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Having a kid is one of the blessings of becoming a parent. When that sweet little cutie comes along, it will need to play and lie around. As a parent, it is vital to ensure your kid enjoys the benefits of a safe and comfy home.
If you are out and about looking for the best playmats for babies, you are in the right place. We will review for you some of the best, comfortable and safest baby play gyms that you can procure for your child.
Why would your kid need a baby play gym?
When you child starts to spend more time awake, he will get bored and probably start crying. At times he might need to be carried around and refuse to be put down.
This is the perfect time to look for an infant play mat. This could be anything from a bouncy chair, or an advanced Moses basket with music, toys or mirrors-don’t worry, most of these fixtures are safe for your baby.
Tummy time mats are designed to keep your kid(s) busy and give you ample time to attend to other chores. These play mats stimulate your kid to play around thus enhancing faster mental and physical development. Once your child becomes responsive to external stimuli (which starts at about 3 weeks old) it’s okay to introduce baby play mats to them for faster development of their motor skills.
However, the best time when kids can enjoy play gyms is when they are three months old. Let’s have a look at some of the outstanding baby activity mats.
Best playmats for babies
The Musical Pick
Examples of musical pick playmats include Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym, Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Step ‘n Play Piano, Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights, Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights and Goolsky Baby Play Piano Gym, Activity Toys with Flashing Lights.
Most of these baby activity mats are designed to keep your child busy while sitting or on his tummy. They are made up of Pianos, lights and other removable fixtures that dangle upon the baby’s movement. Some devices can play the musical notes for even 20 minutes upon a single kick by the kid.
Even if you kid is a fussy one, the musical tummy time mat can get him to quiet down and start kicking the detachables. There are three ways a kid can enjoy the musical pick play mats: during tummy time, lay and play and take-along.
Imagine how much chores you would have completed or how much you would have rested as your kids enjoy the play gym. Nevertheless, there is one thing you need to know; even the best playmats for babies do not have ample space for your kid to roll over from one place to another.
If you want your child to have the best exercise and be entertained as well, you might want to get him/her a musical pick play gym. Its versatility stimulates both his/her mental and motor skills development. You will need to replace the batteries (Mostly 3 AA type) often.
Let’s have a look at the advantages of some of the activity gyms in this category
1. Goolsky Baby Play Piano Gym, Activity Toys with Flashing Lights
- Offers four ways a kid can play i.e. tummy time, sit and play, lay and play and take along.
- Its equipped with a that can help lull the baby
- Its mat is soft and comfy
- The baby gets rewarded with music when he/she kicks the keys
- It’s made of pure cotton cloth
2. Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym
- Has five toys and a mirror to entertain your kid
- Rewards a kid with music when he/she hits the piano keys
- Plays music for up to 15 minutes
- Has several toys including elephant clackers, a hippo teether, rollerball frog and many others
- Has 4-ways to play; tummy time, sit and play, lay and play and take along.
The Versatile Pick
The versatile pick is composed of several baby jungle gyms. The common ones include Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Activity Gym and Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym, Vintage Boy. These two (and several others) versatile pick play gyms are packed with over 15 fun activities for your kid to indulge in.
It’s also equipped with soft mats that offer your kid a soft landing as he tries to reach for the plush dangling toys. The removable arches as well make the diaper changing process less strenuous. The versatile pick is preferred by many parents because of its subtle design and colors.
What you need to keep in mind
The versatile pick baby play gyms have removable/interchangeable characters. This allows you, as a parent to attach a different device like animal toys that suits your kid’s desires. This gives your kid a chance to focus, have a feel of different textures, and learn to shake and crinkle stuff.
Skip Hop is costlier than other play gyms in this category and doesn’t have mechanized sounds or light. Nevertheless, it’s still the best if you want your baby’s coordination and grabbing of things to improve. Any kid from birth and up can find it entertaining.
The budget buy
This group represents some of the cheapest yet the best playmats for babies. Not all of us have the same financial capacity, but that should not limit us from buying playing mats for our kids. Remember cheap doesn’t necessarily translate to inefficient.
