Playtime with your baby is one of the most important things you have to do as a parent. Not only does it strengthen your bond, but it also helps your child to develop several key aspects necessary for his growth.
To help you maximize your baby’s learning capacity, I highly suggest getting a play mat. These products are designed with your child’s growth in mind, so they can help you make the most of the different stages of his growth.
But with the many features that today’s play mats offer, you can easily get confused – and I can understand that. And this is why I wrote this article especially to help you.
In this article, I will give you an honest review of my top 10 picks for the best play mats for babies in the market today. And to help you narrow down your choices, I am also including a buyer’s guide for your reference.
Do You Need a Playmat?
A playmat is a necessary accessory that contains various features that help boost a child’s development of his various senses and skills.
These play mats have eye-catching prints and designs that are meant to improve your child’s visual senses. Some of them can even play musical sounds that can stimulate their auditory perception.
And finally, these mats are made of cushioned and soft material, so it makes exploring more comfortable and safe. All things considered, I highly recommend getting a playmat for your baby, especially during his formative years.
When do you need Playmat?
Your baby needs a play mat beginning from a few days old to up to 36 months old. Some manufacturers offer playmats that can be customized to adjust to your baby’s different growth stages, so you don’t have to worry about having to keep changing mats.
But if you ask me, your baby needs a playmat most during the period when he’s beginning to recognize visual imagery until the period he is already learning how to walk. This is the period when your baby loves crawling and exploring, so an interesting play mat will make exploring so much fun and exciting for him.
Our Best Play Mats for Babies
- Fisher-Price Rainforest Music & Lights Deluxe Gym
- Bright Starts Charming Chirps Activity Gym
- Bright Starts 5-in-1 Your Way Ball Play Activity Gym
- Skip Hop Baby Infant and Toddler Camping Cubs Activity Gym and Playmat
- Skip Hop Treetop Friends Baby Developmental Play Mat Activity Gym
- Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Play Mat
- The Play Gym by Lovevery
- Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes Music Activity Gym Play Mat
- Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym
- Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym
Top 10 Best Play Mats for Babies: Reviews
To give you an idea of what makes a great play mat, here are honest reviews of my top ten picks. I chose them based on their interactive features, safety precautions, and ease of cleaning and storage.
1. Fisher-Price Rainforest Music & Lights Deluxe Gym
The first item on our list is the interactive Fisher-Price Rainforest Music & Lights Deluxe Gym. Coming from a renowned brand like Fisher-Price, you can only expect a lot from this deluxe gym. And I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t disappoint.The mat is made of a soft deluxe material that’s safe for your baby’s skin. It also has a satin-fabric border with an interesting texture that’s sure to keep your baby interested. The mat itself also has a colorful print, and this only enhances his visual skills. Most importantly, this playmat is machine washable, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning it.
A pair of x-shaped bars can be securely mounted on top of the mat, which contains fun toys for your baby to play with. These can give your baby an amazing sensory experience as he plays while lying on his back.
On top of the bars rests a toy toucan that plays music and lights, and this can immediately grab your baby’s attention. This toy is detachable, so you can bring it with you when you’re out and about with your baby.
All of these interactive features – coupled with the fact that it’s so easy to clean – make it one of the best play mats for babies.
- It offers great value for your money.
- It is sensitive to your baby’s movements, making it highly interactive.
- You can rotate the bars so that your baby can experience different toys.
- Its colorful design coupled with its fun lights and sounds makes it a treat for your baby’s senses.
- The bars cannot be separated from each other, so it can be quite bulky if you want to store it.
- Not all toys are plush toys; some are made of plastic.
2. Bright Starts Charming Chirps Activity Gym
If you’re looking for an affordable yet fun activity gym for your baby, then you might want to check out the Bright Starts Charming Chirps Activity Gym.
This activity gym has a colorful playmat that can pique your child’s interest. It is made of soft material so your baby can play while laying on his tummy comfortably.
Attached to the mat is a cross-shaped toy bar that has detachable hanging toys. This guarantees a fun lay-and-play time for your baby. This activity gym comes with five removable toys for your baby, but the bar has other loops so you can easily hang other toys.
The Bright Starts Charming Chirps Activity Gym can also play 4 melodies, which can be a treat for your baby’s senses.
