Let’s face it, folks, when your little munchkin starts rolling on their tummy and crawling, it becomes hard to contain them in one comfortable place. You’ll see them on the corridor floor trying to reach for the carpet; the kitchen reaching out for the plates, and all other areas in your home. There’s nothing wrong with this kind of movement – it’s natural for babies to do that! But how can you ensure they have a safe surface to play on, roll on their tummy or crawl as much as they want? Luckily, we have a bright and colorful solution to this: Play mats! With Playmats, you can put your baby down without feeling like you are abandoning them.
Playmats give your baby an exclusive play area where they can be confined to without wandering off. They come in different varieties and have varying features. The best ones have a wide range of features like dangly toys having different textures, patterns, and sound which keep your baby well entertained on the spot. Some even come with cushion support that your baby can use during tummy-time. With play mats, babies get to master the use of their senses and motor skills while manipulating the toys around them.
Of the multitudes of play mats out there, and with so many factors to consider, it may be hard to choose one to your liking. To make things easier, we’ve looked over a number of mats on your behalf and found the 10 best playmats in the market today.
Top 10 Baby Play Mats Of 2020 Reviewed
1. Infantino Twist and Fold Activity GymBaby Play Mat For Hard Floors
Infantino’s Twist and Fold Activity Gym is the best travel-friendly playmat you’ll ever find and for good reason. With a twist on the knob at the top of the arches, the gym collapses and can be carried easily from room to room. Even better, you can do this with just one hand, while you’re carrying your baby. It can also be folded and closed using the attached velcro straps then easily brought to the grandma’s house, the park, or on vacation.
The arches are also removable so you can opt to use only the mat as a soft play space once your baby is too old for dangling toys. It comes with a large peek-a-boo mirror, 4 linkable toys, and a soft tummy time prop pillow.
The design, while vibrant, is not too “loud” and not gender-specific. It does also come with gender-specific designs like the Sweet Safari (pink) and the Vintage Boy. The animals are adorable but only one-sided. And the side of the mat that the baby lies on is the one that remains “out” when folded which exposes it to “dirt” from the outside world when you take it outside. Some parents have reported having a hard time folding the playmat while others think the mat is too slick, lacking traction for the baby.
- Plush toys
- Can be transformed into a soft play space for an older baby
- Too slick; no traction
- Folds with the mat on the outside
- The mat is a bit small
2. Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music Play MatBaby Play Mat For Tummy Time
This is another travel-friendly play mat that offers a lot of interesting things for your baby to play with as he/she grows older. The dangling toys are just the starting point. There’s a large mirror to help him/her enjoy tummy time and enjoy self-discovery. The mat itself has a lot of features that your baby will love to discover, from motion-activated music and lights on the 3D flower patch to a crinkly elephant’s ear on the mat.
The mat and toys are very colorful so you know it’ll keep your baby entertained for a long time. Storage is a breeze because you can easily fold up the mat. It’s not waterproof but it is machine-washable. You just gotta take out the sound device inside the mat.
The only negatives we see for this mat is that the pad is a bit thinner than we’d like and the sound is not loud enough to grab the baby’s attention if something else is making noise near the mat (like music).
- Lots of interactive stuff (dangling and on the mat)
- Easily folds up and comes with its own travel bag
- Music is not loud enough
- Thin padding
- The surface is a bit slick
3. Infantino Grow-with-me Activity Gym and Ball PitPlay Mat With Balls
If you want a playmat that will definitely grow with your child, then Infantino’s Grow-with-me Activity Gym and Ball Pit is just the thing. Like the name already states, this playmat is designed to grow with your child. You can use it initially for overhead discovery. Once your baby can sit up, you can easily bring up the mesh sides to create a ball pit for your baby.
The balls, by the way, are easily stored on the turtle’s head. Once your baby is too big for the arches, you can unlock them with one hand while leaving the ball pit in place. The mat itself is easy to wipe down. And the sides can also be used to transform this play mat into a mini playpen to keep your baby from rolling out of the mat.
While there are a lot of things you can do with this playmat, there’s one thing you can’t do which is easily fold it up for storage. It’s also not padded enough so you’ll need to put it on top of a carpeted floor, a rug, or a blanket. And for some babies, the mat is too small.
- Can grow with your child
- Fun and colorful play mat and toys
- Easily transformed from mat to pit
- Mat is too small
- Not padded enough
- Mat is not washable
4. Tiny Love Super MatBaby Play Mat For Twins
If you don’t want dangling toys and simply want a fun play mat for your child, then the Tiny Love Super Mat should do it. This large quilted mat is very colorful and comes with carrying handles and a detachable mirror. The mat itself is full of surprises including a ring to attach an extra toy, different textures on the quilt, a crinkly fox tail, a peek-a-boo tree, a horn, and a carrot teether.
The mat is large enough to fit two babies or just one baby that likes to roll around a lot. It is machine-washable and quickly air dries. You can store it easily or carry it with you from room to room, house to park, etc. However, the mat is a bit slippery as some parents reported. And it cannot be put in the dryer because it will break apart.
