Beach Trip and Beach Play Mat

Last week we visited my parents on Cape Cod. Now I headed up on Friday so my mother and I could drive to Connecticut for a family wedding. Steve brought Hazel up on Sunday when my mother and I were returning. He stayed for the day and Hazel and I stayed until Wednesday. I promised her we would go to the beach. On Monday Hazel and I took my mother to her rehab class (post heart surgery) and my sister and nephew came up. My sister was dropping my nephew off for his summer visit with my parents. They live in North Carolina and usually come north twice a year--for his July visit and Christmas. So with all the excitement of the crowd and everyone's ideas for what we should do each day, the beach did not happen until Wednesday morning. I knew we would only have a couple of hours there since we had an appointment at home at 3:15. And of course it was low tide that morning. Normally we go to the bay side beach near my parents house so Hazel can swim and play without much fear or waves. However at low tide you can walk for miles before being able to swim on the bay side. So we headed to the ocean side for her first time swimming with waves. She loved it!! Since I was holding her hand or her while we were in the water, I did not get any pictures of her in the water, but got some of her playing in the sand.
Now I have had an idea for quite awhile. I was inspired by crafts at the Jo-Ann Fabric's Cape Discovery Summer Craft Challenge. You may remember the jungle diorama I shared at the end of May. They had some beautifully crocheted sea shells and other sea things. They inspired me to make a beach play mat. With this in mind we have been gathering small sea life toys and shells, etc. My idea changed form several times and then I saw a large, stiff piece of sand colored felt at a craft store. I bought it and some blue felts. Then that night I pulled out my needle felting roving and decided to needle felt the water to the felt. My original plan was to glue actual sand onto the sand part of the play mat, but I never did and I think I like it this way (mess free) instead.
Now the felt was not wool, but it was easy to needle felt to it. I tried to use different shades of blue as well as make some texture for waves. Then I put the shells and animals on it and left it for Hazel. She loves it!!

I am happy with how it came out and am glad we have been collecting the various sea animals for it. I am thinking I may make her some peg dolls in bath suits next.


  1. Very nice mat! I love the shades of blue. Hazel looks great on the beach! You can put a doll on the mat dressed like Hazel: it would bring back her memories even more, :)

  2. thanks for linking up to the kids co-op. I am featuring your post today.

  3. Your beach play mat is adorable! How nice to have something portable like that to inspire some ocean play!

  4. What a wonderful sensory beach mat. We will be featuring this tomorrow on Share it Saturday.

  5. very nice sensory w/out water & sand. could travel in the car too. love for my 2.5 yr old pre-k class.

  6. Great idea, found you on Share it Saturday :-)

    Domesticated Breakdown


I love to hear your comments and ideas. Thank you for reading and contributing!