Tummy time mats are the best choice for any parent who is looking to keep their young one busy for just a few minutes. At about six months, most babies will have that urge to start moving. Others will even begin to start moving earlier than that.
How do you keep that little one scooting and crawling safely without limiting them? Well, we got something for you that will engage your baby with lots of activities and they will have fun while at it.
So, what’s that? baby play mats!
My babies loved their play mats from the start. Check out our recommendations for the best tummy time playmats and how the perfect tummy time activity mats can help in your child’s development.
The Best Tummy Time Mats
There are so many baby play mats on the market, but these are our favorite picks.
Bright Starts Sunny Safari Baby’s Play Place
This baby play mat is unique in design from the rest of the tummy time activity mats. If you need a play mat for a child that’s a little bit older, this is the best buy.
It comes with a side border that can be made to provide a “barrier wall” around your child. Of course, it will not stop a child that is determined to climb out, but it does establish a boundary for pets or older siblings.
You only have to let them know they are not supposed to go beyond the “barrier wall” when the young one is in the tummy time gym.
And when you don’t really need that “barrier wall”, you can dismantle it to create more space for your child.
Removable mirror/electronic toys– these can be detached and attached to other places such as the car seat bar.
Tummy time toys – This baby play mat comes with several toys. They can easily be attached to different parts on the arches.
Furthermore, a parent/baby can activate music and lights on the play mat.
U-shaped pillow – The infant play mat comes with a pillow that is great for babies beginning with tummy time.
Leaf-like teethers– They are great for soothing a teething baby’s gums.
- Comes with safe tummy time toys that are BPA free
- Plush toys that resemble real animals
- Extra fun-links for attaching additional toys
- Walls that work as barriers keeping the baby safe from pets or older kids
- Not large enough for the baby.
Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Gym
Fisher -price is a well-known baby brand, and for a good reason though. This playmat for infants is great for both girls and boys.
It is uniquely designed to enhance your child’s mental and physical development.
It can be used from day one of your child’s life with supervision. Once the baby is able to play on their own, there are different tummy time toys attached on the baby play mat to keep your little one entertained.
Lights and sounds – There are several modes of activating the lights and music. The baby can activate them by kicking around.
Eye pleasing arches– The arches on this baby play gym are well designed and will not be an eyesore in your living room.
Stimulating toys– with different types, shapes, and colors, this activity play mat is sure to spark the baby’s imagination. There is also a mirror attached to it.
Cushiony mat– the soft baby mat offers your kid a comfortable place to enjoy tummy time. With the jungle theme design, your toddler will want to hang around it longer.
Sounds and lights– There are three modes that you can use for activating these lights and music. The music volume is also adjustable.
- Unique design with a jungle theme
- Easy to assemble
- Assists in the motor and muscle development of the child
- The mat is a little thin
- Does not fold
Skip Hop Explore Activity Gym
Your baby hasn’t had tummy time fun if you have not used this amazing Skip Hop activity gym.
It has a distinct circular design that allows baby to have fun while seated, lying on his back and also while lying on his belly.
Furthermore, it comes with crinkled leaves and hanging animals which will surely excite the child. The soft velvety feel makes it comfortable for the baby.
Mirror with inbuilt sounds to arouse the toddlers interest
Comfortable pillow – can be used to elevate or prop the child’s neck when they are lying on their back.
Lots of toys – there are several toys on this playing mat for babies to make tummy time a lot fun
Versatile design– the design is meant for babies of different age sets
- Easy to fold up when done with use
- Easy to clean. Can be wiped or put in a washer any time
- It can be used alone or one can attach criss-cross bars
- Unique design
VTech Baby Lil’ Critters Musical Glow Gym
Does your baby get excited by music? Well, the VTech Baby Lil’ Critters Musical Glow Gym is your perfect playmat for infant.
This colorful kid’s play mat features piano keys and can be adjusted according to the child’s play position. The little one can use it while on their back or when seated.
The drum button plays exciting drum sounds.
The play mat has a forest with animal theme, which kids really enjoy.
Its one of the most interactive play mats than most others we have reviewed, it asks kids simple questions that keep then engaged.
Several dangling toys– It has 4 cute tummy time toys with varying textures and can play music and sounds
Teether- to relieve your baby’s gums, there is an attached baby teether
BPA free toys that are in accordance with US toy safety standards.
Required 2 AA batteries.
- Keyboard can be adjusted depending on the little ones sitting position
- Helps improve a child’s cognitive skills
- The twinkling lights, music and sounds help in visual awareness and stimulates motor skills
- Easy to clean infant play mat. Easily detaches from the gym for cleaning
- Can be used from birth and up to when your child loses interest in it.
Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym
This baby activity gym comes in a variety of colors and patterns that your baby will love.
A parent will love the fact that they can hang interactive toys at the top of the arch which encourages their little one to look up and reach for the toys.
Hanging toys helps in strengthening different muscles especially the hands when they try to grasp and pull them. Your baby can either lie on their belly or their back while on this activity gym.
Folds up into a compact size and takes minimal space in case you need to carry it in the car.
It has a tummy time bolster that helps support the baby while on the floor before they can learn to prop themselves.
- Cleans easily and doesn’t attract dust or pet hair
- Compact design for ease of travel
- Strong fabric
- Not spacious enough
Rule No 1: Never leave the child unattended
As always, young babies should be supervised while in the tummy time mat. You will need to keep a close eye as your baby while in the play mat.
Although there is not a lot of danger associated with them, anything could go wrong when you least expect it.
