Ah – fresh air! Everyone – young and old alike – loves the smell of fresh grass and the warming touch of the sun’s rays on a nice day.
Outdoor play is important for younger children. All children love to be outside on a warm day. There is a whole new sensory stimulation world out there, from grass and flowers to birds, insects, and even the wind.
While the best playpens and play area mats can be used both outdoors and inside, I love how they allow us as parents to bring our children closer to nature.
One thing to be aware of when taking babies and toddlers outside is their safety. Younger children have no sense of danger and can soon find their way into perilous situations if you don’t watch them like a hawk. One solution is to create a safe and secure outside kids play area where they can enjoy their toys or lie back and watch the clouds floating by.
These great play mats and playpens are no slouch inside as well. Some of them need a lot of space, but you’ll find one on the list that will fit your needs.
Here are our top choices for outdoor kids’ play area playpens and play mats.
Kids Play Area Mats and Playpens
Evenflo Versatile Play Space
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Joovy New Room2 (Room Squared) Playard
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Toddleroo by North States Superyard Colorplay 8 Panel Baby Play Yard
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Summer Infant Pop ân Play Portable Playard
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Edushape Solid Play Mat
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North States Superyard 3-in-1 Metal Gate
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Toddleroo by North States Superyard Ultimate Play Yard
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The Evenflo Versatile Play Space is an excellent portable play yard providing a safe space for indoor or outdoor play. With over 18.5 feet of space and 28 inches tall, it’s the perfect space for baby to play with their toys while mom gets on with tasks nearby.
The pack-and-play space can be set up in less than a minute and folds down just as quickly, so it is ideal for vacations and trips to visit family and friends. Its unique hinge design doesn’t require any tools, and the foldable molded handles make it easy for transport and toy storage. Once packed up, the playard is light enough to carry indoors or between rooms.
Parents can unpack the playpen in the backyard or the nursery with the reversible legs. The legs have stakes for secure stability when setting up on the lawn and the reverse sides have anti-movement pads that won’t scratch floors.
The six interlocking panels are UV weather-resistant; the mesh sides allow for lots of ventilation on a hot summer’s day. There is enough room inside for infant activities and mom; if your baby’s movements need more space, you can separately purchase a two-panel extension.
The portable playard is designed for kids from two to six years old, and when they’ve outgrown it, it is ideal for pets too. If you don’t like the cool grey color, the pack-and-play baby play area comes in cheerful multiple colors.
The Joovy New Room2 Playard is one of the best picks for a twin nursery option or playdates. With over 10 square feet, the playpen offers twice as much space for active babies, toys, and friends.
A mother wants her baby safe. The playpen supports newborns to infants up to 35 inches tall, which means they are safe and secure inside the playpen if mom needs a few seconds. Although mothers spend most of their time watching and caring for their infants, adults also need free time to take a shower or do the dishes or laundry. They don’t want the additional stress of wondering if their kids are safe. The Joovy playpen is spacious enough for mobility but high enough to provide a safe play space without confining kids.
The quality playpen is made from heavy-duty and durable fabric, and the strong mesh material is designed with 360-degree visibility. Parents can keep an eye on their little ones without disturbing them when they sleep, giving them the freedom to play and the adult the freedom of movement.
A cushioned base ensures comfort for the baby; the fitted cotton sheet is so soft, your baby can take a nap after playtime. The waterproof sheet is machine washable to keep the mattress dry and clean from accidental messes.
The Toddleroo by North States Superyard 8 Panel Play Yard comprises eight brightly colored panels that fit together in a loop. Once fixed together, the play yard encloses up to 34.45 square feet, so there is plenty of room for babies and toddlers to get busy with their toys. It is 26 inches high, so no baby will be able to escape without a wingman to give them a helping hand!
This kid’s play area is weather-resistant and sturdy enough to use outdoors, but if you want to use it indoors, there are 16 non-slip pads included to protect the hardwood floor. A folding ABC Play Mat (sold separately) is an excellent alternative to a cot blanket. It creates a comfortable and clean padded floor for playing or napping.
