Feb 20, 2009

Shower curtain village play mat

I saw the idea for making a kid's play mat out of a dollar store shower curtain on a blog called My Little Gems, which is written by Sharla. I came across this craft and hence her blog because it was featured on Blissful Kids. I had six kids over and it was nasty rainy, so I needed something that they could help to make and play with for most of the afternoon.

I taped out the shower curtain onto the kitchen floor with some packing tape and then set about drawing on it with a black magic marker. The kids were right there while I was setting this up, so the drawing of the village layout was done whilst they were all giving input on what buildings we needed and where and i didn't have the time to look for and print out the cool photos and logos that were used in the original shower curtain play mat I saw.


I taped two sharpies to opposite sides of an old juice bottle, so I could use the contraption to quickly draw roads that were an even width. by the time I'd drawn half the village, the
kids had already started colouring it, so we kind of worked together and around each other with some kids colouring and some telling me what i needed to draw next on the map. There's only one photo of the project half done, because I had to keep drawing to keep up with the kid's requests for more roads and buildings!
You'll notice from the image of the finished play mat towards the bottom of this post that it's a bit of a weird town plan with roads going to odd places, but that's what happens when you are crawling around on the floor inbetween six kids that are four years old and younger and being directed by them! I resisted the urge to put in a couple of roundabouts for fear of confusing the American children :D, but as one of my mates pointed out to me, by doing this I have doomed another generation of Americans to repeat Chevy Chase's European vacation mistakes.because of the texture of the shower curtain (actually the packaging said it was a shower curtain liner?) it meant that we could colour it with crayons as well as perminent marker pens. The kids spent a long time colouring and when some of them got bored of colouring, we got the cars out to go on it, while others carried on colouring. One of the two year olds decided that the gas station/ grocery store needed some stock and went to get a basket of play food to pile up on top of it.


Last of all I got out a pack of traffic sign foam stickers from the dollar store and the kids kind of figured out where they should go on the roads. I left it taped to the floor overnight and my girls got up in the morning and carried on colouring it.


I have another shower curtain liner from the dollar store and the plan for the next floor map adventure is to spend an evening drawing a map of San francisco with all the famous landmarks on it, so the kids can colour it in and drive thier toy vehicles around all the places they know.
Maybe after we have done that I will do a map of Swindon to keep Duncan Happy ;)

55 comments:

  1. This is awesome! I knew there was a reason I kept a shower curtain liner last week, that I could have thrown away. Thanks for the idea, and I will check out your links also. Great blog- lots of inspiration! :)-Maritza

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  2. You could go the whole hog and also include
    Swindon's quadrabout
    (at least that's what my driving instructor called it).

    What with that, the Magic Roundabout and my complete lack of spatial awareness it's remarkable that I ever passed my driving test.

    Loved your homemade road-drawing tool.

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  3. You are amazing!

    Note to Duncan - we stayed in Swindon in order to visit Stonehenge. Almost didn't make it back out of Swindon due to the incomprehensible roundabouts. We inevitably got lost. I think you should have a gold star on your driving license for attaining it in the midst of Swindon's roundabout madness!!

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  4. I tried this idea today and it was awesome. My boys were occupied for a while. Thanks for the idea. Your blog is great!

    Nicole

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  5. This is another great idea. I definitely need to post about this at dollar store crafts!!

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  6. Amazing! I'm totally making this for my kids! I'm linking to this at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com

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  7. This looks fantastic and a lot of fun!
    But, we do have roundabouts in the States! I've seen them in Manhattan, KS, Savannah, GA and Mount Holly, NJ. If you want for confusing traffic you'd have to include jug handles which I think can only be found in New Jersey. Talk about confusing!

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  8. Inspiring!
    We're getting to know a new state and neighborhood, so we could apply this creative concept to map out our *go*see*do* adventures!
    Thanks!

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  9. Amazing! Great idea about making the roads even width. Next rainy day we will be giving this try. Thanks found you via tip junkie.

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  10. What a wonderful idea for boys and girls to make. Awesome art tool too! Thank you so much for showing us how you made this!
    hugs

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  11. This is absolutely brilliant! I've been trying to come up with something for the kids at my husband's family reunion and you just gave me my solution. Awesome!

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  12. Saw this on Dollar Store Crafts and I'd lovey to link to it at One Crafty Place. May I use one of your images in the post? Thanks!

    onecraftyplace(at)gmail.com

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  13. And then you hang the curtain in your shower. :) It looks great.

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  14. This is brilliant! I will have to try this and I particularly like your road drawing tool...

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  15. Love this idea - can't wait to do it with my kiddos.

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  16. You'll be happy to know roundabouts are popping up all over the States! My town of Iowa City has at least 4 that I know of, mostly small one lane ones. And NJ has some very large ones, worthy of downtown London with 4-6 lanes.

    This project is fantastic, I have my 5 year old home with me for the first time this summer, and she will love to create her own country map.

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  17. You are a genius! I have featured this on my blog The Handmade Experiment. Thanks so much for sharing this. I'm totally going to try it! Oh, and I live in Portland, OR. We have tons of round abouts.

    http://emilyflippinmaruna.wordpress.com/2009/06/12/inspiration-wednesday-on-uhm-friday/

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  18. Love your idea...excellent for preschool teachers...

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  19. I posted today and linked to your site. Thanks!

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  20. LOVE THIS and I posted it on the Rookie Moms fan page on facebook.

