A baby play mat is great for babies who are just starting to crawl but can also be used by infants. It will be a safe place for them to just rest when they’re not sleeping. They are also sometimes called baby gyms because some of them include attachments that they can grab hold of and hanging toys that they can play with. It can include sensory items to keep babies entertained.
If you’re a new parent and are thrilled to learn that your little one is now beginning to crawl, you’ll find that it is his first attempt to learn about balance. It’s also great for strengthening his muscles. It’s a great milestone and you will find a lot more information about crawling here. When they start to eat on their own, you might find this guide on the best high chair useful.
So how do you choose a baby to play mat for your child? Colors, materials, and attachments are just some of the considerations and our list will help you pick the right one.
Our Pick: Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym
Number one on our list of choices is the Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym. It’s a colorful baby play mat with great features. It includes a tummy time bolster so your little one can spend some time on his tummy while playing and a peek n’ see mirror that you can play with him. The mat has bright colors which will attract his attention. It also has an overhead discovery with plush toys that they can grab.
The twist and fold technology allow you to fold down the gym with a simple twist of the wrist so you can take it with you for adventures.
Runner Up: Baby Care Play Mat Foam Floor Gym
Our next top choice is the Baby Care Play Mat Foam Floor Gym. Your baby can play on the soft floor surface and it’s suitable even for infants. It’s ideal for encouraging crawling, rolling, sitting up, and learning to walk. It has cushions on the surfaces to ensure a soft landing when your child is rolling, tumbling, or if they accidentally fall. The mat is also waterproof and it’s easy to clean.
It’s hygienic and safe for babies. It also provides noise reduction and insulation so your baby won’t get cold. This mat works on all floor surfaces. You can roll it up easily for storage.
If you want a baby play mat with sound features, the Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music Play Mat is a great choice. It will stimulate your baby with music and lights. Everything on the play mat will help your baby develop his skills. There’s a monkey with springy legs that he can pull, a vibrating elephant and a mirror that he can explore. The giraffe rattles and music come out of the mat when poked.
It also makes crinkly sounds which would entertain your child and make them curious. Flashing lights emerge from the flowers. This mat is machine washable and is easy to store.
A simpler model is the Wee Giggles Extra Thick Foam Play Mat. This baby play mat grows with your child from infant to toddler. It provides a safe and soft play area. This does not come with toy attachments so you can just place his existing toys for him to play with. It’s a wide area where he can crawl around and roll in. The colors encourage development with contrasting dark and light combinations.
It’s easy on the eyes and would go well with most living spaces. You can place the borders on the mat to make it look like fences. It helps develop visual sensory development.
Another great alternative is the Bright Starts Sunny Safari Baby’s Play Place. Newborns can use it and play with the overhead toys. You can also let them have tummy time play and let them crawl. It has a convertible 5 in 1 design so it’s a great value. You can raise the sides of the baby play mat to keep pets away and contain toys inside. It includes a prop pillow to keep your baby comfortable.
There are toys and characters that they can grasp and teeth on including a light-up bird, bead sliders, and crinkle fabric. There’s also a mirror for them to explore with.
A nice affordable option is the Prince Lionheart Develop Mat Shapes. This is a simple baby play mat that helps stimulate your child. It has contrasting shape designs that will help develop their cognitive and spatial skills. It has two sides with different shapes and colors, and ABC’s to help introduce them to language. This is also great for tummy time.
It’s reversible and waterproof so it’s easy to clean. You can roll it up like a rug and includes a carry case so it’s easy to bring around.
How to Choose the Best Baby Play Mat
When setting up your baby play mat, choose one that is suitable for his age and stage of development.
The number one thing to consider is the safety of the mat. It should be soft enough and have proper cushions so they can crawl and roll over without getting hurt. The materials should also be free from harmful chemicals.
Bright colors on the baby play mat will help develop your child’s sensory and cognitive skills. It will attract them and keep their attention so they don’t wander around anywhere else. Contrasting colors are great and will entertain them as well.
If you want a multipurpose baby play mat, choose ones that have interactive toys. Some have overhead attachments so your baby can grab on the hanging toys and play with them. A mirror is also a great addition for them to explore.
Lights and Sounds
More advanced gyms or models also feature lights and sounds. The mat can make crinkling sounds from the fabric or sometimes pressing on a surface will activate music. This is good for their development as well.
It will also be helpful if the mat is portable. Some of them can easily roll up and include a carry case so that you can carry them anywhere.
Other items that will be great additions would be rattles, mirrors, and plush toys. Always place the baby play mat in a safe area that you can easily watch and supervise.