As every parent knows, babies start investigating, discovering, and learning long before they can stand on their own two feet. A great baby play mat can offer your little ones heaps of stimulating educational fun as they grow from newborn to toddler.
We’ve looked through the many baby play mat options out there, and we’ve come up with a list of 7 of the best.
7 Best Baby Play Mat Options
1. Infantino Grow with Me Activity Gym and Ball Pit
Your little one is sure to have a ball with the Infantino Grow with Me Activity Gym and Ball Pit! This 2-in-1 ocean-themed activity gym and ball pit is full of friendly sea creature features. Shaped like a large cartoony turtle, this adorable mat boasts a colorful design with a dolphin, a sea snail, and 6 other marine cuties. It includes four linkable sea pals (a starfish, a crab, a fish, and an octopus) that will stimulate your baby’s senses with their grasping ring, textured teething toy, rattle, and a peek-a-boo mirror.
What’s more, this fantastic baby play mat easily converts into a fun ball pit with pop-up mesh sides. To conveniently store the 40 colorful plastic balls, simply open the zip on the turtle’s head and pour them in. All in all, this tremendous activity gym and ball pit offers years of educational entertainment for infants and toddlers alike.
Ages: 0+ months
Educational Factor: This baby play mat includes a collection of toys that inspire curiosity, investigation, and discovery. They also encourage the development of basic and fine motor skills, visual development, color and object recognition, and early language acquisition.
Tech Specs: The Infantino Grow with Me Activity Gym and Ball Pit measures 24 inches wide and 20 inches tall, weighing 3 pounds. It ships in a 22.1 x 19.9 x 4.6-inch box (shipping weight: 3.4 pounds). All plastics used are child-friendly.
2. Baby Care Pingko and Friends Baby Play Mat
If you’re looking for a HUGE colorful play space for your little noise-machines, look no further! The Baby Care Pingko and Friends Baby Play Mat is the ideal play mat for kids of all ages. Super-soft to the touch, this enormous foam floor mat protects kids from painful bumps and bruises and offers tremendous noise reduction. The mat has two vibrantly colored sides. One side features a bright seaside scene, filled with friendly animals of all shapes and sizes. The reverse side features a picture alphabet, numbers, and shapes.
Kids can use it as an interactive surface—or simply as a comfy play space for their other toys. Either way, they’re sure to have a whale of a time. Soft, safe, waterproof, and fun, this awesome baby play mat is a win-win for kids, parents… and downstairs neighbors!
Ages: 0+ months
Educational Factor: As kids grow, they can learn more and more from this adorable and inviting play mat. Educational opportunities abound, from color and object recognition to basic literacy and numeracy skills – not to mention storytelling, imitation, and physical development.
Tech Specs: The Baby Care Pingko and Friends Baby Play Mat is certified child-friendly by US, EU, and Australian standards agencies. It is tested BPA-, EVA-, phthalate-, lead-, latex-, formaldehyde-, and mercury-free. It’s waterproof and easy to clean—simply wipe it down with a damp cloth. It’s also available in a large and medium size.
3. Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Play Gym
As the name suggests, the Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Play Gym is designed to grow alongside your child, offering years of educational play along the way. Stage 1 (Lay ‘n’ Play) lets your newborn lay on their back and play with the toys overhead. Stage 2 (Sit ‘n’ Play) is for tummy time and sit-up fun on the mat. For Stage 3 (Stand ‘n’ Play), remove the mat and let your junior gymnast play away throughout their toddling years.
This set comes with 12 toys and activities to discover. These include a rattling raccoon, a fox spinner, a squeezable owl, and a giraffe ball drop. The raccoon, fox, and owl are removable and attach to the ball drop to add even more interactive fun. With flashing lights, over 20 minutes of cute music, and tons of hidden features, this baby play mat is a surefire hit for newborns, infants, and toddlers too!
Ages: 0+ months
Educational Factor: This tremendous baby play mat aids your child’s development in different ways as they grow up. The stimulating colors, sounds, textures, and toys feed their curiosity. This helps strengthen first their basic sensory and tactile skills and later their problem-solving and basic critical thinking skills.
Tech Specs: The Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Play Gym measures 4.3 x 26.2 x 16.9 inches. The mat is machine washable, and all the pieces are made from child-friendly materials. The ball drop includes 5 dual-colored balls, which can be stored in a net on the underside of the mat.
Batteries: Requires 3 AA batteries.
4. Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Activity Gym
Your baby will be on Cloud 9 with the luxurious Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Activity Gym! This large play mat sports a softly colored celestial design and is jam-packed with sensory activities. Bolts of pastel and neon colors stimulate babies’ sight while the differently textured surfaces encourage tactile exploration. The mat has 2 thick cushiony cloud sections and features textured stars, raindrops, and a rainbow. For additional comfort, there’s also a separate cloud-shaped pillow. 5 adorable plush toys hang from the twin baby arches above. Squeeze the soft musical sheep to hear the classic song “You Are My Sunshine”. Get the smiley star shining with its brightly colored LED lights. There’s also a tweety-bird rattle/teether with multicolored balls, a squeaky cloud with falling raindrops, and a shining sun with a baby-safe mirror. Each toy has multiple textures that keep little fingers and developing minds engaged. It’s a heavenly play mat for any young child!
