When purchasing essential items for your newborn a play mat will inevitably wind up on your list. Play mats are great for developing your baby’s motor skills and sensory skills, as well as being an excellent source of entertainment. They are designed to keep your baby entertained and allow you to take a moment to fold the clothes or just take a breather.
Play mats usually come in fun colorful designs created to stimulate your baby’s senses visually and also double as protection from the hard ground. This list of top 10 best baby play mats offers a range of high-quality mats with or without arches, ones that are easily transportable and washable and mats that feature everything from tummy pillows and mirrors to chew toys and musical pianos to entertain your baby, while highlighting the benefits of each mat.
Baby play mats are practical and fun for your baby, they keep them entertained while also aiding their development and learning. We have gathered a list of the best baby play mats available on the market for you to choose from.
Check out our list below to find the best baby play mat for you and your child.
How To Choose A Baby Play Mat – Buying Guide
When selecting a baby play mat for your child it is important to know as much information about the options available so you can get the best mat for your little one. Your baby’s first few months are full of learning and growth potential and with the help of the best play mat, your child will develop learning, sensory and motor skills all while being entertained. There are several factors to consider when selecting a baby play mat, such as the thickness of the padding, whether the design features arches and hanging toys or whether it is a simple roll-out mat, whether the mat comes with extra features such as music and light elements, how easy it is to transport and how easy it is to clean, etc. Below you can find tips and advice on how to choose the right baby play mat for your child. Whether you go for a play mat with arches or one without, we are certain your choice will encourage your baby’s development and keep your baby happily entertained.
The mat itself is arguably the most important part of the play mat. Your child will spend all of their time either lying or crawling around on this mat. A good mat should have enough padding to protect your baby if they fall over but not too much so they are sinking into it.
Most mats feature colorful visual designs, while some also include different toys attached to the mat and different textures of material on the mat itself. Nearly all top play mats include a tummy pillow – which can help provide support for your child when they are lying or playing on their tummy, a mirror – which teaches your child about self-recognition and chew toys which help with teething. These will entertain your baby and help your child’s growth and development. One thing to consider is if the toys will be able to grow with your child or if the mat’s toys are perhaps removable allowing you to adapt the mat as your baby grows.
Another key element to check before purchasing a play mat is whether the mat can be washed. Since your baby will spend a lot of time playing on the play mat, it is inevitable that the mat will get dirty and messy. The ideal play mat will have a mat that is machine washable which is the most convenient and efficient option.
Arches vs No Arches
There is a range of play mats available on the market and one of the main distinctions is that some feature arches and some do not. Many play mats will have one or two arches that have rings designed for hanging toys. These rings should be spread out along the arch and the toys should be detachable so that as your baby grows you can reposition the toys. The main benefit of play mats featuring arches is that their design and hanging toys will encourage your baby to sit up and eventually stand to reach the toys.
The arches should be able to be separated from the mat. This will allow you to turn a baby jungle gym into a regular mat which is extremely portable. You will be able to bring just the mat easily without having to haul around a large arch system. This feature can save you from having to buy a separate more portable mat. Alternatively, some mats already have in-built foldable mechanisms that allow you to collapse the entire structure quickly making them easy to transport.
Play mats that don’t feature arches are the best choice for you if you are looking for something lightweight that you can easily fold up, stick in a baby bag and carry with you both on short outings and long-haul trips. Despite not having arches, these mats will also include a range of interactive toys that are either attached to the mat with rings or already built into the mat itself.
Many deluxe play mats available on the market will have light and sound features that are activated in response to your child’s movements. While these may seem unnecessary or annoying, they can speed up your child’s development. Most play mats will include either built-in or detachable music features that play a range of musical numbers and have lights that flash to accompany the music. These may require batteries, but the music and lights are sure to keep your child entertained for hours at a time. If your baby is encouraged to move around, they can possibly start to stand and walk faster. The music and lights will also help your baby develop their visual and auditory senses.
Q. Why Are Play Mats Good for Babies?
A. Play mats are good for babies because they can help develop their sensory and motor skills through play, colorful designs and interactive toys that encourage certain forms of learning such as self-recognition and hand-eye coordination. The design of play mats often features arches with hanging toys which can encourage your baby to sit up and eventually stand as they try to reach for the toys. Overall, play mats encourage your child to move, they boost your child’s cognitive development, and they will entertain your baby keeping them happily engaged in play for hours.
Q. Does My Baby Need a Play Mat?
A. While a baby play mat may not be considered an essential accessory for your baby, it can be very useful and beneficial for your child’s early development. It can help encourage your child to learn and develop their curiosity, while also teaching them to entertain themselves. A play mat can also be practical for you as a parent as it allows you to place your baby on a play mat which can be stationed in the living room, without having to take your baby to the crib if you need to put your baby down for a second. Play mats are also convenient to pack up and take with you when visiting family or friends and will quickly double as a safe baby play area on the go.
Q. When Does My Baby Need a Play Mat?
A. Some parents start using the mat part of a play mat as early as 2 weeks, however, generally babies benefit most from using a play mat between 6 weeks and 1 year. During this time your baby will begin to react to the visual stimuli of the mat including colors and patterns, as well as the different interactive toys. As your baby grows the play mat will encourage your baby to prop themselves up when playing on their tummy, and over time sit up and even stand up to reach for the toys.
My Babies Planet Overview
Choosing the right play mat for your baby can seem like a daunting task. The overwhelming selection and information about baby play mats may seem like an endless vault of options. However, by learning about some of the key parts and features found in play mats you can learn about the benefits of each and narrow down your selection to options that are stimulating, encouraging and fun for your baby. The main elements to consider are the thickness and design of the mat, whether the play mat includes arches and hanging toys, how easy it is to transport and clean, and whether it comes with extra music and light elements. By fully understanding these features your baby will not only be safe and entertained but their development can also be sped up. For example, a play mat with many loops for the toys will encourage your baby to sit up and even stand. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for size and age when you are selecting a baby play mat so you can get a mat that is perfectly suited to your child and allows them room to grow. Before purchasing a play mat, make sure to read about the options available and learn about the benefits or drawbacks of different models, so you can make an informed decision when selecting a play mat for your baby. If you are uncertain about whether a product is a good fit for you, or if you have further questions about it, our advice is to consult the question-and-answers section of the product where you will find many helpful comments and suggestions from other parents who have experience with the specific product. All the play mats on our top 10 list of baby play mats are leaders in their category, approved by parents and will make you and your baby happy.
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