- Large space
- Sensory features on the mat itself
- Good padding
- No locking mechanism to keep the quilt folded
- A bit slippery for babies learning how to crawl
- Cannot be put in the dryer
5. Baby Care Play Mat Foam Floor GymBaby Play Mat For Hard Floors
This baby play mat from Baby Care checks all of our needs and wants for a play mat. It is cushioned, providing the baby to safely roll around, play, etc. Check. The mat is actually soft enough for you and your baby to enjoy naptime on. It is safe for babies – nothing toxic. Check. This playmat meets current US, Australia, and European safety standards; it is Phthalate Free, BPA Free, Lead-Free, Latex Free, EVA Free, and Mercury Free. As an added bonus, it is made out of 100% recyclable materials. It is easy to clean. Check. The playmat is waterproof so you just need to wipe down any spills or messes. It can go on any type of floor surface. Check. It can easily be stored. Check. And it is reversible. Check.
No need to worry about getting bored with just one design when you can have two. The playmat also comes in two sizes – medium and large. The textured surface ensures that a baby just learning to crawl or walk will have a good enough grip on the mat and not slip.
The only drawbacks are its price and the pattern. The “scene” on one side repeats itself instead of being one huge picture of different things while some parents have reported that the ABC’s on the other side (for those that chose that play mat) is not in the correct order.
- Half an inch thick
- Vibrant colors; two-sided mat
- Comes in two sizes
- A bit pricey
- Some parents have reported an initial rubbery smell (does go away)
- The ABC’s are in the wrong order
6. Baby Einstein Play Gym, Nautical FriendsPlay Mat With Lights And Music
This padded play mat from Baby Einstein is the perfect way to keep your baby interested while you’re off doing chores. It comes with a plush starfish toy that can be attached to the play gym or on your baby’s carrier and crib. Aside from a very colorful undersea design, the mat also comes with a number of toys to keep your baby occupied such as the crab bead chaser, the plush baby Neptune rattle, the sand dollar teether, and flashcards. The play gym also plays over 20 minutes of classical music and lights which can be motion-activated or set on continuous play. There’s even a whale-shaped prop pillow for tummy time and a baby-safe mirror.
The playmat is very easy to assemble though not as easy to store. One drawback of this playmat is the fact that it is small so it has a limited lifespan. The toys are not easy to attach and detach plus they don’t hang low enough for a newborn to reach.
- Very cute design
- Lots of toys included
- Plush starfish toy can be attached to crib and carrier as well
- Small mat size
- Not easy to attach and detach the toys
- Newborn can’t reach the toys when attached to the frame.
7. Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe GymBaby Play Mat For Hard Floors
This is an adorably themed playmat that can be used to entertain babies for a long time. This activity center includes a quilt with a silky border and colorful arches that have various links all along with them so you can attach various toys at differing heights. Loops are also present on the quilt to enable you to attach toys to encourage tummy time. The play gym also features three modes of play – baby motion-activated music, continuous music (20 mins), and rainforest sounds (20 mins).
One drawback is the appearance of the giraffe since they’re not present in the rainforest but your baby won’t know the difference. Another is the fact that it does have a limited lifespan. And when the time comes to retire it for good, it’s very hard to disassemble.
- Lots of toys that can be attached at different heights
- Very soft
- Easy to put together
- A bit pricey
- The lights can’t be turned off
- Hard to disassemble; not travel-friendly
8. Fisher-Price Kick & Play Piano GymPlay Mat With Piano
Now, this is definitely a small mat that your baby won’t be rolling around much on it. Big drawback there. So, why did we pick it? The piano. Yes, it’s that valuable. Your baby can kick the piano while laying down or doing tummy time while the toys on the frame can entertain him for hours. You also get the added bonus of providing him with a good exercise for his legs. Once he/she has learned how to sit up, he/she can start banging away on the keys while sitting on the mat. And when he or she starts walking, the piano can be detached from the mat and carried around by your growing child.
This is definitely a great play mat in terms of keeping your child interested and stimulated. However, the playmat could use a bit more padding though it does fit in a crib. And washing it requires untying it from the piano and then tying it back up again when it’s clean. It’s not a dealbreaker, just inconvenient for some.
- The piano
- Longer lifespan than some mats of this type
- Easy-to-reach toys
- Very small mat
- There’s no off mode for the music that automatically plays when the baby hits a note
- Sometimes, a kick from the baby can easily dislodge the piano from the arms
9. Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Activity GymBaby Play Mat For Hard Floors
We love play mats that offer lots of sensory features for a baby to explore as he grows older and the Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Activity Gym definitely fits this bill. It features 13 loops that allow you to hang toys at different heights or on the mat. You get a tummy time pillow with an ABC printed on it. The mat itself has multiple textures, a crinkling tree flap, a tactile mane (zebra), a crinkling elephant ear, crinkling bird wings, a mirror, and a squeaking monkey.
It currently meets or exceeds ASTM, CPSIA, EN71, and applicable safety standards. We do wish the mat had better padding. Also, the toys seem to hang too low/ too near the baby’s eyes. The price is also a bit steep for something that doesn’t offer much more than others similarly built.