Made from durable plastic, the yard enclosure panels fold easily for compact storage. A carry strap keeps the panels together for storage and transport. The fence panels snap together for quick setup; the lightweight plastic is sturdy enough for infants from 6 months to 2 years olds.
The versatile baby playpen is an excellent baby shower gift. Combine it with the Supermount Wall Kit (sold separately) to act as a barrier in open-plan homes. You can use two, four, or a maximum of six panels to create the border.
The Best Choice Products eight-panel baby playpen and toddler safety play center is perfect for babies and toddlers up to the age of 4 years. Eight panels, with a baby gate, fit securely together in a loop. You have the option of assembling a square playpen with the corner round pieces sold separately.
One of the panels contains an activity board to stimulate curious babies with ball spinners and a pretend telephone. The other panels are cheerfully decorated with little bear stickers.
There is a hinged baby gate for parental access, fitted with a secure lock to keep your child safe. A safety step makes it easy for infants to crawl or step through the baby gate when unlocked.
If you are looking for a portable playpen for your child, the Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play playard is a great choice. It is a freestanding playpen for a kid’s play area. The metal frame is lightweight and can be stored easily, making it great for travel, especially as it also comes with a handy travel bag. It is also simple to assemble, for it unfolds in seconds.
The playpen’s sides are made from mesh, and there is a weather-resistant canvas floor mat. When unfolded, the playpen measures square feet and is 26 inches high.
The Edushape Solid Play Mat is ideal for use inside a kid’s play area. It is made of tough foam pieces, which interlock together to form safe, secure mats for babies and toddlers to play on. Each piece is a bright color, so your baby will have plenty of visual stimulation while playing with her toys. The Edushape mat can be added to extra sets if you need more play space.
If your toddler doesn’t like an enclosed exercise fence, the foam flooring is an excellent alternative. The collection of 25 pieces is a stimulating exercise for your toddler to assemble their play mat. It is an excellent motor skills activity, hand-eye coordination, and sensory stimulation; interlocking the pieces requires logical thinking skills.
The frame’s edges can fold upward, creating a border preventing round toys from rolling out of reach. Edges, corners, and tiles form a 40 by 40 inches mat; the pieces can also form other shapes like a cube.
The North States Superyard 3-in-1 metal gate is a simple yet effective, secure play area for babies and toddlers. Six removable and adjustable panels lock together to form a safe enclosure up to 10 square feet.
Configure the playard according to your room space and needs. Use it as a playpen to keep the baby inside or create a barrier keeping the baby safe from stairs, fireplaces, or other hazardous areas. In a large open plan living room, you can create a playing corner with the panels. Mounting hardware is included in the purchase.
The swinging walk-through door provides easy access for parents and carers, but it has a childproof double locking system to ensure kids can’t escape on your watch. Extra panel extensions are available if your child needs an additional playroom.
Stimulate your child’s learning and keep him safe with the MOTA Alphabet ABC Floor Play Mat. This kid’s play area is a bright, colorful, and educational foam puzzle mat for toddlers aged 2 years and above.
The set comes with 26 interlocking foam tiles with removable alphabet pieces. You can use the set inside a secure play area, where it will provide lots of fun for toddlers. The tiles are durable, easy to clean, and water-resistant to be used outdoors.
The Toddleroo by North States Superyard Ultimate Play Yard is a stylish playpen for discerning parents of babies aged 6 months to 2 years. There are six removable and fully adjustable panels in an ivory color. Once each panel has been clicked into place, the playpen covers 18.5 square feet and is 26 inches high, although optional panel extensions are available if you need more room (this increases the play space to 34 square feet). The Ultimate Superyard is ideal for use outside – it has skid-resistant pads to prevent the playpen from slipping on a smooth surface. The quick-access door can be opened with one hand, which is useful for busy parents.
Kids play area playpens, and enclosures create a safe environment for young toddlers and babies to play, but you do still need to supervise your kids at all times to ensure they stay out of trouble. And if you set up a playpen outdoors, make sure you keep it out of the sun, so your baby doesn’t overheat.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, donnierayjones.