Keeping My Feet Safe: Keeping LEGO™ Play Safe (For Everyone)

It's the post for 2020 and it's all about building resilience and problem solving by using LEGO™.

School holidays are about halfway done with here in Australia so keeping children occupied is important. We are lucky that the bushfires are being well managed where we live, but our thoughts go to those facing the devasting fires that are sweeping through parts of Australia.

My kids love LEGO™ and so do I...except when the kids spread the pieces across the carpet and then I take a step and: Ouch! Yep, if you're a parent with LEGO™ in the house I reckon you've probably stepped on at least one piece and swore that you would do something about it.

What I Used

As a kid myself we had a mat we had to play LEGO™ on and so I decided I would recreate my own version using whatever I had in the house. Here's what I used to create the playmat:

  • one piece of good quality (uncoated) curtain fabric
  • bag/strap tape (also used for binding the backs of latchworks)
  • one very long piece of cord 
The fabric was new and I had planned to make a bag out of the material...about ten years I figured it was time to put it to some use. The tape was leftover from binding my latchworks. The piece of cord was repurposed, having been a line across the classroom to hang work on in a previous life.

How I Did It

I started with the fabric and folded it into quarters. Using a safety pin, string, and a permanent marker I drew the quart circle onto the fabric. I then cut through the fabric along the line and when unfolded I had a circle. 

I should have taken photos but already had an avid audience of two kids. 

I had intended to thread the cord through a pocket around the edge but it would have been too difficult to pull shut. So instead I hemmed the edge on my sewing machine using a straight stitch, then cut little tabs from the tape and sewed them in intervals (starting with 12, 3, 6, 9 positions *think clock* and then adding in one between each of them and then repeat). 

I then threaded the cord through the tabs, tied it, and that's it: ALL DONE!

The Impact

Having watched me make the mat the kids were super keen to use the LEGO™ again. They spent the next hour playing on the mat with their LEGO™ and creating a dragon, a lighthouse complete with an ocean and a boat), and a half-built house.

I really love listening to my kids as they create. It teaches them to use their imagination, to problem solve what pieces they need in terms of size and colour, and what do if something doesn't work.

The best thing was that my daughter pulled the string herself and I helped her wrap it around to secure the top before we placed it in the tub - not one piece on the carpet! And they're keen to play with it again tomorrow.

What I Learned

The main thing I learned was that my kids now want sewing machine lessons....just kidding...sort of...they do want lessons but really I found we need a bit more LEGO™ for them to build bigger things now they're five - so that will go on our shopping list. 

I'm also looking at getting The LEGO Ideas Book. DK Publishing always have such high quality so I think that would be a good book for later on, but for now their imaginations are fine.

Another thing is that boundaries are important with kids...and that includes the play space. I'll be back again as we tackle a second one for our Meccano™ sets - and I'll try to remember to take pictures!!!

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