It’s just a matter of complexity. The budget buy playmats may not have many mobile devices attached to them, but with a little imagination, you can still add some fixtures to give you baby enough stuff to play with.
One of the best tummy time mats in this group is the IKEA Leka Baby Gym. Besides being cheap, it still provides your kid with a soft play place with additional 3-4 plush play toys to entertain your child. It can be used right from birth and doesn’t require any batteries.
Other playmats that can belong to either the budget buy, the versatile pick or the musical pick include;
Earlyears Fill ‘N Fun Water Play Mat
This mat is cheap but still excellent in giving your child a perfect tummy time activity. Its water play mat is made up of 5 ocean pals that your kid can move around for tactile and visual fun.
It serves to improve your baby’s motor skills, social skills, and cognitive abilities. It’s also great for sensory stimulation. It’s suitable for kids aged 6 months and above.
Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Musical Activity Gym
Fisher Price 3-in-1 Activity Gym is considered one of the lower end but best baby play gyms you can buy for your kid. They have five attachable toys, 2 soft overhead arches that can fold easily, and take-along music toys that produce fun sounds for quite a long duration. Its soft padded mat can be easily cleaned with a washing machine.
Fisher-Price Baby’s Bandstand Play Gym
This musical play mat grows with your baby. It’s equipped with four attachable toys that produce musical tones when the baby kicks it. Its electronic attachments can be removed during machine washing. It also comes in cool design and subtle colors that can excite your kid’s emotion.
The Stylish Mat
Stylish mats are top picks for many parents that wish for something that is a bit out of the norms. These mats usually come with a tummy time pillow, dangling toys, and a mirror. They also come in several themes-like fashionista pink, baby animals and vintage boys.
This gives you an opportunity to choose the design, color or the style you like most. Common example in this group is the Infantino Square Twist and Fold Activity Gym and Infantino Pond Pals Twist and Fold Activity Gym and Play Mat. They also don’t use batteries.
The Precious Pick
The precious pick infant gyms and mats are a bit costly, but the price is always worth it. They have a fabulous marine environment with sea creatures surrounding it. They provide an impeccable environment that stimulates a child to play and learn new skills.
However, most of the mats in this group should come as additional and not the main play thing. An example of a mat in this category is the Land of Nod Be on the Sea Activity Floor Mat.
Other incredible picks include;
Mamas & Papas Octopus Playmat and Gym
There are some kids who find it less fun to engage in tummy time activity which is largely recommended by pediatrics as it strengthens the arm and back muscles. The slopping/sliding octopus face supports the child’s head and chest making him comfortable on his back as he dangles toys.
Its interactive features also ensure complete development of a child’s senses like sight, sound, touch among others. It’s suitable from birth and you only need to wash its external surface only.
Mamas & Papas MAGIC Stargaze Playmat & Gym
Mamas & Papas MAGIC Stargaze Playmat & Gym’s main function is centered around improving a child’s key senses; sight, sound and touch. It’s equipped with touch pads, plush toys, removable hanging teether toys, magic card pack for music, a movable mirror and arch tummy time cushion. The musical card pack is mp3 compatible.
Hence, you can add your own music to the existing collection. Most of the toys on this playmat can be replaced with what your child likes. Additionally, changing the toys frequently helps the kid learn different textures, designs, and colors.
36pc ABC Playmat Eva Foam
There are those parents who wish their child to be bright right a few months from the birthday. If you are such a parent, then getting your kid a 36pc ABC Playmat Eva Foam will help to stimulate his/her cognitive ability.
36pc ABC Playmat Eva Foam is made up of an electronic baby keyboard, animal refrigerator, and Puzzle Egg. The puzzles are simple to demystify thus allowing your child to have fun while learning.
This can gain you some free minutes to attend to other pressing issues or continue with your novel-even mothers deserve free time to read their favorite books or catch up with some latest TV shows.
36pc ABC Playmat Eva Foam can go hand in hand with Baby Care Play Mat as the latter is also equipped with bold letters and numbers that help kids develop their cognitive skills early. Their surface is stuffed with soft materials that provide a soft landing, rolling or tumbling.
