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Road Systems On The Go: A Tutorial by Colleen Lindstrom

I am constantly looking for on-the-go toys; the kinds of things you can grab on the way out for a family dinner at a restaurant, or quiet toys that travel well to church and fit nicely in the pew. I’ve even wished, when we’ve packed for vacation, for interesting toys that would pack well, and provide creativity, and keep our kid’s attention for, say, a full vacation.  I got this idea after watching an episode of Curious George, where the kids used construction paper to cut out a road system, and then they built many different intersections with the paper.  I built on the idea, and it grew into this. I made three of these at the same time (one for my son, one for his little friend who sits with us in church, and one as a birthday gift for another 4-year-old we know), and it took me a few intervals over the course of 3 hours.  It is definitely a project you can do a little bit at a time at a low cost. With no further ado:

Here are your supplies.  You will need a large piece of felt (I used one that measured 36 in. X 18 in.) and several pieces of smaller felt squares (these cost me 29 cents a piece at my local craft store, I bought mostly black because you will need it for the actual road, and other colors in case I wanted to make buildings or other “accessories”). You will definitely want white and yellow puffy paint, Velcro (a medium size roll will do), and a few play cars. You will also use a pair of scissors (I like Fiskars) and a hot glue gun.

Use the toy cars you will be including with your “kit” to determine the width of the road.

I cut different road sections very free hand.  I like the disorganized kind of cartoony element it lends. However you may be as precise as you’d like.

Use the yellow puffy paint to paint the dashed line down the center of the road. I realize that the car will take up both sides of the road and technically that’s not the best way to drive in real life, but hey, it’s pretend!

While the paint is drying, get your large piece of felt and lay it out long.

You will fold it in one third,

and then another.

Now, turn the folded felt over and use two strips of felt to create handles. Hot glue each end of one strip to the folded side and each end of the other strip to the end of the long felt.

To create a pocket for the cars, lay them side by side on top of the felt that you will use for the pocket, making sure you leave enough room on each side to create separate pocket for each car. Cut the felt accordingly.

Flip the long felt over again. And use hot glue to create the pocket at the end of the long felt. The opening of the pocket should face the handle that you just glued down on the end side. When you glue the pocket down, glue it one “section” at a time.  You will not want to glue it down flat, as you will want room enough to fit each car in its own pocket.

I even used the extra felt colors to make stop signs and stoplights.  (I ran out of steam a little and didn’t make buildings, but I likely will later.)

You’re almost done. This part is kind of tedious, though.  You can discard the soft strip of Velcro, and just use the sticky “hook” part. Cut it into tons of little sections, and then peel and stick them to the backs of the roads, signs, and buildings that you have made.

The finished product, open. They can rearrange the roads and signs as they wish.

The finished product, closed.  As you can see, I also cut out the child’s name in felt and hot glued it on just to make it a little more personal.  There you go, happy crafting!

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