Play mats aren’t just for keeping your baby entertained and safe in one spot for hours. They offer so much more, as your baby can progress both mentally and physically while spending time on their favorite baby mat. This is why they are also called gym mats and play gym mats.
Next to providing a sense of personal space to your baby, they also allow them to work on their coordination, motor skills, as well as learn about the ‘cause and effect’ by pushing and interacting with the toys that come with most of these mats. Here are some of the best picks to consider when buying the first play mat for your youngling.
Best Baby Play Mat Gyms
Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym
Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym is a great mat for your newborn baby, and there’s a number of reasons to convince you to buy it now. Due to its design, this polyester baby play mat can be easily stored by folding it into a shape that can fit almost anywhere in the house.
Next to this, it has all the baby needs including a soft and comfortable surface with colorful shapes and animals as well as toys attached to an overhead frame for them to play with and a peekaboo mirror on one side. The mirror is, of course, safe for baby as is every product that’s tested for their use. Your baby will truly enjoy playing with her new toys in her very own gym mat.
- Colorful design
- Can be folded and stored easily
- Due to its softness, it isn’t intended for every surface
Bright Starts 5-in-1 Your Way Ball Play Activity Gym
This practical plat mat will allow you to improvise and improve your baby’s playtime at any time. It can be used in more than one way due to its foldable walls and built-in music and lights system. Your child will never get bored while spending time on this amazing baby care play mat. It can serve as a regular mat by expanding the foldable walls and letting her interact with toys.
Next to this you can create a little box to fill with colorful balls that come with this set. If that doesn’t prove entertaining enough for your little one, she can play music and enjoy lights up to 20 minutes by interacting with the toys. And finally, you can use it for tummy time by supporting her weight with a belly pillow. This way she’ll be able to enjoy no matter what mood she’s in.
- Multiple uses
- Inventive design
- Music and light system
- Doesn’t fold into a practical shape that easy to transport
Baby Einstein Caterpillar & Friends Play Gym
Baby Einstein Caterpillar & Friends Play Gym is another great mat for your kid to explore senses and develop while playing. While laying on her back the baby will be able to enjoy music, play with cute animal toys attached on the frame all of which have a unique function including a built-in mirror in a cushion-like doggy house toy.
All of the toys surrounding your little one will help her develop her cognitive function and motor skills as is recommending in this age. The mat is easy to place and use and you won’t have a difficult time transporting from one room to another. To top all that, the cute sun toy can play up to 8 different melodies, so if she gets bored or moody you’ll always be able to rely on music to calm her.
- Ingenious design
- Easy to use and place
- Lacks pillow for their tummy time session
Bright Starts Charming Chirps Activity Gym
Bright Star Charming Chirps Activity gym is by far the most simplified floor mat for your baby that features everything that other mats have to offer and more in terms of entertainment. Its smart design allows it to look simplistic while being able to be folded, carried and placed almost in an instant. It features four toys all of which can be attached to an overhead frame or detached and used independently.
The material provides a soft and comfortable spot for your baby to spend most of her day on. When it comes to transporting it or packing, you’ll find that the supporting frames for the overhead construction act as a bag strap when attached to the folded gym mat. This way you’ll be able to carry it just like a bag and place all the toys and accessories inside.
- Looks great in pink
- Easy to remove and attack frame
- Ultra comfortable padding allows placement on almost any surface
- Age limit 0-36 months
- Hard to clean and remove stains
Baby Einstein 5-in-1 Journey of Discovery Activity Gym
Baby Einstein 5 in 1 Journey of Discovery Activity is another specially designed play mat for little explorers. What separates this one from the rest is that gives your baby a chance to learn about the world around it without ever leaving his spot. Colorful continents, animal toys and an abundance of multicolored balls will surely prove as entertaining for your little one.
You can use it as a regular play mat by expanding the walls, or you can pull them up to form a box which you can fill with all of the favorite toys. It even features a mirror that’s completely safe for their use. This way you can even play a game of peekaboo with your little one. Also, it’s quite easy to move it from one place to another, as you can pack all the elements within a few seconds.
