A Newcastle author has created a play mat for children featuring over twenty of the city's landmarks.

Scott Barker, 32, has created over 50 children's books, toys, and other media in numerous different countries around the world.

And now he has helped create the Newcastle Hippo Mat to encourage children to explore.

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“It’s a combination of playing, learning, and quirkiness, it’s a unique accessory which will liven up and inspire a child's play area," Scott said.

The mat features over twenty landmarks, places, or quirks of Newcastle.

The idea is to tour around Newcastle to see the unique landmarks that make up the city, by watching the city from above.

“Children experience different cultures when visiting Chinatown or Newcastle Castle and they can also have a trip to the countryside to see the memorable Angel of the North or can imagine are part of the team by stopping by at St James’ Park,” Scott added.

Not only will the user be having Newcastle-themed fun while using this mat, but they’ll also be developing their hand-eye coordination, social skills, and cognitive abilities too.

“The latter is even more important, since learning about Local Geography is in the Key Stage One curriculum,” Scott says.

Scott was contacted by Marcos Millet - the man behind the original idea of the Hippo Mat.

Marcos, a driving instructor living in Brighton, had created the first-ever Hippo Ma and it was developed and released as the Brighton Hippo Matâ„¢ in 2020.

Marcos's aim is to improve the knowledge of the local area for children and have them love where they are from.

Scott adds: “The mats teach children about the area they live in and make them familiarise with where they come from.”

The Newcastle Hippo Mat has been tested and approved with its microfiber velvet surface which is completely free from any harmful substances that could cause harm to a child’s skin or health.

Each and every Hippo Matâ„¢ is built with a non-slip latex backing.

The mat is currently sold in the store UpSide Down Presents, in Newcastle City Centre.

To learn more about Scott Barker’s children's books, visit: https://www.makebelieveideas.co.uk/product-category/illustrator/scott-barker/

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