If your kids are anything like mine, there is probably at least one figurine based toy line that they have in abundance. In our house, Playmobil clearly holds reign over the others, but I know it’s far from the only such line out there. Our boys usually play with their collection on top of a series of IKEA TROFAST units pushed together. One day I discovered that buying the wide felt by the yard was a cheap way to create a cover on this large table that gave a feel of scenery but also kept a million little Playmobil accessories from getting lost in the small gaps between the tables.
We started off with a large green and a large blue mat, but at the store, I was inspired to buy a tan piece as big as the blue one. I cut out a big section in the middle and fabric glued the rest to one side of the blue giving a sense of an ocean with shoreline. With the remaining middle section, I cut out an assortment of smaller pieces that could be dropped down as various islands. We have a lot of pirate sets, so I figured this could create buried treasure islands for them to explore.
The other day, A (our eight-year-old) and I finally got out some more felt to make some other scenery pieces we had thought up since our initial creations: rock formations, greenery for forest, and smaller water features like lakes, ponds, or rivers.
The best thing about felt is it’s cheap and really easy to work with. Sewing is not required, and the pieces roll, stack, or fold easily for storage. All you need is a sturdy pair of scissors and a Sharpie to draw out your pieces, and then you cut them out. Check out the gallery below for a look at the pieces we made.
So how do they look once they’ve all been cut out and arranged? I have two examples for you. The first is a forest based scene with wildlife. You can see how we overlapped the river pieces and had them connect to a lake. The swinging bridge to the tree house now has a proper water source beneath it.
We also set out some of our pieces from the How to Train Your Dragon collection. Berk gets a proper setting with a combination of foresty and rocky areas by the sea. Berk’s dock even hangs over the water. You can see the shore edging we did on the blue play mat in this second picture too.
Our collection doesn’t have as many modern pieces it in, but if your figurine sets are more modern city based, you could easily make a gray base, felt street pieces, and maybe some smaller water or green pieces for parks etc. Add a little shoreline if you want a beach city. The best part is it’s easy to incorporate in new pieces and you really are only limited by you and your kids’ imaginations. Right now I’m debating two more projects: dirt roads for our castle based sets and a proper moat for our big castle.
Is this a project you might take on? What kind of figure based toys does your kid have and what will you make?