- Lots of sensory activities on the mat
- Lots of loops for additional toys
- Meets or exceeds ASTM, CPSIA, EN71, and applicable safety standards.
- Toys hang too low
- Needs better padding
10. Bright Starts Prop MatBest Play Mat with removable pillow
This is not just a play mat. It is also a sleeping mat for your baby, thanks to the removable pillow. But that isn’t the only reason we consider it the best play mat with a removable pillow. Rather, this mat provides your kids with a lot of play options. For example, your kid can play with the leaf-shaped rattle, which produces a number of attractive sounds. Also, the mat has a beautiful frog chaser with beads. With these features, your kid’s hands will always be full.
A lot of care has been taken to cushion the mat and the pillow to make your kid as comfortable as possible. Another key feature is the whole set of attractive characters printed onto the mat. If you have more toys to attach, you can use the two extra FunLinks.
- Features a handy removable pillow
- Two FunLinks for extra toys
- Sounds from the leaf-shaped rattle
- Might be smaller than you expect
- The pillow keeps sliding
- Made from slippery vinyl
Choosing The Best Baby Play Mat – The Ultimate Buying Guide
Need a break? One of the best things ever invented for new parents is the play mat. It offers a lot of engaging and developmental activities to keep your baby occupied while you go get coffee, finally pee, or some other thing that you haven’t had time to do. This is one toy that your child will get to play with multiple times a day for several months (hopefully until he or she is past a year old).
Naturally, when it comes to baby stuff, there are a lot of things being sold in the market which makes it very frustrating for parents to find the one that suits their needs to a T. Fortunately, knowing what factors to consider when buying a play mat can help you whittle down your choices to a manageable list. And we have just the guide to teach you.
Size always Matters
Yes, your baby may be a newborn and that playmat you’re currently eyeing seems to be a perfect size. Well, think again. How long do you plan to use the playmat? Once your baby grows, he or she will be taking up more space, and even carrying him or her will be harder. Plus, when he or she starts rolling around, will you have enough space on the mat so that he/she doesn’t end up on the floor? Do you have more than one baby/kid who will be using this space? Think about your floor space. How much is available? What shape is ideal for your space?
Playmats come in various sizes and shapes. Some like the Baby Care Play Mat Foam Floor Gym and the Tiny Love Super Mat are large and rectangular. Others like the Baby Einstein Play Gym are smaller and may fit in a smaller apartment. The Infantino Grow-with-me Activity Gym and Ball Pit, on the other hand, is circular in shape.
Do You Want Arches or no Arches?
Play is very important for your baby, but when getting a playmat for your little munchkin, you have to consider how the toys are placed. Arches are ideal for overhead discovery. Your baby will definitely have a grander time staring up at toys instead of just the ceiling. Also, this frees up your hands from having to dangle toys in front of your baby to engage his attention. However, arches are not always ideal especially for travel unless they’re easily detached from the mat. Plus, a sitting baby will no longer need the arches because they’d much prefer that the toys are detached and easily played with.
If your baby is too young for sit and play mode, you’ll want arches that allow the dangling toys to hang low enough so your child can bat them away or try to grip them but not low enough that it’ll cause your baby to get cross-eyed.
It’s important that your baby’s stuff is easily cleaned and that includes his play mat and included toys. Some play mats like the Baby Care Play Mat Foam Floor Gym are waterproof and easily wiped down. Others are machine-washable such as the Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music Play Mat.
If you want to be able to take your child’s play mat with you on trips or a stroll to the park outside the home, you’ll need to find one that can easily be folded and carried anywhere such as the Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym.
You must also think about whether you’re planning on leaving the playmat on the floor or putting it away when not in use. If something is hard to disassemble, you may not have a choice but to keep it where it is.
Is it Gender-neutral?
If you’re planning on using the playmat for future babies as well, you may need to find one that’s not gender-specific (i.e. too pink or too boyish). Most of the playmats on our list fit this description, allowing you to pass down the playmat to another child, boy or girl.
What Toys are included?
A lot of play mats include toys that can be positioned on the mat or on the arches. Consider whether these toys can be repositioned for tummy time or used during sit and play mode. Also, check if the toys are washable or a safety hazard.
Music and Lights
Not all baby play mats feature music and lights. Some parents wish for it while others do not. More importantly, some babies like music and lights while others end up overstimulated. If you’re not sure how your baby will react, make sure that you get a playmat that allows you to turn this feature on and off.
The thickness of a play mat will help you determine how safe your baby will be while learning how to crawl on the mat. If he slips while trying to crawl, you’ll want to be sure that the softness of the mat will cushion his head or other body parts.
While you may read up on all the reviews and find what you think is the best play mat for your kid, keep in mind that the final judgment will not be you. It will be your baby. As some parents have found out, the bright and colorful play mat and toys were ignored or unwanted by their kids which are not always the fault of the product. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
So, to ensure you don’t end up with a product your child will not love, try to put off buying this until your baby is born. That way, if things don’t work out, you still have time to return it for something else your baby might like.