What can you expect from the most basic tummy time mat?
Also known as a baby gym or baby play mat, the most basic will come with a wooden or plastic arch, which is what holds the suspended toys.
They will also come with a mat that lets your kiddo lie on it without any discomfort for longer periods.
As the baby lies on their back, they are able to reach out to the attached toys and play with them.
Apart from the attached toys, baby play mats come with mirrors and different reflective surfaces.
Why every parent needs to buy a baby play gym
With a new baby, comes a hoard of new stuff you need to buy. You may be wondering if a tummy time gym is one of those must haves.
Well, I will not say they are indispensable, your child will just do fine without it.
However, if you can spare some extra money and get your child this, you will be glad you actually did.
Here are some benefits of a baby activity gym to your little one
Most activity gyms come with a double-sided mirror. You child spends so much time simply by looking at themselves in the mirror.
This excites them and you will catch a baby smiling or making faces at the front of the mirror.
Have you ever seen how they get excited? Well, keep a close eye on your kiddo when on the baby tummy time mat and you will be awed.
A baby lying on a floor mat is able to grab a hanging toy, activate some music or even kick the arches on the infant play gym.
There are lots of sounds and lights involved in these interactions. All these activities help to enhance their cognition.
Improving visual sensitivity
Newborns are able to see objects that are in close proximity. Baby activity floor mats are constructed in such a way that they improve visual perception skills.
The colors and hanging toys play a vital role in your child’s development.
Motor skills improvement
When a baby is using the best tummy time mat, they are often lying on their stomach or back. As they lie on their belly, they are able to exercise their neck muscles.
As they lie on their backs, they push themselves up so at to be able to scoot and then crawl. This helps to strengthen their leg muscles.
Your baby’s motor milestones will also improve and he is likely to become an early walker.
Can A Newborn Use an Activity Floor Mat?
Most tummy time mats on the market are advertised for use from birth. However, a baby who is a day old will not be amused by the activity gym.
Still, it does not come as a useless buy when the infant is a few days old. You can just let them lie on the play mat as its comfortable and well padded.
Babies from two months and above can begin to use one.
There is no age limit for a baby playmats and gym. Some kids will begin to lose interest in them once they start crawling, others will still be amused by the toys for longer.
Usually, it depends on the attached toys and various activities the child can still relate to.
So, if you are looking to buy one that can be used while the child is a little older, consider one with attached toys.
What To Consider When Looking For The Perfect Kids Play Gym
Baby activity gyms are not all created equal. Some are superior than others.
When you search on amazon for baby gyms, you will be overwhelmed by the results.
As a parent, what are the factors that you should consider before buying the best tummy time mat for your little one?
Ease of Cleaning
Babies can get a little messy. An important thing to put into consideration before you buy an infant play mat is how easy it is to clean it.
Since baby mats are constructed with padded fabric, ensure you pick one that can be washed.
Check whether the fabric absorbs liquid or can be wiped dry in case the baby pours something on it.
Check out the toys
This is probably the most important part! Toys! All play mats come with toys attached. Some are electronic, while others are the traditional ones.
Depending on the brand, the number of toys can differ from a few to several. Go for infant play gyms that come with brightly colored toys with shapes that are easy to recognize.
Do not buy a complicated activity gym with so many complex shapes that will bore the child. The shapes should be able to stimulate the child’s cognition.
There are those tummy time mats that will come with electronic toys. These electric toys are designed in such a way that they are able to stimulate the child’s interest as they learn new things.
Since electronic educational toys come with numerous merits, kids play mats come equipped with sound buttons that toddlers can push with their hands or feet.
Some even have colored lights and music features among other unique features.
However, with baby play stations that come with electronic toys, ensure you check the type of batteries used to power the electronic toys. Some batteries used may be quite hard to find.
In addition, be keen on where the toys are placed. Do not be tempted to buy one which has toys that are easy to reach.
Furthermore, ensure the toys are evenly distributed around the activity center. They should not only hang over the head, but also all around the child.
When the toys are far from the child, they are motivated to reach out for them.
Finally, ensure the toys can be detached for ease of cleaning.
When buying a play mat, make sure you get just the right size.
Although you may be tempted to buy an extra-large activity floor mat, it may not be necessary since babies do not move around that much.
The baby play gym should lay flat on the floor
An ideal play mat for your little one should have a flat mat below it or be free standing.
Do not place an infant lounge pillow, or any infant positioner as this is not good for the baby’s development.
Your baby should be able to move freely when they are using the activity floor mat. Infant positioners will restrict your toddler’s movement thus interfere with the motor inputs he gets.
Avoid Mobile Toys and Those with Lights
Do not buy a tummy time mat with light up or mobile toys at the center. You do not want the focal point of your baby to be right on top of her face every time.
You want your baby to be able to move their head in different positions.
This is good for her development as well as head shape.
It is easy to change/adjust the toys?
It’s important to change the toys and any other devices on you your baby’s tummy time mat. This is because as the child grows older, they are able to grab and play with the toys.
When you interchange the toys, it makes it more fun and interesting for the child.
It also improves the child’s developments as he gets acquainted with different items in the activity gym.
Baby Jumpers, bouncers and swings are nice, but they cannot beat the portability and convenience of the best tummy time mat.
A baby play mat is an absolute must have, not only are they great with milestone developments, but also, they are safe places you can put your baby for a couple of minutes when you need to rest.
Get one from the brands we have just reviewed, your baby will thank you!
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