These free printable imaginative play mats are perfect for small world dramatic play, or use them as a play dough mat or printed drawing prompt. There are so many fun ways to use these fun printable play mats.
I have long lusted after some of the gorgeous felted play mats like the ones you see on Etsy or in Steiner/Waldorf shops. But felting is not my thing so I’ve just admired from afar, until I got the crazy idea to make a printable one!
I started with two very simple scenes – sea, sand and forest, and a garden with a pond and path. These are very simple play mats, with the idea to spark imagination rather than really direct play.
Of course my printed play mats are not nearly as beautiful as the felted version, and since I only have a regular A4 desk jet printer they are limited in size, but that didn’t seem to bother Noah when I set them up for him to explore.
I taped the sea sand and forest play mat to a larger sheet of paper and taped that to the table, just to give it some more stability. Then I collected a few bits and pieces such as wooden trees, blocks, stones, and shells and hauled the huge tub of animals out next to the table. The rest was up to Noah
At first he hunted for all the Australian animals (don’t worry, kangaroos are not really fluro orange!) and then looked for animals that could live in the water.
After a little while he wanted to try out the second play mat, this time with dinosaurs! And later he made the busiest zoo I have ever seen, with animals crammed in everywhere!
Make Your Own Printable Imaginative Play Mats
We used our printable imaginative play mats for small world play with lots of natural materials, animal figurines and other loose parts. They would also make great play dough mats or even printed drawing prompts.
There are two printable imaginative play mat designs – the Sea Sand and Forest Mat and the Garden Path mat, and both work great for so many different small world set ups and imaginative play ideas.
To make your own printable imaginative play mats, click on the links below to download each design and print them on every day printer paper.
If your printer has the ‘borderless printing’ option, you can use that to print these play mats so that they fill the whole piece of A4 paper. You might also like to laminate or cover the play mats on self adhesive contact paper to make them last longer.
You can download the sea, sand and forest play mat here.
You can download the garden path play mat here.
These printables are A4 sized pdf files, you will need a pdf reader such as adobe acrobat to open it. If you are printing on US ‘letter sized’ paper be sure to select ‘fit’ or ‘shrink to fit’ from your printer options.
Please remember that the printables at picklebums.com are for personal use only, you may not sell, share, or link directly to these files.
More Imaginative Play Mats!
We’ve had so much fun with these simple printable play mats that we made two more!
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Love the printables. A snow and ice one would also be great. Thanks
Ask and you shall receive…
Frozen Land and Space Land printable play mats can be found here! https://picklebums.com/2014/06/24/printable-imaginative-play-mats-2/
These mats are great, thank you for sharing! Kids’ creativity should be encouraged and it doesn’t have to take a lot of work to nourish their imaginations.
I can’t wait to try this with my kiddos today!! thank you
Wow!! This is SO cool! TFS!! I am gonna use these to make little fun worlds to ship in Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes!! Rock on, Momma!!
Thanks for sharing these they are amazing!
Thank you for these lovely playmats. I have been wanting to make a felt version for my sons, and I think I will use these as templates. It was super generous of you to make them available for free.
Thank you so much for sharing these PDF’s. I’m sure my kids will have lots of imaginative fun with them!
I love the ideas people had. I have a couple: using the same style as these 2, a pig pen (just shades of brown), a pond (shades of blue), a meadow (shades of brown with flowers on it).
thank you, these are great , wanting to put together some busy books/ cheap play ideas for my grandson, some for now some for Xmas stocking xx
Hi Kate, I just love your great ideas and especially the big box town and your great introduction is so frank like “messy kitchen” and “obsession with printable” , I am mom of 4 year old son and working, I too have messy kitchen and obsession with printable. Thanks for sharing your great ideas with us.
Michelle Weersing says
Thank you for sharing these! I like to use laminated mats each week for (covid safe) individual sensory time that tie into our class theme. We use play dough, slime, floam or kinetic sand, with toob toys or mini figures and toys for fine motor play.
I love these! Would be great to have a farm one. Many thanks for sharing!