How to make a baby play mat

When shopping for baby supplies, new moms usually think diapers, wipes, booties and such. But as the baby gets older, it’s no longer safe to lay him on the bed or sofa to play, lest he roll off and get hurt. All babies need a play mat – something Mom can throw down on the floor where baby can play safely yet still be comfy. Play mats are a great shower gift, too. Your own creation will be so much nicer than what you can find in the store. Most store play mats are simply that – a mat. But your creation can be a mat and so much more.

Choose a soft, durable cloth for making the mat. Pink or blue for a girl or boy, or choose a neutral color like yellow. You can sew a nice, warm fleece on one side and cool cotton on the other side, to make it reversible between winter and summer. Or, just use two receiving blankets to sew together to make the mat.

After cutting the material to the size of a receiving blanket, or larger if you wish, decide what you will use to stuff the mat. You can cut up a blanket or use cotton or a piece of foam. Pin the stuffing to the wrong side of one of the pieces of cloth. Or, if it’s cotton, sew the mat first, then stuff.

Sew around the material pieces and stuffing by starting at the bottom, a few inches from the corner. Sew across a few inches of the bottom, then up the side, across the top, down the other side and a few inches onto the bottom piece. This leaves an opening to turn the mat right side out. Turn the mat right side out and stuff now if you’re using cotton or another loose filling. Stitch closed. Tack twice on the top section of the mat, three times through the middle section, and twice through the bottom section of the mat.

Now you have a chance to make the mat extra special. Attach little toys, rattles or pacifiers on the four corners of the mat with ribbon or elastic. Tack one end of the ribbon to the mat, then attach a rattle to the other end of the ribbon. Tie once, place a dot of fabric glue on the tie, then tie once again to form a square knot. The fabric glue will ensure that the ribbon doesn’t come untied. You can also line the toys up at one end of the mat and leave the other three sides plain.

You can also make an attached blanket for covering baby should he fall asleep while playing. Sew the toys on the top end of the mat, then sew a receiving blanket on the bottom end. The blanket can be rolled down while baby plays or tucked under the other side. You can also attach ribbons that can hold the rolled blanket, then simply untie them when you need the blanket.

For a cuter look, attach small pockets to hold the toys, which are still attached to ribbon or elastic. Tuck a toy in each pocket, with the ribbon hanging out to intrigue baby. Be sure the pockets are large enough to allow baby to reach the toy.

For a cuter look

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