Other advantages of 36pc ABC Playmat Eva Foam & Baby Care Play Mat
- They are great floor insulators
- They are easy to clean( wipe the surface with a soft damp cloth)
- Hygienic and safe
- They are the best for stimulating a child’s cognitive growth.
Children’s Water Play Mat
This is one of the simplest and cheapest playmats you can grab for your toddler. Fill it with water and let your toddler jump on its squishy surface for ultimate entertainment. The make believe sea creatures in the playmat’s pond makes kids feel enthusiastic about tending to their own aquatic animals.
Pad Blossom Farm Sit Me Up Cozy Inflatable Seat Play Mat
Unlike many other baby activity mats, Pad Blossom Farm Sit Me Up Cozy Inflatable Seat Play Mat is a unique mat that combines a play environment and a soft resting area for your kid to play and rest. The ability to fold into a nest makes it perfect for many kids.
Some are fitted with ponies and detachable toys for entertainment and learning. It’s durable and easy to use. No battery required.
Advanced forms of this play mat come with a play nest and an inflatable ring for rest during playtime. An example of such an advanced play mat is the NEW Baby Inflatable Seat Baby Play Mat Game Pad Blossom Farm Sit Me Up Cosy.
Tiny Love Super Mat
Tiny Love Super Mat has an extra-large cushion mat that provides adequate space for the toddler to play or crawl around. The mat sections are painted in different colors and textures to give a child much to explore. It’s easy to wash and can still be used as a picnic blanket.
Tiny Love Gymini Move and Play Activity Gym
This is one of the play mat gyms that adjusts to your child’s developmental needs. It has all the features of the Tiny Love Super Mat and additional seven adorable toys, electronic light, sliding arches, music and seven melodies. This play mat provides your child with plenty of fun and educational activities to do.
The movable arches make it possible for the parent to spend some time with the kid while in the infant play mat. The easy adjustability of arches makes Tiny Love Gymini Move and Play Activity Gym the best travel companion as it can be folded and stored easily.
Developmental advantages of using the best playmats for babies
Best boy playmats and baby girl playmats provide kids with many advantages apart from entertainment. Most parents buy them in order to keep the kids busy while they do other things but that’s never the case.
As far as you might be inclined to believe that your toddler is too young to grasp any concept, baby activity mats work wonders in unlocking and improving their cognitive and motor skills.
Occupational therapists recommend the use of play gyms and floor mats a few months from birth up until the crawling stage. However, some kids find them fun and continue to use them beyond that stage.
So why are they so great?
At about 4 months or 6 weeks, a child learns through the cause and effect mechanism. When they hit something accidentally and it produces the desired effect, they are likely to repeat the procedure. This is termed as “primary circular reactions.”
At 4-8 months, the child intentionally repeats the action because it’s fun. This is called “secondary circular reactions.” Secondary actions involve kicking or grabbing the toys so they can produce sound. Through the cause and effect, logic begins to creep in and they will repeat their actions time and time again seeking enjoyment.
Visual perception benefits
Babies are born short-sighted and in order to develop their visual skills, many baby play mat manufactures make play gyms with highly contrasting colors. The dangling dolls also come in bright colors to help the kids have a clear picture of what they are grabbing.
Motor skills benefits
Baby play gyms are the best in improving a child’s motor skills. The dangling dolls encourage the kid to stretch its arms and muscles-which is also a perfect form of exercise. These motions help the child to develop their tummy muscles as well.
Most baby gyms nowadays are fitted with mirrors. This gives toddlers a chance to look themselves in the mirror, laugh at their image or pat it. Continuous practicing makes them aware about themselves. Besides all the aforementioned benefits, infant play mat or gyms are great because:
- They are easy to wash
- They are portable
- They confine your kid in a safe place even in a disorganized place
- Easy to customize by adding new toys or arches
- They are fun for kids
- You can replace/remove what you don’t like
Making a choice
A baby floor mat, tummy mat or activity gym (whatever you call it) is an essential item to have the moment your child starts to respond to the stimulus environment. Whatever your choice is, it should be based on the price range and the style/design that you think will intrigue your child.
Online baby play mat reviews should assist you to get the best playmat. Help you kids explore more around them by getting them one (or several) of the above listed best playmats for babies.
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