- Foldable frame
- A variety of toys
- Multiple ways to use it
- Stains are hard to remove
Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Activity Gym
This silver cloud themed baby mat clearly beats others mat’s with its adorable simplistic design. There isn’t a wide range of colors as a pattern, instead, it’s filled with a pleasant light colored pattern that calms and won’t tire the eye so easily. Another thing that this particular baby gym features is a lightweight overhead frame to fit five toys.
Each of which is different, as while animal toy plays music, others will serve as a rattle or a squeaky cloud toy. When it comes to softness and comfort, you’ll find that this is the best baby play mat for your little one. Also, the polyester that’s covering the whole gym mat makes cleaning hard stains and food spillage a much easier process. The same cannot be said for baby foam play mat or other similar products.
- Extremely easy to clean
- Practical and simple to place
- Stunning design and colors
- Isn’t pure cotton
Infantino Grow-with-me Activity Gym
Infantino Grow With Me Activity Gym is truly a wondrous baby mat. The design will catch your attention in an instant and keep your baby entertained for hours. But this isn’t the features that separates this gym mat from others. Its biggest features is that you can transform it from ball-pit filled with more than enough colorful balls to activity gym within seconds.
The balls are stored in turtle’s head, and the net for the walls of the pit surround the play gym and can be lifted in a blink of an eye. So once your baby gets moody or tired of playing with toys you can pull the wall and fill it with balls. This will surely prove interesting for the little one. You can play a color game or let her enjoy in ball-pit.
- Extremely easy to use
- Neat design
- Food spillage isn’t easy to clean due to hard to reach places around the net wall
Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Play Mat
Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Play Mat is plain and simple in design, yet incredibly practical. With this particular gym mat, your baby will have everything in one place. You won’t have to worry about losing the toys that come with most of the gym mats, because in this case, they are a part of the mat.
Next to that, your baby will be able to enjoy extended tummy time due to a built-in mirror for face recognition and increased engagement. The mat is very easy to pack and carry, as all you’ll have to do is fold it in half and secure it with a button. It’s made from quality material, and there’s more than one type so that your baby can feel the sensation of the softness of each of them.
- Made from multiple types of quality material
- Easy to carry and transport
- Ingenious design
- Hard to clean
- Doesn’t include ball-pit
Fisher-Price Kick 'n Play Piano Gym
Now here’s a gym mat shape that you don’t see every day. This beautifully designed gym mat has by far the best design. Not only that you won’t need to show your baby how to play with toys that come in this set, but you’ll be able to pack and carry it anywhere with ease. This way your little one will enjoy quality play time while developing crucial skills like motor skills and cognitive function.
The mat includes 5 toys, overhead frame to attach the toys on, a baby-safe mirror and a piano music player. The music player must be its best feature as your baby can activate it by laying on her tummy or with hands in a sitting position.
- Clever design
- Practical and easy to carry
- Piano toy serves multiple purposes
- It could be softer and thicker
The Play Gym by Lovevery
The Play Gym by Lovevery is a great starting mat for your newborn and but for toddlers as well. The biggest feature that this gym mat has is its ability to transform into a tent. That’s right, you’ll be able to create their very own hiding place within seconds. This means no more sheets and blankets all over the room, and no more attempts to improvise and make a kid’s hideout.
With this mat, you have it all. The overhead frame that installs in mere seconds acts as a roof for their tent. And when they get tired of hiding and playing with mirror toys inside, you can return it to its original form. This is what makes this particular mat extremely practical.
- Multiple ways to use it
- The quality material provides more than comfort
- Easy to clean
- The frame isn’t too durable
How to Choose the Best Baby Play Gym
There are several ways that guarantee that you get the top pick of any product that you’re looking for. On the other side, choosing baby products for your little one, you should be extremely thorough and know what you’re looking for. These tips will help you in your search for the perfect baby mat for your newborn baby.
When looking to buy the first baby mat or gym mat for your baby, you should invest time in researching popular products. This includes checking products from major baby toy companies as well as products from their partners and competition. Look for reviews, customer feedback and general comments on these products. This way you’ll ensure that the gym mat that you buy has the best features and is truly an ideal choice for your little one.
