A fun craft project that results in an amazing toy for the kids is definitely a win-win – and when that toy is an activity mat, perfect for quiet play time or long car rides, even better. This next project may seem on the more complicated side, but it barely takes an hour to put together. One hour and endless hours of play with a brand new Roads & Cars activity mat? That’s what we call a winner! Here is a fast guide with everything you need to know on how to create this great little toy:

The Tools

Step 1:

Sketch the design of your mat on paper. We drew 2 rough sketches ahead of our project, just to get an overall visual of the desired outcome. We made small adjustments on the road (quite literally so), so don’t spend too much time creating the perfect sketch, as you’ll likely get more inspired and add elements along the way.

Step 2:

Cut the roads, houses, trees and lake according to the measurements. We started off with a piece of grey felt that measured 40 / 45 cm (16’’ / 18’’). Using a log ruler and a pen, trace the elements on the corresponding felt colors (white for roads, black for trees and houses and blue for lake). We opted for wide streets measuring 10 cm / 4’’ in width and narrow roads measuring 4 cm / 1.6’’ in width. Cut the roads, houses and lake according to the measurements in the picture below, then place them on your mat. The trees are about as tall as the houses, but feel free to get creative with the design. Create white doors for the houses out of felt rectangles and use white felt squares as the windows. And if you are feeling extra inspired, you can add additional elements such as tall apartment buildings or gas stations on your mat as well.

Step 3:

Glue all the elements on the grey felt mat. Using a hot glue gun, glue all your pieces on the mat in the correct position.

Step 4:

Trace the interrupted street line on the roads. Using a permanent marker or a fabric marker, trace the short lines on the roads. We went back to this step later in the project and accentuated them for extra contrast.

Step 5:

Create a traffic light out of felt and glue it on the mat. This idea came later in the game, so we decided to create three small round shapes out of red, yellow and an improvised green (white felt + green fabric marker or permanent marker) and glue them on our mat. Use the geometric shapes stencil from the set if needed.

Step 6:

Trace 3 cars, a motorcycle and a boat on the cardstock papers. Using colorful cardstock and the vehicle stencil, trace at least three cars, a motorcycle and a boat. Of course, you can use plain white cardstock for your cars if you wish to do so (and later let the kids color them up) and you can also go ahead and create the cars out of felt.

Step 7:

Cut the vehicle shapes and add details. Cut your vehicles leaving a thin outline outside the outline. Then, using a black marker, strengthen the lines of the cars and add details to your drawing.
Guaranteed outcome: the kids will love this mat, regardless if they’re little one year-olds or curious kindergarteners. Feel free to add in extra elements using the shapes from the stencil set – such as little animals or even princesses in order to create a more complex and interactive city mat.

Final result :

There are tons of possibilities! Easy to create, easy to store and so much fun to use, time and time again – this fun activity mat has it all! Enjoy!