For your convenience, the mat can be easily washed in the machine. The bars can also be removed from the mat and allows for better storage
- It is very affordable.
- The mat and the toys can be easily cleaned.
- The fun designs and melodies can be a treat for your baby’s senses.
- Some toys are made of plastic.
3. Bright Starts 5-in-1 Your Way Ball Play Activity Gym
Another entry in our top ten picks is this 5-in-1 Your Way Ball Play Activity Gym from Bright Starts.When laid flat, this 48-inch play mat is one of the largest in the market today. This guarantees enough space for you and your baby, making bonding time more fun for both of you. It also has eye-catching cartoon prints that are such a visual treat for your baby.
And if you want to upgrade the experience, you can simply fold up the sides of the mat to create makeshift walls for your play area. You can use this to keep your baby safely inside or to function as a fun ball pit. This comes in handy when it comes to entertaining your playful toddlers.
This activity gym also comes with attachable bars where you can hang colorful toys on. This keeps infants entertained for hours, making lay-and-play time one of his favorite activities.
Among the features that this baby gym offers include a light-up toy elephant, playing cheerful melodies, mirrors, bead sliders, and a tether.
Considering that you can use this activity gym from your baby’s infant days until his toddler years, I think that it is one of the best playmats for babies.
- It offers great value for money.
- It can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth and mild soap.
- It covers a large area to fit both you and your baby.
- It can be converted into a fun ball pit for your toddler.
- Some users note that the mat is not very durable so you have to be careful about washing it.
4. Skip Hop Baby Infant and Toddler Camping Cubs Activity Gym and Playmat
The Skip Hop Baby Infant and Toddler Camping Cubs Activity Gym and Playmat is another noteworthy baby play mat to look out for since it offers a lot of developmental activities for your baby.This nature-themed playmat comes with a teepee-shaped activity center that can keep your baby entertained for hours. Among the toys that he can enjoy include a turtle mirror, a light-up firefly, a musical raccoon, and a bear rattle. These toys will help develop your child’s different senses.
Your child can use this playmat in four ways, which includes playing while laying down for infants, laying down on his tummy for tots learning how to crawl, or seated play for toddlers. It also comes with a tummy time pillow made of mink which is soft on your baby’s skin while also giving him enough support. The Skip Hop Baby Infant and Toddler Camping Cubs Activity Gym and Playmat are also very easy to clean. You can choose between throwing it in the machine or wiping it with a damp cloth and mild soap.
- It offers more than 17 developmental activities for your baby to enjoy.
- It is easy to clean, making it very hygienic.
- Its unique design and prints can easily catch your baby’s attention.
- It comes with a very steep price tag.
- The hanging toys are so far apart, so smaller babies can only play with one toy at a time.
5. Skip Hop Treetop Friends Baby Developmental Play Mat Activity Gym
Another entry from Skip Hop is their Treetop Friends Baby Developmental Play Mat Activity Gym.This pastel-colored play mat features multiple fabrics to pique your baby’s sense of touch. It also has colorful nature-themed prints as well as a baby-safe mirror embedded on the mat that can easily catch his eye. For his sense of hearing, the flowers on the mat squeak when it is touched. This makes it one of the best play mats for babies, especially for infants who are still learning how to crawl.
To make tummy time more fun for your baby, this play mat comes with soft plush to support him. It is also wide enough for him to explore the different textures on the mat.
Additionally, the Skip Hop Treetop Friends Baby Developmental Play Mat Activity Gym has criss-cross arcs with different loops for you to hang baby toys in. You can choose whether to position them low or high, depending on your child’s arms reach. This activity gym offers 17 activities that you can maximize to unleash your child’s full developmental potential.
- It offers great value for your money.
- Your child can enjoy up to 17 developmental activities.
- The soft mat and plush pillow guarantee comfort and safety.
- The product is not very durable, so machine washing is not recommended.
6. Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Play Mat
If you’re after a simple playmat that’s still quite interactive, I highly recommend the Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Play Mat.This large play mat features different textures to engage your child’s senses. It is also designed in a way that would improve his grip on the mat, greatly improving his motor skills. This makes it the ideal play mat for toddlers who are already learning how to crawl.
It also features colorful prints, and this can greatly develop his visual skills. This play mat also comes with a mirror, and this can promote your baby’s facial recognition.
