I recently made this Ocean Life mat to use with our collection of ocean figures. I use the mat to introduce information about animals, plants, and ocean life in general for my preschool age daughter.
The mat was made on a canvas material I found at Walmart for about $3 a yard. I then painted plants, rocks, coral, grass and sand with fabric paint. The first time I introduced this activity, I had my daughter choose one figure at a time, out of the basket. I read a little bit of information about the piece and she placed it on the mat in an appropriate spot. (Starfish live around rocks, angelfish sometimes swim in schools...) Even though it is for my preschool age daughter (due to small pieces), my toddler loved it too. Since I have extra fabric, I am planning to make a toddler version next.