My friend Amber has a blog to be envious of. It's called MamaMoontime, and it's wonderful! It's full of fantastic ideas for play, parenting and craft and it's always inspiring.
Amber has just released her first ever e-book. How exciting! This e-book is a tutorial on how to make felted play-mats. I've made a few of these over the years, thanks to Amber's guidance, and they are still played with even now. Here is a picture of the pirate treasure map that I made for my son. He loves to roll it up, tie it with ribbon and stick it in his belt. Every so often he pull is out, refers to it's instructions and continues on with his adventure.
It didn't take me long to make at all, and comes complete with waves in the ocean, a compass showing all the directions, and of course, X marks the spot. I added a little pocket under the X which he uses to store his gold bounty.
Felted mats are simple and durable. They offer so many open ended play opportunities and require no more than a few hours of your time. They make perfect gifts too!
If you're interested in making one for yourself, take a look at Amber's e-book. You can find the details here on her blog. Tell her I sent you!