Five adorable plush toys hang from the twin baby arches above. Squeeze the soft musical sheep to hear the classic song “You Are My Sunshine”. Get the smiley star shining with its brightly colored LED lights. There’s also a tweety-bird rattle/teether with multicolored balls, a squeaky cloud with falling raindrops, and a shining sun with a baby-safe mirror. Each toy has multiple textures that keep little fingers and developing minds engaged. It’s a heavenly play mat for any young child!
Ages: 0+ months
Educational Factor: This baby play mat includes many sensory features and focuses more on texture than other options. This inspires curiosity and investigative play, which helps children learn how to learn and teaches them about the world around them. It also strengthens sensory abilities and basic motor skills.
Tech Specs: The Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Activity Gym measures 36 x 36 inches. The arches stand 19 inches high. The materials are all child-friendly and are BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free.
Batteries: Batteries not required. The batteries for the star’s LED lights are internal and when they run out cannot be replaced.
5. Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Musical Activity Gym
The Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Musical Activity Gym is the ideal baby play mat for smaller spaces. This colorful activity gym has a cute animal theme and comes with 6 linkable toys in total. There is a cute bird with a peek-a-boo mirror, a soft squeezable owl, a hard plastic butterfly, a pair of rub-and-click leaves, an acorn rattle, and a musical fox.
It has three “Grow-with-Me” modes designed for different stages of your baby’s development. In Lay ‘n’ Play mode, infants lay on their backs and play with the toys that hang from the overhead arches. Remove the arches for Tummy Time mode, encouraging your carpet crawler to push up and play on the comfy mat. Toddlers can enjoy the portable music-playing fox in Take-Along Music mode. This friendly little fellow plays fun sounds and songs, and has both volume control and two music modes (short- and long-play). The whole set is easy to fold up and take with you on the go for picnics and family trips.
Ages: 0+ months
Educational Factor: The stimulating and varied toys in the Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Musical Activity Gym encourage infants to bat, track, grab, squeeze, shake, push, and more. This boosts kids’ sensory development and motor skills. It also helps them learn about cause and effect.
Tech Specs: This product ships in a 21 x 2.5 x 16-inch box. As you would expect from a Fisher-Price product, the materials are all child-friendly. The mat itself is machine washable for easy clean-up.
Batteries: Requires 2 AA batteries (not included).
6. Baby Care Zoo Town Baby Play Mat
Go to town with the Baby Care Zoo Town Baby Play Mat! This city-sized play mat features a bustling town center scene. Kids can walk or drive their toys through the streets of Zoo Town, stopping in at the many buildings along the way for some creative storytelling fun. There’s no limit to the imaginative play thanks to the colorful airport, train station, police station, fire station, school, amusement park, and bridges out of town.
Flip the mat over for another educational scene: a vibrant alphabet with cool colors, shapes, and animals. The thick memory foam material makes for a soft and safe play zone, preventing nasty knocks and minimizing noise. The whole thing is waterproof, easy to clean, and perfect for taking out into the garden, down the beach, or onto a campsite. This all adds up to a fantastic product for kids of all ages.
Ages: 0+ months
Educational Factor: This fun play mat offers tons of educational fun. Aside from helping with color and object recognition, the city scene boosts creative storytelling, role play, physical activity, and social skills. The alphabet side helps with basic literacy and phonics development and can be a springboard to a range of language-based games.
Tech Specs: Available in large and medium, the Baby Care Zoo Town Baby Play Mat is a durable, waterproof play mat. It is tested EVA-, BPA-, phthalate-, latex-, lead-, formaldehyde-, and mercury-free and conforms to US, EU, and Australian safety standards.
7. Baby Einstein Caterpillar and Friends Baby Play Gym
Treat your junior genius to the Baby Einstein Caterpillar and Friends Baby Play Gym! This cute and colorful mat features a welcoming country house design with friendly animal pals. The mat image includes a cartoony caterpillar, frog, bird, and ladybug as well as a realistic butterfly. The set comes with six toys: a plush puppy chime, a frog rattle with colored shapes, a ring rattle with colored balls, a peek-a-boo doghouse mirror, and discovery cards with real world pictures.
Best of all, there’s a cool baby-motion-activated musical star that plays 8 classical melodies. This really is the star attraction, and it’s sure to entertain your little Einstein all the way through their toddler years. What’s more, the whole set folds up easily for garden parties or road trips. This excellent set has everything you need to keep your baby happily entertained!
Ages: 0+ months
Educational Factor: With its attractive colors, sounds, and textures, the Baby Einstein Caterpillar and Friends Baby Play Gym arouses curiosity and investigation. Infants love to explore the toys and their properties, which boosts their sensory and basic motor skills. Through shaking rattles and pushing music buttons, they learn logical thinking skills like cause and effect.
Tech Specs: This polyester baby play mat is machine washable, measures 30 x 30 inches, and weighs 2.9 pounds.
Batteries: Requires 3 AA batteries (not included).
Well, that wraps up our Top 7 baby play mat list. Did your family favorite make the rankings? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, donnierayjones.