This fun Travel Bead Mat shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. This is a great preschool activity for road trips! #GetPackin #CollectiveBias
Our last road trip began like any other.
With triplet three year olds, long trips are not our friend. Most of the time, we opt for road trips. We like to kind that we can visit a place and return before the day’s end. A few weeks ago, we decided to take the kids to a popular amusement park in the mountains. This park has a train and real rootin’-tootin’ cowboys, and my husband and I had been building the trip up for days.
I’m a handy planner, and I had accomplished all the prep work that goes into any successful road trip with kids.
I called the park to confirm the hours of operation.
I packed road trip snacks.
I packed road trip activities and games, including this DIY Travel Roll Up Bead Mat.
I packed a first aid kit, a new package of wipes, tissues, and hand sanitizer.
I fed the boys a good breakfast of eggs and yogurt, and then I handed them a BELVITA Peanut Butter Sandwich Breakfast Biscuit to have for the ride.
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When we stopped for lunch, only one of the triplets would eat. I chalked it up to the pickiness of a three year old (three year olds are wishy-washy!) and we continued on our trip.
We reached the park, and the boys were so excited to see the train! They wanted to leave me at the ticket counter when the conductor shouted, “All Aboard!” The train ride through the mountain was lovely, and after about twenty minutes we disembarked and decided to walk into a gift shop.
I noticed Triplet A looked pale. And that’s when he threw up. All over the gift shop floor.
The amusement park staff were gracious and did not make a big deal about it, but I felt terrible. Please tell me that I’m not the only parent who has had a kid throw up at an amusement park?
My son didn’t want to leave; my husband and I took turns sitting with him and taking the others to ride things. The day turned out as good as it could, but I learned one thing that day.
It could have been worse.
What if I had not done the prep work? What if I had been hours from home with no wipes, first aid supplies, and medicine? What if I had not packed plenty of road trip snacks and games to keep the other kids occupied while we dealt with their heaving brother? Yeah, dragging four kids, one of whom is throwing up, across a crowded, unfamiliar store does not sound appealing. This was one of those times where being a good planner definitely turned out for the best! So, lesson for the day– if you’re heading on a road trip with kids, #GetPackin !
Now, who’s ready to learn how to make this fun DIY Travel Roll Up Bead Mat?
Let’s work off a few ounces of stress over prepping for road trips with a little sewing and oven bake clay bead making!
Important note: This project is for adults to create ONLY. Once the mat is finished, it is for children 3 and up only! The beads are made from clay, not plastic or wood, and while they are made thick to withstand heavy use, they are liable to be broken by little strong hands!
- Various colors of Sculpey Oven Bake Clay
- Clay roller
- Clay work mat
- Clay cutters in various shapes
- Small circle clay cutter
- (2) 12×12 inch squares of fabric
- Iron-on interfacing
- Straight pins
- Parachute cord
- Large button
- Sewing machine
Begin by making the beads.
Use the clay roller to roll out the various clay colors to 1/4″ thickness on the clay work mat.
Make various shapes with the large clay cutters.
Use the small circle to make a hole in the center of the larger shapes.
Continue until you have the amount of clay shapes that you want.
Bake the clay according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Set the shapes aside.
Apply the iron on interfacing to the WRONG (plain) side of both pieces of fabric.
Pick up the fabric piece that will be the inside with the beads. Lay it flat on a hard surface.
Lay four pieces of parachute cord across the fabric, leaving a bit of overhang on each end. If the ends are fraying too quickly as you work, melt them by heating them with a lighter for a two seconds.
String the shape beads through the cord as desired. Pin them in place on the ends.
Lay the other fabric piece on a hard, flat work surface. Pin a 4″ piece of folded parachute cord on the center of an edge.
Sew a button in the very center of the square. It should be on the same horizontal line as the parachute cord loop.
Place the two fabric pieces together, RIGHT (patterned) sides together.
Sew around the edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a minimum of a 2″ opening for turning right side out. Remove the pins as you go. Do not sew over the pins. I’ve ruined lots of needles that way!
Turn the square right side out.
Sew around close to the edge, using the stitch to closeup the opening. If you are a skilled sewer and are used to ironing the edges, do NOT iron the edges with the parachute cord. Remember, heat makes parachute cord melt!
My boys like taking turns playing with this. I ask them to count all the circles or shapes of a specific color, and it keeps them occupied for longer than you would think!
Of course, kids will be kids, and mine are super sneaky. They found another use for the mat, un-thought of by me.
Looking to prep for a road trip? Grab snacks like RITZ Bacon & Cheese Cracker Sandwiches, HONEY MAID Dippers Honey Graham Snacks, OREO Mini Cookies, Mini CHIPS AHOY! Cookies, or Single Serve OREO Cookies at your local Walmart in a special seasonal display.
You’ll even find coupon booklets on many of the products.