Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

There is no denying it. My two little ones are drawn to anything and everything with wheels. A large majority of their play activity centers around our family’s extensive fleet of vehicles. With two little boys in the house, I’ve made sure we have enough planes, trains and automobiles to keep everyone amused and content. Baby brother Muffy may be a mere 18 months old, but he’s a full participant in everything that goes on around here. He certainly ensures he’s a part of the action! One of Chi-Chi’s favorite toys has been a cloth play mat I picked up at the local thrift shop. He’s enjoyed hours setting up scenarios and driving his cars along the roads and paths of Teddy Town. I have to admit, it can often be a challenge to share with an active and enthusiastic 18 month old. Chi-Chi’s elaborate and carefully constructed buildings and roadways tumble in an instant with one quick pounce or pull by Muffy.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a great little piece of fabric that depicts a small town’s roadways and buildings. I found this at my local Walmart of all places. I had not been there in years, literally. I can’t even tell you what I was doing there on that cold and windy afternoon. Perhaps cabin fever and the absence of my very busy tax accountant husband led me there. I actually told Chi-Chi we were going to the “Wool Mart” as I headed for the craft section.

I picked up a fuzzy blue flannel at the little fabric shop up the road. The combination of these two fabrics created a fun and cuddly play mat for Muffy to call his own. His new mat plays double duty as a blankie to cuddle with if the mood should arise. Stuffed into a knapsack with a handful of cars, it also serves as a wonderful take-anywhere activity. Of course, I love the fact a quick spin through the washer makes it good as new . This is a must when it comes to Muffy who is often covered from head to toe in blueberry juice!

As would be expected, Chi-Chi’s big brown eyes turned green with envy when he spotted baby brother’s new mat. The second Muffy headed for his afternoon nap, Chi-Chi was quick to seize the opportunity for undisturbed access to the mat. As a second-child myself, I’ve always been sensitive to the hand-me-down phenomenon. I'm happy to offer Muffy his personal made-by-mommy activity mat. It was a fast, inexpensive, easy project that resulted in a great imaginative, open-ended toy for my little one. You can't be that!

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