while already.


I even whipped up a little starfish with some batik scraps I had left over. It adds some summer color to the tide pools don’t you think?

I love making these types of things for Ellie and now for other people’s children as well. I was a very imaginative child and loved creating special play spaces for my toys. I hope these play mats are simple enough to leave the play experiences up to the children but inspiring enough to expand and support imaginative play. I know it brings a smile to my face, every time I see Ellie playing at her table with the things I have made her. It is a joy to watch her play.

*I do have another summer time play mat complete with fabric tree stumps to enjoy in the shop. It has the same vintage backing but its a whole lot greener than this one. Perfect for a woodsy summer playscape. Check it out here.