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Thursday, 5 March 2015

Name Road Mats for Car Enthusiasts

Over the last couple of weeks, Wugs and Dooey have been enjoying these name road mats. Wugs has been doing some name recognition activities at his preschool, so I thought that combining his interest in cars with the letters of his name would be a fun way for him to remember it.

(My apologies for not displaying the mats in full on the blog - I like to keep the names of my sons private.  Hopefully the idea can still be shared through the photos I have taken).

What we used:
Two sheets of A2 white paper
Coloured black pencil
White sticker labels (white markers on the road)
Light and dark green foam paper (fields)
Black foam paper (concrete land)
White foam paper (railway tracks)
Black marker pen (railway tracks)
Blue perspex (lakes)
Contact paper
Wooden painted blocks (shops and trees)
Cars and trains

The mats were a bit of an experiment and whilst working on them, I wasn't sure if I wanted the landmarks to be permanent features or not and whether I would draw them on or cut out the shapes from different materials.  I'm not great at drawing, so I decided to make some of the features permanent (green areas, concrete areas, lakes and train tracks) and some of them changeable (the wooden block buildings, trees and sign posts).

I drew the letters on the paper and coloured them in black/grey and added the white labels as the road markings.  Then I covered each sheet with contact paper.  I built up the landmarks around the letters using a very strong glue to stick the features to the contact paper. (As each name has different letters, the boys had their own unique road mats with similar features - each had a lake, green space, a concreted area and a railway track running through it).

The making of the mats was not that easy for a few reasons (and hopefully by mentioning this, I can make the process smoother for anyone else who wishes to make one):  Firstly, I decided to colour the letters by using coloured pencil.  The contrast of black and white can be a bit garish, so I was going for a softer look.  Clearly it has been years since I have coloured using a coloured pencil as I hadn't anticipated that the black/grey from the pencil would smudge over the white parts of the mat and that the colouring process would take so long! In the end, I cut out the letters and stuck them to a new sheet of paper.  I would recommend drawing the letters on to paper that is already coloured grey/black.  Secondly, I had to cover the paper with contact paper (double-sided sticky tape) if the mats were going to survive at the hands of my toddler.  This led to a bit of a fight with the contact paper... but we got there in the end!  In my experience, there isn't a perfect way to cover paper using contact paper.  Hopefully it isn't necessary to use it (unless you have a child who eats everything of course...which I do!)

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