Since you will be using this play mat during your baby’s developmental stages, you will find it useful that this mat has a tether which he can use while playing.
What I love most about this play mat is that it is highly portable. You can simply fold it and stash it in your bag, so you can bring it with you wherever you’re on a vacation with your baby.
- It is very portable.
- It does not have overhead structures that can accidentally fall on your baby.
- It has playful textures that can help develop your child’s motor and tactile skills.
- Its large size can accommodate you and your baby, which also improves his emotional intelligence.
- It can be quite expensive, considering what it can offer.
7. The Play Gym by Lovevery
For those who are looking for a play mat that your baby can use for his different growth stages, then I highly recommend that you consider The Play Gym by Lovevery.This uniquely-shaped play mat boasts 5 development zones that are geared towards the different growth stages of your baby. This assures you that it helps your baby grow without overstimulation.
The different activities offered by this play gym helps develop your child’s sensory skills, focus, sound making, motor skills. The accessories are removable, so you can customize it according to which parts you think would help develop your baby’s skills at a certain age.
The Play Gym by Lovevery is very easy to set up or take down, so you have more time to play with your baby. But most importantly, this play mat is made of organic cotton, non-toxic polyester, and sustainable wood. These materials are not only safe for your baby but also helps save the environment.
The only drawback is that it comes with a steep price tag. But if you’re willing to invest more money for your child’s play mat, then this is probably one of the best play mats for babies that you can bet your money on.
- It is designed in a way that’s geared towards stage-based brain development.
- It is made from sustainable and non-toxic material.
- It comes with a play guide where parents can get ideas for fun developmental activities for their babies.
- It is very expensive.
- It is bulky, so it may not easily fit homes with smaller play areas.
8. Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes Music Activity Gym Play Mat
For music lovers who want their kids to follow their footsteps, I advise that you consider the Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes Music Activity Gym Play Mat.This mat is probably one of the most interactive play mats I’ve ever come across. It features more than 70 sounds and activities, and can play around 25 minutes of music. Certainly, this is a feast for your child’s senses. And since you have a variety of sounds to choose from, you’re not stuck with listening to repetitive sounds throughout your child’s formative years.
To facilitate your child’s developmental growth, it comes with seven detachable toys that you can attach according to his developmental stage. This includes a soft prop pillow that can support your baby during his tummy playtime.
But my personal favorite would have to be the detachable magic touch piano which can easily pique his interest with the different sounds it can produce. It is also very colorful, and this can also be a treat for the eyes.
The removable arcs on the Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes Music Activity Gym Play Mat can be used to hang a variety of baby toys. The loops are positioned at different heights, so you can hang toys at a level that’s comfortable for your baby.
This playmat is advisable for use by newborn babies up to toddlers at 36 months old. This gives you great value for your money, considering that you don’t have to keep changing mats during the different stages of your child’s growth.
- It offers great value for money.
- It is one of the most interactive playmats in the market today.
- It has more than 70 sounds and activities to keep your baby busy.
- It has colorful designs and toys that are a visual treat for babies.
- Its petite size allows it to fit in different-sized playrooms.
- Some parents note that the mat is not very soft.
9. Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym
Another play mat that’s targeted toward your child’s auditory perception is the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym.This petite mat has loops around its perimeter where you can attach baby toys to. This makes exploring fun and exciting for your baby, especially when he is already learning how to crawl. It is also made of soft material, so you’re assured that it won’t hurt your baby in any way.
It comes with a detachable activity area where you can also hang baby toys on. Having all his toys hanging on one side of the mat can help improve your baby’s focus, and this is greatly recommended for toddlers.
Also worth noting is that the piano in the activity area can be detached. This makes it portable, so you can keep your baby entertained even if you’re on vacation.
For your convenience, this play mat is machine washable. It can also be folded so you can stash it easily inside any bag.
- Its petite size makes it highly portable, and can also fit small play areas.
- It is machine washable.
- It helps develop your baby’s auditory perception, motor skills, focus, and visual senses.
- It offers great value for money.
- As of the time of writing, there are no negative reviews of this product.
10. Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym
Completing our top ten list is the third entry from Skip Hop, which is their Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym.This adorable activity gym has a toned-down silver hue with hints of colors in focused areas. In terms of his visual development, this can help improve his focus. This also makes it easy on the eyes, especially when you’re putting it in a modern playroom.