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  21. Oh what fun!

    BTW, we have "roundabouts" in NJ. We call them "circles" though. The out of towners are really confused about how to drive through them.

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  22. Fun idea!

    PS-- We do have roundabouts in the states, mostly on the East Coast and in New England, but we call them traffic circles!

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  23. Love your ideas! Thanks so much for sharing. I have to babysit my 5and 3 year old nephews this summer and was needing some inspiration and a friend sent me a link to your blog.

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  24. I have just discovered your site and absolutely love it!! Your ideas are fresh fun and different! We did the shower curtain all afternoon what a great project! Thank you!

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  25. I almost threw away a shower curtain liner, then thought, I'll keep it and find a craft we can do. My 7 & 5 year old are going to LOVE THIS! Thank you!

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  26. Great idea........I love it. Thanks for sharing.

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  27. I *love* this!! Thank you for sharing... looks like it's something we'll do soon in our house!

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  28. fantastic ! I would never have thought of this on my own.

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  29. So creative...and so inexpensive!

    Thanks for sharing this idea. :)

    stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

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  30. This is an idea I'll be saving for a rainy day!

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  31. I am so excited to get these instruction to make a play mat. This is easy and affordable to make. I run a home daycare and have a little boy who loves playing with cars. If anybody has more ideas, please post them.

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  32. Hi- Just found out that you linked my idea of Shower Curtain Playmat :) I like the things you added too-like using the Sharpies to mark the road. We play with ours all the time- in fact, I need to make a new one :) Thanks for linking me and giving me credit :)

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  33. Fun idea. This will make a great activiy to do with my nieces when they come visit me at my new apartment home when it's raining outside. Thanks for sharing your idea and the pictures!

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  34. AWESOME! What a great idea! My kids will love this. Oh, and also, we have roundabouts here in the southern US (South Carolina). But they call them traffic circles. :0)

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  35. I am going to do this. It is amazing

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  36. Thanks for inspiring us!
    http://www.playingbythebook.net/2010/02/15/finding-our-way-nonfiction-monday/

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  37. Looks like a way to keep the little ones busy for hours and then busy later on when they are done. I like it.

    Similar ones are also listed at DIY Road Rugs

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  38. This is so NEAT! I think you draw much better than I do though . I love the future shower curtain idea too. Super!

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  39. Congrats! You've been featured.
    http://www.bigklittlea.com/2011/06/my-favorite-things_17.html

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  40. I featured this today as part of my month long Pinterest Project! I'm a new follower, too!

    http://fabulouslydomesticbyambrosia.blogspot.com/2011/09/pinterest-project-day-2.html

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  41. Yes, we do have roundabouts in the states. In our area I think someone got a grant to put them in or something....we went from none, to 9 that I know of. They are surging in popularity, and so are the complaints I hear about how confusing they are! lol

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  42. Happened upon this post through Pinterest. I love this idea! I will be doing this as well as sharing the idea with my other mom friends! I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog.

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  43. My Mom did this for my 4 brothers and me and I still remember it vividly. She used a heavy duty vinyl(?) window shade. I remember it being huge but then I was little! :)

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  44. I think I'll be making this on the back of our Twister mat! Excited to try it.

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  45. Great idea!! I just linked to your page via pinterest @parentfurther. Thanks for sharing!!

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  46. Super creative! Love it!!
    Thank you for sharing :)

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  47. I love this. My little ones have all out grown this kind of play, but I am going to pass this idea on to my friends who still have young kids. By the way, we do have in the U.S. what your refer to as roundabouts. We call them traffic circles here in Michigan. Thank you for the idea.

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  48. This is a brilliant idea. It will keep the kids busy for hours during these cold winter days. I would love for you to share this post on my linky party, my readers will LOVE this idea...
    http://www.fivelittlechefs.com/2013/01/fantastic-thursday-27.html

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  49. I'm wondering.... has anyone tried dry erase markers on this. I was thinking of using sharpies to draw a town and roads. But giving the kids dry erase markers so that it can be wiped down and used another day. I was curious if dry erase would stay easily. Awesome idea!

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  50. This is brilliant. I would have gone crazy over this as a kid - there was a big book I'd get out from the library ALL. THE. TIME. that had roads in it for little cars to drive on. Drove my mother crazy - can't you can any other books out, kid? Haha.

    I'm definitely making this for my nephews, and someday when my son is bigger I'll make him one, too. Such a great idea!

    (And I liked your version better than the original. Just sayin'.)

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  51. Sooo, I went out and picked up a shower curtain liner at the dollar store, and tested out a small corner of it with a Sharpie marker. An hour or so later, I rubbed my fingers against it to see if it stayed on okay, but the marker was coming off onto my fingers - not cool for if kids are crawling around on it! Am I missing something?

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  52. Found you on pinterest and I LOVE this idea!!!! :) I'm sharing a link to it on something I'm posting tomorrow called The Absolute BEST (indoor) Summer-Fun Ideas for Kids! Would love for you to stop by and check it out :)
    it will go live midnight tonight on http://beautythroughimperfection.com/
    <3 Paula

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  53. This is amazing! I will definitely be doing this soon! With the roundabouts and some Michigan Left turns. ;) My kiddos think they are "roller coaster roads" haha! And we do call them roundabouts in Michigan instead of the "traffic circles" on the East Coast.

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Thank you for your comments.