Depending on the gender of your baby you’ll either want warm colors or colors that are more suitable for a boy on a gym mat. This means that you can’t just order the mat that you find adorable, because your kid might not share the same idea. Also, try to pick a design that doesn’t include too many diverse colors. They can tire the eye and thus decrease the quality of play time for your baby.
Pay attention to the quality of toys that come with the mat as well. They need to serve their purpose, both entertainment and educations wise. As the baby grows, she develops cognitive functions, motor skills and the best way to progress is through playtime.
So the ideal way to make sure that you pick the best baby mat for your little one is to pay attention to details. This includes the quality of fiber, whether it’s safe for baby’s use, the practicality of the mat, durability as well as the design.
Important Things to Look out For
To ensure that you’ve picked the right gym mat for your little one you should consider checking these four traits of a baby mat. They need to be tested for child’s use so before you do anything run a background check on the company that’s manufacturing and selling it. If they have the certificate you can proceed with the checkup.
The quality of the mattress, fiber and generally of the material used for manufacturing of a gym mat that your baby will use must be nothing but flawless. Not every play mat is as soft and comfortable as the next one. They all differ in size and shape as well as softness. So try looking for ones that are highly praised when it comes to comfort.
Most of these mats are intended for ages 0-3, which means that it should last until the baby doesn’t need it anymore. Thus, you should consider how durable it is when choosing your pick. The material should be cotton, although some parents prefer polyester due to its ‘easy to clean’ properties.
Both the fabric and toys must be safe for the child’s use. This is a must. Although these products are tested for child’s safety, you should also evaluate them on your own. After all, you know your baby very well, and should be able to figure out how she would use them and if she can get harmed by using them. To be sure, check each product whether it has passed the international safety test.
Entertaining and Educational Potential
Infants and toddlers need to develop as much as they can, and we all know that the best way to learn is through play. Therefore be sure to check for educational and entertaining potential of these mats. While some have colorful continents on their surface, other mats have animals and an abundance of toys that come with the package. Be sure that they can progress while using these toys.
Benefits of Play Mat for Baby
While looking to buy the best play mat for your baby, you might have wondered, what are the benefits of using this particular mat for my baby? That’s a good question actually. Being that the baby needs to develop both mentally and physically, the toys that she uses must be able to help her with this process.
Whether it’s playing a color game or practicing their motor function by interacting with the toys that are hanging around her, she’ll need your help and guidance. This is why knowing the benefits of gym mats plays a big role. If you know how it can be used to promote the development of her skills, she’ll progress even faster. These mats can be used in a variety of ways, here are only some of them.
The baby needs to spend some time on her belly to develop muscles needed for sitting and crawling. This is also important as allows her head to form properly, without flat spots on the back. Most of the gym mats come with a tummy pillow. It supports her weight and helps her maintain he position and develop muscles.
Playing with the mirror that’s usually a part of a toy that comes with the mat is also important. It allows her to recognize the shape of her head and develop self-awareness. This way she’ll progress her cognitive functions much faster and have fun while doing so. Be sure to let her interact with the mirror while adding a couple of words of guidance.
Different shapes and sizes, as well as colorful toys, will help her with her progress as well. Try to play a color game with her and let her pick the color that you pronounce. Multicolored balls are great for this activity as they are of the same shape. This makes it easier for the toddler to distinguish colors as they won’t be distracted by different shapes.
Frequently Asked Questions
The process of picking the best toy for your kid also includes checking what other people had to say and ask about the product that you’re interested in. If someone is pleased or displeased with the product that you’re about to buy, you should know it as it helps determine which one is best for your little one. Here are only some of the frequently asked questions regarding baby gym mats, their features, and use.
Are all mirrors that come with the play mat safe for use?
Each toy that comes with the mat is tested for child’s safety for that age limit. This includes toy mirrors which reflect the image and cannot be broken. They are usually inside a toy animal or other toys of that sort. The baby will have a clear image and won’t be able to hurt herself while interacting with the mirror. Newborn babies aren’t able to recognize themselves in the mirror when presented in front of them. The self-awareness occurs after they are 9 months old.