Another feature I love about this play mat is that it has different textures, including a cushioned area with contoured areas, making it extremely comfortable for your baby. These different textures make it a sensory treat for your baby, making tummy time more fun and comfortable.
It has two cross-shaped arcs that go over the mat where you can hang different toys for your baby. This gives him enough activities to help boost his learning.
The toys that can be hung include a musical sheep toy, a light-up star, a cloud squeaker, a bird rattle, and a baby-safe mirror. All of these toys can help develop your child’s different senses. They’re also covered in plush material, so you know it won’t hurt your baby at all.
- The plush mat, toys, and tummy time pillow guarantee optimum comfort for your baby.
- The colors are muted, so it goes well with minimalist play areas.
- It is lightweight and very portable.
- The loops on the arcs are located in different places, so you can add more toys and you can choose the height at which you want them hung.
- It comes with a very steep price tag.
Buying Guide: Important Factors to Consider
At this point, all the amazing features I’ve highlighted in my review may overwhelm you. But bear in mind that a great play mat is the one that works best for your baby. To help you in making a more informed decision, I’m going to discuss some of the factors you have to look into before making a purchase.
The most important factor that you have to look into is how safe the mat is for your baby to use.
You should consider how thick and soft the mat is to make sure that it offers a comfortable cushion for your baby. This also assures you that your baby won’t suffer from reddish joints from using a mat that’s too hard.
If you’re considering an activity gym, make sure that the poles or arcs are securely held in place. This gives you peace of mind that it won’t accidentally fall on your baby. And finally, make sure that the toy hanging from the activity gym is made of soft material so it won’t hurt your baby.
The second most important factor that you have to look into is its features. Bear in mind that the purpose of a play mat is to aid your child’s development through his formative years. Thus, you have to consider features that will do just that.
As a tip, some of the basic features include playing sounds and lighting up. This can instantly catch his attention and improve his visual and auditory skills. A baby-safe mirror will also help him develop facial recognition. You can also choose a mat with different textures to improve his sensory and motor skills.
The features that you have to look for should target all aspects of your child’s growth so you know you’re getting the most out of your money.
Sooner or later, you would have to go on vacation with your baby. And this is why you would want a play mat that you can take with you anywhere. This makes sure that you’re making the most of your vacation time to relax with your baby.
Ease of Cleaning
The playmat will be the number one accessory that your baby will spend a lot of time on, so you want to make sure that it is always clean enough for him to use.
With that said, you may want to buy one that’s easy to clean. Most of today’s mats can be easily thrown inside a machine to be washed and dried, so this gives you a lot more time to play with your baby.
Q.) What is the best play mat for baby?
Ans. To be honest, I can’t name a specific brand or model because we have different preferences. But as a guide, the best play mat for baby is one that has eye-catching prints and patterns, interactive activities, and a mat that’s super comfortable for your baby.
Q.) Are play mats good for babies?
Ans. Yes. I can’t stress the importance of how play mats can improve your child’s cognitive, motor, and sensory skills. Some of them are big enough to allow a parent in, and that can also develop your child’s emotional intelligence.
And with that said, I can say that playmats are not just good for babies – they’re the best for babies.
Q.) Are foam floor mats safe for babies?
Ans. If you’re on a tight budget, you can also get a foam floor mat for your baby as an alternative to play mats. However, you have to make sure to wash it more often since the material may not be made for babies to play in, and can attract more dust than play mats. They also don’t have the interactive features that play mats have. Nevertheless, they’re also safe and comfortable enough for babies.
Q.) When can babies use floor mats?
Ans. Babies can use floor mats beginning from a very young age. However, I suggest using play mats or floor mats when your baby starts learning how to crawl. This is the time when they’re already learning how to explore, and you don’t want them crawling on hard surfaces.
To conclude, the best play mats for babies are those that offer interactive features that can help develop your child’s sensory, motor, and cognitive skills. They must also be comfortable enough for him to lie on in different positions – whether on his back or his tummy.
But most importantly, you also have to consider the safety features that the playmats have in place so you’re also given peace of mind.
And with that said, you have to take your time and scrutinize the different play mats you have before you. This guarantees that you’re spending your hard-earned money to keep your child safe and entertained. But since I have already laid down a buyer’s guide for you, that wouldn’t be such a problem.