I was at an educational store a couple weeks ago and saw this cute alphabet game. I thought, "that would be fun for MJ!"
How much did they want me to pay for it? $36.95!! For that piece of plastic? No thank you! So, I made my own version, a sturdy one that won't rip, for about 11 bucks.
One painter's drop cloth ($7.50)
Set of fabric paints ($5.00 with 40% off coupon from JoAnn making it $3.00)
Stencil set (On clearance from $8.99 to 59 cents! at JoAnn Fabrics.)
Paint brush (had a cheap sponge brush at home. You could use a regular clean sponge too.)
1. Cut drop cloth down to the size you want it. (I cut my drop cloth into thirds. I used only one third for this mat. Now I have extra cloth for other ideas that I have. :) TIP: Once you cut your cloth, the cut edges WILL fray and sometimes they fray terribly. To avoid the problem, either hem the cut edge or tape the edge with simple masking tape. If you look closely at mine, you will see my tape. I have plans to sew mine but I just got too excited to paint it.
2. Position all the stencils on the drop cloth and put a small piece of tape on the stencils to hold them in place.
3. Sponge the paint on.
4. Let the paint dry a little before lifting the stencils off. Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours just to ensure that it's completely dry before playing.
I haven't ironed my mat yet but I love it!!!! It's nice and sturdy and MJ can stomp on it and play on it!
We've already played some fun games:
- MJ stomps from letter to letter to spell her name or other simple words.
- I will shout out a letter and see if she can stomp on the correct letter for letter recognition.
- Cover up the letters with old game board pieces.
- Use a bean bag to toss onto the letters
- Fun practice for spelling lists for older kids.
- Grab a set of alphabet flashcards and match the letters on the mat.
The great part about making things on your own is that you can make it how you want it. You can change the stencil style, or put cute pictures on it, etc. I would love to decorate the edges a bit.