Colorful Play Mats: a Fun Way to Encourage Tummy Time!

Are you wondering how to get your baby to do tummy time?

These play mats are the answer!

A big part of motivating babies to like tummy time is making sure they have something interesting to look at!!

Creative Play Ideas made a fabulous tummy time mat for her son, and I loved her idea of covering it with contact paper to make it safe and durable for babies (the fact that it wipes clean is pretty awesome, too!) Check out what she did here on Instagram!

These tummy time play mats were really fun to make, look beautiful, and have been a big hit with my seven month old twins!

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Ready to make your own tummy time play mat?

You will need;

  • Squares of cardboard (mine are about 14″ square. The size is up to you, as long as it’s smaller than the width of your contact paper)
  • Contact paper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Duct tape

Plus assorted craft supplies like;

    • Embellishments like stickers, foam shapes, and adhesive gems

Pipe cleaners

To make the play mat;

Step 1: Decide on your design

I decided to do six separate boards, one for each color of the rainbow. You could just do one and make it very colorful (or a bold black and white design). I really enjoyed making them but if you’re pressed for time, you really only need one to get your baby excited about tummy time!

Step 2: Cut your board(s) out of cardboard and paint both sides

I actually cut my contact paper into squares first, then used it to guide the size of my boards- but make sure the cardboard is a little smaller (you want an overhang of about an inch of contact paper on each side)

I painted the backs first;

Then, once they dried, I flipped them over to paint the fronts;

Notice the fronts are pastel colors. I did that by mixing some white paint with the color- right on the board!- and spreading it around as I painted. It created a gentler shade and added a little texture as well.

Make sure you let them dry really thoroughly before you move on to

Step 3: Decorate!

This is the fun part! Gather up your craft supplies, scrapbooking kit, recycled material, etc… and go nuts!

I started with some washi tape, then added paper circles, then foam stickers, felt circles and pipe cleaners, and last, filled in the gaps with other stickers. The order is up to you… just keep adding decorations until you have something that will be really fun for your baby to look at!

Something to consider- I added some 3D elements like gemstones and pipe cleaners to make it more of a tactile experience for my little people, but the contact paper kind of tents up around them. If you want it to adhere smoothly you should leave those items out and just use flat decorations like paper.

Here are my decorated boards;

Step 4: Once your tummy time play mats are decorated, it’s time to cover them with contact paper!

This is a crucial step! A lot of these items are not safe for babies to mouth and could become choking hazards if they came off the board, but the contact paper encloses them so babies can look and touch them safely.

First, lay your contact paper flat on the table

Place your board in the center

Cut a square away from each corner so you can fold the edges over without any overhang.

Then carefully fold the contact paper over each side and smooth it down.

Carefully put a piece of duct tape around each side to hold the edges of the contact paper in place.

The last step is to flip it over and smooth the contact paper down so it sticks. I used a paper towel to sort of “polish” it.

Then sit back and admire your work!

Step 5: Set them on the floor and watch your baby get excited to do tummy time!

Show them how to bang on the board, feel the different elements, talk about the colors and the shapes…

Even though you made these to encourage your baby to do tummy time, they have the potential to be used in other ways as your child grows!

You could use these for;

  • Sorting objects by color
  • Finding shapes
  • “I Spy” And counting games (“How many star stickers are there?” “How many circles do you see?”)
  • Bases for imaginative play- the blue one could be water, the red one could be lava, etc! Or they could just be homes for different toys…

The Possibilities are Limitless!

Will you be making a set of these? What will they look like? What will you use them for? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Want more awesome ideas for DIY baby play fun? Check out my Fort Magic Baby Gym or my DIY Sensory Play Box for Babies!

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