Creative Ways to Use Old Yoga Mats

Julia Arnold and Kate Parlin

Do you have a dusty old yoga mat rolled up in the back of a closet, lonely and useless? Did you shove it there after you had your second or third child because you never had time to do yoga anymore and looking at it made you feel guilty and wistful and kind of achy in your lower back all at the same time?

If yoga seems like a vague memory, kind of like that guy you made out with one night at a college bar, you’re not alone. Yoga is something we also did in our former lives when we were people who now have very little in common with us as frazzled mothers with young children.

We proudly bought our purple rubber mats at Target, excited to join the burgeoning yoga movement, having no appreciation for the ample free time our childless selves had available. We’re sure you also had good intentions when you bought that mat back in your pre-motherhood days.

In fact, pre-kids, we even used them for some actual yoga! We went to yoga class occasionally. We had DVDs featuring impossibly soft-voiced women in impossibly soft-looking clothes doing yoga on platforms by the sea. It was glorious!

Now, with toddlers and train tracks and teeny tiny LEGOs all over the place and little time to focus on healthy lifestyle choices, we have abandoned yoga. We’re busy, stressed-out moms who could, quite frankly, probably use a little yoga in our lives to calm and center us, but we’re just not doing it.

Why not stop feeling guilty and instead put all of our neglected yoga mats to good use?

Our five best yoga mat ideas for your current lifestyle:

  1. A sound-absorbing surface for your kids’ wooden blocks. As much as we love it when our kids build elaborate playgrounds for their little ponies and Star Wars figurines out of wooden blocks, the noise level of the blocks crashing onto the wood floor makes us all twitchy. Enter the ol’ yoga mat! It provides a sound-absorbing, sanity-saving surface for block towers (it’s especially handy if the baby is napping).
  1. A Hot Wheels ramp. In all fairness, this was Julia’s son’s idea. He leaned the old mat up against a coffee table and sent cars down it. Simple as that. The novelty of the situation occupied him for five whole luxurious minutes.
  1. A finish line. Have you ever been desperate enough to create an indoor obstacle course for your energetic brood? You are not alone. The yoga mat serves as a handy, non-slip finish line for said homemade courses in the dead of a winter.
  1. A Tag Safe Zone. Our kids are obsessed with tag. The purple mat has found a handy new use as a safe zone when someone doesn’t want to be tagged (which is always. So why do they constantly want to play it?)
  1. Take it outside and make a slip n’ slide for dolls. Dolls deserve a little summer fun, too.

Extra Credit Use for Extraordinary Moms:

A re-usable canvas for washable finger paint! Little hands love finger painting (all the time), but if your kids are anything like ours, they fill up a sheet of paper with smears of finger paint in about two seconds. Set your yoga mat outside on the grass, let them paint as long as they want, and then hose the whole thing (and the children) off! Genius!

We’re sure we’ll get back to belly-breathing and spine-lengthening one of these days, but when that day comes, we’ll treat ourselves to brand new yoga mats.


Head to the Front Porch


Don't throw away those old yoga mats! Here are a few creative ways to recycle them.

 This post was written by Julia Arnold and Kate Parlin  exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Julia Arnold is a freelance writer living in Minnesota with her husband and two young children. She writes about the less glamorous side of motherhood on her blog, Frantic Mama. She has contributed to various publications, such as Mamalode, Scary Mommy, and What the Flicka, as well as to the anthologies, Clash of the Couples: A Humorous Collection of Completely Absurd Lovers' Squabbles and Relationship Spats, Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee: The Crazy, Brilliant, and Unforgettable Lessons We've Learned from Our Mothers, and Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had Kids!). Kate Parlin is a writer and mom of three girls, two of whom are twins. She chronicles her parenting adventures — the funny stuff, the frustrating freak-outs, and the soul-searching moments — at her blog, Shakespeare’s Mom. Her writing has been featured in numerous places online including The Huffington Post, In the Powder Room, Redbook, and Scary Mommy. Her essay, “Making Space” was featured in the December 2014 print issue of Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine, she was a cast member of the 2015 production of Listen To Your Mother in Bangor, Maine, and she is thrilled to have her work featured in several parenting anthologies. She lives in Maine with her super-cool husband and their gaggle of girls.