Playmats can be used to provide an exclusive play area for a baby. One of the first interactive toys your baby may have, playmats come in different varieties and with varying features. If your baby has started to roll onto the tummy, you should consider getting a playmat.
In this article, MomJunction presents a list of 15 best playmats for babies that you must consider.
What Is A Playmat?
A playmat is an interactive mat made from soft materials to create an exclusive play zone for a baby. The mat is usually bright-colored, has playful illustrations, and may come attached with several toys such as rattles, baby-safe mirrors, and danglers. Play mats are also called activity mats, play gyms, and activity gyms.
When Can A Baby Use A Playmat?
While playmats can be used even for newborns, they are ideal for older babies capable of rolling onto their tummies. The mat can be used for six-month-old babies who tend to roll from back to tummy and tummy to back (1).
A six-month-old will also be more curious about objects and will reach out to grab them. So get a playmat if you think your baby is six-months-old and is ready for it.
How To Choose A Playmat?
Consider the following features in a playmat before buying one.
- Easy portability: Pick a playmat that is easy to roll or fold so that you can move it anywhere in the house. Easy portability is essential if you tend to carry your baby’s toys, including playmats, during trips.
- Toys and accessories: A mat that comes with free toys and other accessories, such as tummy time pillow, is certainly a bonus.
- Multiple uses: Babies eventually outgrow their toys. Therefore, pick a playmat that can serve even when your baby is older. Several playmats have removable toy arches or expandable play areas that are suitable for older toddlers.
15 Best Playmats For Babies
1. Fisher-Price Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym
Buy Fisher-Price Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym @ www.amazon.com:
- You get five activity toys, including a piano that plays real music, with this playmat.
- The five activity toys include a baby-safe mirror and an adorable hippo-shaped teether. The teether can come in handy if your baby is already teething.
- The mat is soft and comfortable even when the baby lies on it for a long time.
- Place the piano at the base of the mat and see how the keys play music each time the baby kicks it with the tiny feet.
- Parents can control the volume of the piano. You can also set the piano to play short or long music tones.
- Place all the toys on the toy arch that goes over the playmat. The arch helps keep the toys organized. You can detach the piano from the playmat and use as a separate toy.
2. Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym
Buy Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym @ www.amazon.com
- You get to pick from three different designs, each with a different pattern on the playmat.
- The mat is made entirely of polyester and is soft enough for extended tummy time. There is also a plush pillow to support the baby during tummy time.
- Four interactive toys are attached to the arch that supports the playmat. The giraffe rattles and the elephants make clicking sounds when shaken. There is also a monkey with a teether at its base.
- You also get a baby-safe mirror that can be carried by the baby while seated.
- Push and turn the knob at the top of the toy arch, and it collapses to fold. The compact design makes it easy to fold and store.
3. Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Activity Gym
Buy Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Activity Gym @ www.amazon.com
- The mat is soft, plush, and cozy. The baby can spend a lot of time playing on the playmat without feeling fatigued.
- There is extra padding on the borders of the mat to prevent the baby from rolling out of the activity gym.
- The toy arch features five interactive toys including two electronic toys that give out light and sound like the other toys.
- A tummy time pillow is included with the playmat that is easy to fold and store.
4. Bright Starts 5-in-1 Play Activity Gym
Buy Bright Starts 5-in-1 Play Activity Gym @ www.amazon.com
- The mat can be used in five ways, depending on the age-group of the baby. In short, this playmat grows with your baby.
- You get 12 toys including electronic toys that can play light and sound for 20 straight minutes.
- The corners of the playmat fold both to the outside and inside. When you fold the edges to the outside, you extend the area of the mat. Folding the corners inwards creates a sandbox-like a play area for older babies.
- The activity gym ships with 35 plastic balls. Older infants and toddlers can play with them by converting the playmat into a mini ball pit.
- The fabric of the playmat is machine washable.
5. Baby Einstein Caterpillar & Friends Play Gym
Buy Baby Einstein Caterpillar & Friends Play Gym @ www.amazon.com
- A brightly-colored playmat with cute animal illustrations everywhere. The toy arch comes with five toys including an electronic one shaped like a star.
- You can remove the star-shaped toy from the bar, thus letting the baby play with it separately. The toy can play eight melodies, providing 20 minutes of play time.
- Remove the toy arch to create extra headroom for babies who can sit on their own.
- A baby-safe, peek-a-boo mirror included along with teether toys attached to the toy arch.
6. Skip Hop Vibrant Village Smart Lights Activity Gym
Buy Skip Hop Vibrant Village Smart Lights Activity Gym @ www.amazon.com
- The playmat is entirely illustrated with black and white patterns and shapes. The bold and high contrast art is the best to stimulate the baby’s vision, according to the manufacturer.
- The arches have in-built lights that blink when the music plays. The lights work with three AAA batteries.
- You can choose from two light modes. In visual tracking mode, the lights blink one after the another. The lights flash randomly, accompanied by sound, when you choose the light show mode.
- The other feature is the presence of several adorably shaped toys such as rattle rings, a squeaker, and a baby-safe mirror.
- You also get an adorable, puppy-shaped pillow for tummy time support. The playmat is made with soft fabric, which is free from BPA, PVC, and phthalate.
7. The Play Gym by Lovevery
Buy The Play Gym by Lovevery @ www.amazon.com
- There are five zones on the play mat. Each zone provides stimulation as per the age of the baby. You can conceal any given zone until the baby is old enough to play with that.
- The play zones include high contrast patterns, shapes, and images. You also get dangling toys attached to the wooden arch of the playmat.
