Making a Sensory Play Mat and Peg Characters

Disclaimer: I received a gift card from Jo Ann Fabric and Craft stores to help with purchasing the products to create this craft.

I love Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. This summer they a fantastic program that has 72 wonderful Summer Crafts. These ideas are spectacular on their own but I like to put my own twist on things. So when I saw the fabulous Treasure Map project I knew it would be a fun project to work on with my kiddos.

First we had to decide what kind of map we were going to make. Mikey decided he wanted a Treasure Map. He wanted there to be a castle. He has been really into Knights, Dragons, castles, and swords. So I went to making our castle, It was easy. I just did a quick sketch of what I wanted the castle to look like. You don’t need it to be perfect. It’s for kids they will love it no matter what it looks like. I made a drawbridge I cut a half oval in my castle and then glued some of the same paper to the back of the oval so that the scrapbook paper would be thicker and the print would be on both sides.

After we had decided what we wanted to be on our map. I began to cut shapes to represent different landmarks. Every night Mike tells the kids stories. The kids tell him what they would like the story to be about. Kaia’s stories are almost always about Unicorns, Princesses and Faeries. While Mikey likes his stories to be about Knight ,Dragons, and other creatures. These stories have become a whole world created by Mike with suggestions from the kids. Meaning the Unicorns almost always are in a forest called the Tangle Wood Forest, The Mermaids are generally in the Singing Spring etc. So that is what we decided our Map would be. It would be a map about this world that they hear about every night.

The base of this map is made from a cork roll which gives it a fun attribute. You can stick things in it. In our case I made little Flags out of craft foam and pipe cleaners. I cut the pipe cleaners to the size I wanted and hot glued them to small pieces of cut up craft foam. I also decided that I wanted this map to have many different textures. I wanted it to not only be visually exciting but and exciting sensory experience for them as well.

Here is our castle which we call Bright Stone Tower. I glued jewels to the inside of the drawbridge so when the kids open it they can see and feel the beautiful treasure inside. There is also Dead Man’s Ditch. It is made from scrapbook paper that has a weaved texture. It feels kind of like a basket. I also used foam stickers to liven it up a bit.

The Creeping Marsh and The Worlds End. These places often make appearances in their nightly stories. There are mermaids who live at The Worlds End which was made with blue craft felt and fiber fill (usually used to make pillows). Big Bug like creatures live in the Creepy Marsh which was made from fabric (found in the scrap fabric area) and craft foam bugs.

The Sky Cap Mountains were made from textured craft felt and the white snow is made from fabric paint. The Wandering Island was made from scrap book paper, in both a water print and a textured weave. The palm trees are craft foam stickers.

Tangle Wood Forest is made from scrap book paper. I did use a tree punch that I already had. I am sure you could find something similar at Jo-Ann’s.
We decided that we love our map but that it needed a little something more. So we created figures to go along with it. I used wood clothespins to make our figures.

The first figure I made was this Knight. I used gray acrylic paint to paint the knight. I used puffy paint for the shield and a sharpie for the sword. The cape was made with felt. I used a glue gun to attach it.

The Dragon was made next. I used two different shades of green acrylic paint to paint the dragon. I used a sharpie for the face and tummy scales. The wings, tail and back spikes are made from green craft felt.

The Princess was made with pink acrylic paint. The dress, crown and cape are made from craft felt. I added a few gems with my hot glue gun. Because Princesses need some sparklies.

The Unicorn may be my favorite. I am not sure its between the Unicorn and the Dragon. I used a silver pipe cleaner for the horn cut to size. The eyes are made form small rhinestones. The hair is actually made form party blowers. I just took off the pretty foil part and turned it into unicorn hair. I added a small flower to the front because it needed it. The muzzle or nose is made from a small white pompom. The ears are made from craft felt.

The Mermaid was made using acrylic paint again. This time though once the paint dried I used teal glitter glue over it to make the mermaid tail sparkle. The bottom fin is made from craft felt.

This play set is super easy to put together and take apart. I had an extra baggy that we use to keep all the figures and flags in. Then we just take the baggy and roll it up in the map its very compact.

You can view the full online Cape Discovery Catalog & Jo-Ann’s Weekly digital advertisement to see everything that is going on! You can find a single coupon for 40% off one item there as well! There are even more craft ideas & you can find out what is on sale when you visit in store & online!

What kind of Summer crafting activities do you enjoy doing with your kids or even for yourself? Which one of the Jo-Ann Summer craft activities are you most excited about?

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