A driving instructor from Brighton has created a “car play mat” for children to learn about the streets and sights in his home town by the sea.
Marcos Millet, 24, owner of Brighton driving school U-Drive, said that he wanted the mat to “encourage children to learn about the city”.
Mr Millet said: “I know the area inside out so the sites are situated where they’d be in real life in relation to each other.
“Our kids are taught local geography in ‘key stage 1’ so they have background awareness of them. I hope my game helps them build an internal map of the area.”
Mr Millet said that he was inspired after reminiscing with a friend about his childhood exploring his hometown and playing with generic mats.
He said: “I thought a Brighton version would be cool and unique, just like the people who live here. We have so many historic attractions.”
“Creating useful things and seeing ideas come to life is rewarding. I love this city and want people to share my passion.”
For research, Mr Millet asked children, parents and online parenting groups for their ideas about the best sights in Brighton.
He then approached local designer, Lisa Holdcroft, to help design the product, saying that her quintessentially Brighton designs were a perfect fit.
Using child-friendly and eco-friendly materials, a family-run business soon had the mat ready – complete with road signs to help children to learn about road safety.
Lisa Holdcroft said: “I know Brighton really well and have drawn it from lots of angles. I also love creating maps.
“We are so lucky to have so many brilliant icons in town. I hope children and families have fun finding their way around them.”
Mr Millet said that a number of schools had endorsed the mat, praising its design and educational function, and were receiving free copies.
Kirsty Cargill, early years leader at Downs Infant School, said: “We believe in a play-based curriculum and celebrate our wonderful city wherever we can, so this sounds perfect.”
Mr Millet added: “The reviews are great. I’m incredibly proud that it’s not only being enjoyed by children but is helping them learn.
“Knowing they’re reinforcing these memories when they’re physically at the Amex or Pavilion, for example, is just brilliant.”
The play mats cost £29.99 and are available to buy, with free delivery in Brighton and Hove, from https://store.udriveonline.co.uk/brighton-car-play-mat.
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