DIY Outdoor Reading & Craft Mat for Kids

by Handmade Charlotte

Now that the warm weather is here to stay, our family spends most of our free time lounging by the lake and enjoying the summer breeze. Noah, my youngest son, is two years old now and enjoys scribbling on pads of paper ( or anything else, unfortunately) and flipping through books. I like to have lots of activities lined up for him to keep him busy so he doesn’t get frustrated – if you have a two year old, you know what I’m talking about.

Since towels always seem to get bunched up and never give up on flying away with each gust of wind, I made this mat with grommets so it can be easily secured to the ground using stakes. Follow these easy steps to make the ultimate summer activity mat for your little one!


  • 2 yards solid fabric
  • 2 yards contrasting fabric
  • 2 yards ultra-firm stabilizer
  • 1/2 yard fabric for envelope
  • 1/4 yard fabric for marker / crayon pockets
  • 2 spools Coats and Clark Dual Duty XP Thread
  • 4 grommets and setting tool
Step One


Cut front and back fabric into two pieces measuring 22 in. x 48 in. each. Next, cut stabilizer into a 21 in. x 47 in. piece. You will also need to cut four tabs (for the grommets), measuring 8 in. x 3 in. each.
Step Two
Fuse interfacing to front fabric, pressing within 1/2 in. of cut edges on wrong side of fabric. Next, attach the envelope to front fabric. Add a buttonhole to the flap and a button to the envelope.
Step Three
Once you’ve created your envelope, top-stitch the envelope and crayon pockets to the inside fabric. Make sure to keep the top of the pockets open. Fold the tab pieces in half, stitch, and then turn right-side out. Fuse to wrong side of fabric and stitch tabs to secure. Install grommets according to package instructions.
Step Four
Press 1/2″ to wrong side of front fabric on all four sides. Repeat with back fabric. Pin front to back, wrong sides together. Top stitch entire mat down, trimming all excess threads.
Step Five
All done! Add a few markers and an envelope full of notepads and books to your new play mat and watch your child’s imagination run wild.
Handmade Charlotte is a style and design blog by Rachel Faucett. Rachel writes for Babble, Momtastic, Dotcoms For Moms and Evos. We are delighted that she has teamed up with Coats and Clark to bring you projects, design and syle information.