- One toy is made from wood while another is made from organic cotton. The toy arches are also made from baby-safe wood, sourced from sustainable sources.
- Water-based inks are used, and the silicone parts are free from BPA and phthalates.
- A cover goes over the toy arches to convert the playmat into a play tent, which is useful for older toddlers.
8. Mamas & Papas Magic Stargaze Playmat
Buy Mamas & Papas Magic Stargaze Playmat @ www.amazon.com
- The playmat is made from soft material and comes with a tummy time support pillow.
- The toy arch of the playmat contains several pull toys that can be pulled to cause tiny lights in the arch to blink like stars.
- You can play 20 minutes of music through the built-in speaker of the playmat or even connect your very own MP3 player.
- The toy arches are removable so that the baby has extra space to play.
9. SoftTiles Kids Foam Play Mat
Buy SoftTiles Kids Foam Play Mat @ www.amazon.com
- The floor mat ships as a set of nine EVA foam tiles that you connect to form a playmat for your baby.
- Each tile has an animal outline, and you can create a mat from 13 color options. You can also join tiles from two playmats to create a larger playmat for the baby.
- The edge of the mat slopes outwards, which prevents babies from tripping while taking their first steps.
- The EVA foam is soft and works as a cushion during tummy time.
- The foam is also waterproof and can be cleaned easily, thus making it ideal for outdoor use.
- The playmat material is free from BPA, phthalates, latex, and fire retardant chemicals.
10. Yookidoo Baby Gym and Play Mat
Buy Yookidoo Baby Gym and Play Mat @ www.amazon.com
- There is a high contrast color pattern across the playmat that ships with four toys including a baby-safe mirror and a rattle. You also get a tummy time pillow.
- There are three different stages of playing: stage one is for newborns who lie on their back, the second stage is when they have a lot of tummy time, and the third stage is playing while seated.
- A small groove-like track goes over the toy arch. A battery-operated roller sways an attached toy in either direction. This movement is bound to capture the attention of the baby and works as a visual stimulus.
- The track is detachable so that you can place it on the playmat itself. Watching the toy move from side to side can be exciting for the baby.
- Fold the playmat and use the attached handles on top to carry it.
11. Tapiona Baby Play Gym Piano
Buy Tapiona Baby Play Gym Piano @ www.amazon.com
- A toy piano with several keys lies at the base of the playmat. Every time the baby’s feet hit the key, the piano keys play different musical notes.
- You can turn the piano to a horizontal position, which allows for older babies to sit and play with it.
- The toy arch contains four toys including rattles and a baby-safe mirror.
- The arch is compact and stays within reach of the baby. It is a helpful feature for newborns who cannot yet stretch out for objects.
12. VTech Baby Lil’ Critters Musical Glow Gym
Buy VTech Baby Lil’ Critters Musical Glow Gym @ www.amazon.com
- Bright colors and pattern all over the play mat. An activity panel contains a tree-shaped background with a piano at its base.
- You can remove the toy arches to create extra space. Turn the piano to a horizontal position to make it easily accessible to babies who can sit.
- There is also audio that asks simple questions and reads out words to attract the attention of older babies and toddlers.
- The dangling toys are removable and include a baby-safe mirror, rattle, and a toy that works as a teether too.
- You can remove the mat from the frame of the gym to wash it.
13. BabySeater Projector Baby Gym
Buy BabySeater Projector Baby Gym @ www.amazon.com
- A soft play mat with a projector on top of the toy arches. It projects an image of a starry sky on the ceiling, which makes a fascinating sight for a baby lying on their back on the playmat.
- The projector module can play lullabies and parents can also control how the image rotates using the projector’s control panel.
- There are four detachable toys at the center of the arch. You can rotate them with a gentle flick.
- Four backlit piano buttons on the base play different sounds when pressed. Three other buttons play baby voices, festive songs, and nursery rhymes.
- Playmat and all other accessories are made from baby-safe materials and do not contain BPA.
14. Disney Baby Mr. Ray Ocean Lights Activity Gym
Buy Disney Baby Mr. Ray Ocean Lights Activity Gym @ www.amazon.com
- A sea theme all around with sea blue colors and even a sea anemone-shaped pillow for the infant’s tummy time.
- The canopy of the playmat is shaped like a stingray. Tiny lights within the canopy can be turned on to make the mat more exciting.
- Toys are shaped like popular Disney characters and include a teether and a rattle. There is also a hand puppet that parents can use for interactive play.
- The electronic module on the playmat can also play 20 minutes of ocean-themed melodies.
15. Funny Supply Wood Play Gym
Buy Funny Supply Wood Play Gym @ www.amazon.com
- This is only a play gym frame that lets you convert any flat surface into a playmat for the baby.
- The wooden frame is sanded by hand to remove any rough edges.
- You do not need tools for assembly. It is a simple A-shaped frame that holds itself stable and is safe for an infant.
- Wooden beads and toys hang from the horizontal bar of the frame to entertain the infant. The paint used on the beads is environmentally-friendly and safe for babies.
- Foldable design makes it convenient to carry and store.
Playmats are an excellent pastime for babies that begin rolling or reaching out to objects. You also find that the baby is more engrossed than when placed on a normal surface. The playmat is indeed an essential baby-development tool!
Just make sure to check the hinges and the toy arches for their rigidity. Once your baby grows into a toddler, you can remove the toy arches and let the little one continue their play on a playmat.
What playmat did you pick for your baby? Do let us know in the comment section below.
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