For kids

Road Rug Play Mat made out of a tablecloth


road rug play mat title image

I learned something about the difference between raising boys and raising girls.   My perspective is somewhat unique in that I gave birth to 5 girls and then after that I gave birth to 5 boys.  So I have had the oft-repeated experience of observing how they behave differently.   One huge difference is that my girls could pick up a toy car and instantly pretend that it was a baby doll and rock it and sing to it.  Whereas my boys could pick up a barbie doll start shoving her across the floor making “Vroom, Crash, AHHH” sound effects.  ANY toy could be turned into a car.  If the toy actually had real wheels that was even better, but not completely necessary.

So if you have small boys this project is perfect for them!

Supplies that I used:

  • A heavy duty flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth (white)
  • Sharpies and dry-erase markers of various colors
  • A couple of cars to use for road-width measuring
  • A large can of green beans and some clear box tape.
  • Print outs of some clip art images of houses and office buildings


supplies road rug

First we opened the tablecloth and hand-ironed it out onto the floor.  We discovered that the flannel backing actually sticks the tablecloth down onto the carpet quite well.  This was a big plus later when my boys crawled all over the top of it and it didn’t roll, fold or tear from the rough traffic.  We began by making a list of houses and buildings that my little boys might recognize even though some of them couldn’t read very well.  Our list included places like:   McDonald’s, The Zoo, Our Church, Walmart, Grandma’s house, etc.

road rug blank

I also used my talented and willing daughters to help me with the upcoming artwork.   Before they could start though, I had to draw out the main road lines for them to work around.  That’s where the can of green beans comes in.  It was the perfect width for matchbox cars to pass each other on a two lane highway.   I taped 2 black sharpies on each side of the can and then held the can while drawing out the roads.  It wasn’t perfect but at least it maintained a standard width.

road rug outlines only

I started sketching out some building for them to start with (I used clip art for inspiration).  And they just took off from there.  We spent several hours during the boys’ afternoon nap time adding lots of interesting details.

road rug stage 1

road rug atage 2

road rug stage 3

road rug close up

The next day, we worked on it again during nap time and  added animals and trees and a lovely hide-and-seek border going all the way around in which various animals are peeking out, like a penguin, a deer, snakes and a scarecrow.

road rug nearly done

And this was the final result!  The boys were very excited about it when they first saw it.   This one was made in 2009 and has stood up to several years of play!

road rug finished

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