When I was little, my cousin and I were REALLY into Micro Machines. They're these tiny little cars that came with cities and towns to put together. We couldn't afford the big play sets of our dreams, so my older and craftier cousin (think 10) came up with a way to have our cities but on a budget! She got out some poster board, markers, and a ruler and we set out on a journey of discovery and artistic license. We worked on that poster board for several hours, quickly ran out of space for our ideas, and moved on to a second poster board. I don't know what was more fun....designing the town or playing with it when we were done! My cousin was kind that summer. She let me take the "town" home with me, promising that she could make a better one for herself, although she never did.
Years later, I still have my Micro Machines. My daughter discovered them in a box in the closet. Now they are collector's items, no longer sold on the open market but in Ebay auctions and the like. I quickly drew a "town" onto paper for my daughter, and while she loved playing with it, it was easily destroyed in the mayhem. I then decided she needed her own town to play with, but I wanted to make it portable and more durable than the poster board town of my childhood.
Enter: Muslin, Sharpie markers, and Micro Machines
I made a list of all of the "places" I wanted the town to have: bank, hospital, police, fire, restaurants, houses, stores, schools, etc. I simply started with one building, measuring with a car for scale as I drew along. I included roads and parking spaces. My daughter would play on one corner of the completed town while I continued in another section.
GAS STATION, MECHANIC:
POLICE AND FIRE:
MALL AND THEATRE WITH LOTS OF PARKING:
When I ran out of room for my continuous list of ideas, I sewed on another piece of muslin, and then another. Now there is room for GROWTH!
It took several days, with a toddler's help, to finally finish. This mat is going with us for our summer plane trip. It will be a perfect distraction when we are sitting in the terminal between flights!
***I am NOT LIABLE for any plans featured here. Please take every precaution and use your own discretion to make sure these toys are safe for children to play with them.