Day 26 Make a folding gymnastics mat for dolls

McKenna Shoots for the Stars comes out next week on DVD and I just know so many of you will LOVE it! We have watched it at least 5 times already and I expect we will be watching it even more in the weeks to come.

Mats are by far the most used piece of gymnastics equipment in a gym and they come in all shapes and sizes – from landing mats to super soft resi mats to fold up panel mats, a gym needs them all. A folding mat comes as part of McKenna’s gymnastics equipment, however, it is so easy to make your own folding mat for your dolls from fun foam and duck tape! And as part of today’s printable, I have included a conditioning workout for the dolls and some competition score cards so you can “judge” your dolls on their routines.

How to make a folding gymnastics mat for American Girl dolls

Toulane (played by the fabulous Ivy) and McKenna are ready for their competition! Toulane is wearing the sleeveless practice leotard that comes with McKenna’s set which the girls from Shooting Star Gymnastics actually wear for their competition in the movie. They wear a long sleeve leotard in their demonstration that is yellow and white. I have a feeling AG is going to release the long sleeve leotard for McKenna soon. In the mean time McKenna is wearing a fancy pink and white long sleeve leotard with embroidered designs from Tracy’s Designs. The gray mat in the photo is the one that comes with McKenna’s gymnastics equipment set. The blue one is the one I will show you how to make today. (View this post to learn how to make the vault system and springboard.)

How to make a folding mat for dolls

In this photo the blue mat is folded up so McKenna and Toulane can stretch their splits a little more. The folded mats – also called panel mats – can be used for jumping onto, jumping over, for lots and lots of gymnastics drills and for stretching, too.  The gymnastics bag, balance beam and green wedge mat in the background are all part of McKenna’s set.

American Girl McKenna

You can see how the mat looks folded accordian style. McKenna is using the mat for a round off drill so she can work on getting off her hands faster and improving her tumbling. Sometimes you have to go back to basics in order to master harder skills. (After you watch the movie, come back and tell me who said that!)

How to Make a Folding Gymnastics Mat for Dolls

You will need:

  • Fun foam – I used 4 sheets that were 5-1/2″ by 8-1/2″ each. Next time I will double up the individual sections of the mat and use 8 sheets instead of 4.
  • A roll of duck tape in the color of your choice

How to make a folding gymnastics mat for dolls

Making the folding mat for  your dolls is EASY. However, the most important thing to remember is that in order for the mat to be able to fold, you have to leave about 1/4″ in between the fun foam pieces when you start to duck tape.

  • Step 1 – lay the first two pieces of fun foam side by side and leave a 1/4″ gap between the two. Cover the seam with duck tape.
  • Step 2 – repeat the process of taping the seams for all the segments of your mat. I made mine 4 segments long, but you could do 6 segments and it would still be correct by gymnastic equipment standards.
  • Step 3 – once all the seams are taped you can cover the remaining exposed fun foam with duck tape to give it a finished look.

printable gymnastics score cards for dolls Now for a fun printable to go with today’s activity! Print out McKenna’s conditioning workout so that she can get strong after her cast comes off. And print out the score cards – just like the ones that are used at many competitions. The girls usually get to take their score cards home – my daughter has stacks of them from all her years of competing. Just fill in your doll’s name, her team name, and her scores for each event. When she has done all four routines, add them all up for her all around score.

Download the printable activity sheets for the gymnastics competition activities as a PDF file.