How long will the battery last on our music giraffe toy animal?
Most of these models have a music player inside that runs on batteries and drains them fairly slowly. They are able to play up to 8 different melodies all of which are familiar baby classic tunes. Regarding its usability and battery, you can play music on these toys up to 20 minutes per session. You can repeat the process and find out how long it takes to drain the batteries completely.
In most cases you’ll spend around 3-4 hours replaying these sets until the batteries are completely drained. Which is more than enough as the baby won’t listed to baby songs their entire play time on a gym mat. Babies need to develop and there’s so many activities they can complete while on their favorite play mat.
Can I remove and replace the batteries on music toys that come with the play mat?
Although there isn’t a manual that comes with the play mat for replacing batteries in those fluffy toy animal music players, there’s always a solution. It would be such a shame if your newly bough baby play mat has a toy which relies on batteries to run and play music but can’t be replaced or have a visible access point. Even though this may be in some cases the situation isn’t as gloomy as it appears.
You can open the fluffy toy animal by cutting the bottom part and accessing the player. Once you have this small plastic player in front of you open the battery compartment using a screwdriver. You’ll notice that the batteries aren’t those used in most toys. If you’ve encountered these batteries before then the mark LR44 won’t sound unfamiliar. These small batteries pack quite a punch but aren’t rechargeable. So get to your local hardware or battery store and get a bunch of these to secure long lasting melody sessions for your baby boy or girl.
What about the pack ‘n play itself, doesn’t that need to be cleaned as well?
It absolutely does. When you’re choosing a pack ‘n play for your child, always consider how easy it will be to clean. Most modern pack ‘n plays are generally made from three basic material types, namely metal, soft plastic, and some sort of fleecy, natural fabric.
Basically, this means that they do not provide too much of a challenge when it comes to cleaning. Most playpens allow you to remove the washable fabrics quickly and put them in the washing machine, while the parts that aren’t machine-washable can easily be wiped with a damp cloth and some detergent.
Steer clear of pack ‘n plays that are difficult to disassemble, as they will obviously be more challenging to keep clean. Also, if the provided mattress doesn’t have a protective coating, make sure to get an extra mattress or a washable cover at the very least.
Are play mats machine washable?
Many households will buy only those items that are washable in their washing machine. However some clothing items aren’t recommended for this action as they lose quality and the looks. When it comes to play mats for babies, you’ll find that most of them are machine washable. This gives your freedom to feed your baby while playing on the gym mat without worrying about the spillage or what kind of damage it may inflict on the fiber or color pattern.
The only difference with washable play mats is that some are easier to clean while some demand washing machine to reduce the number of hard stains to zero. Check the backside of your play mat to see the instructions for machine washing. There you’ll find the temperature as well as if you can mix it with other clothing items without losing the original color and quality. Be sure to use only high quality softeners as your baby will notice the difference.
How do I use my baby mat to help her progress even faster?
Toys as well as the mat itself have beneficial factors in terms of educating your baby as well as entertaining her. There are suggested ways to use them in order to promote the development of physical and cognitive functions but you as creative as you like when finding new ways to let her learn while having fun with these toys.
At this age baby requires basic activities that help her develop faster. Games like ‘guess the color’, peekaboo and other of the sort are only some of the activities though which she’ll develop self-awareness (not before 9 month of old), motor skills, memory and generally proper cognitive functions.
These are only some of the ways to use the mat and toys that come along. But you can teach your kid your own way. As long as you cover the basic exercises and she gets the idea it doesn’t matter how you do it.
Baby toys are in abundance nowadays and although it may seem as if it’s hard to pick the right ones for your little one, you can always rely on a bit of research to do the job. These play mats, gym mats or baby mats, are something that you’ll buy for your baby only once and then either use for their sibling or store it for future use.
Once the baby doesn’t need a play mat anymore, usually when 3 years old, you can store the play mat until it’s needed again. All in all they have great entertaining and educational potential so try to pick the best one when getting your baby’s first one.