If you are in a hurry to find out what is the best baby play mat, we recommend the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym as the best one.
When you have a newborn in the house, a handful of essentials help make a parent’s life a lot easier. One of these items is a play mat, a simple yet highly effective tool to keep your baby entertained when you have your hands full.
Baby mats are versatile objects, and there is a lot more you need to know about them than you might think. This is why we’ve created an essential guide to help you understand the various types, recognize their benefits, and pick out the right one for your needs.
Here is our full top picklist for the best baby play mat of this year:
- Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym
- The Play Gym by Lovevery
- Yookidoo Baby Play Gym Lay to Sit-Up Play Mat
- Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym
- Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes Music Activity Gym Play Mat
- Bammax Play Mat
- Yay Mats Stylish Extra Large Baby Play Mat
- Uanlauo Crawling play mats Reversible Waterproof Portable play mat
- Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Play Mat
- Baby Care Play Mat – Playful Collection
Benefits of Baby Play Mats
Baby play mats are an essential purchase when you have a newborn in your home. Here are some benefits of these mats that you may not be aware of.
The design play mats to stimulate your child’s visual perception skills and engage them with contrasting colors and patterns. Babies are naturally drawn to high contrast colors, and the use of these mats will help their overall visual development.
One of the most significant advantages of using a play mat is to help improve your child’s primary and secondary circular reactions. This is the act of repetition that leads to creating healthy habits in your child’s life.
After creating a sound or a movement by accident, babies will try to repeat the process to verify if the same thing happens again. This simple act helps them understand the concept of “action and reaction.”
This seemingly simple process has a tremendous impact on your child’s overall cognitive development.
Gross Motor Development
Most modern play mats come with a wide range of toys and accessories that improve your child’s overall gross motor development.
Musical accessories help sharpen their musicality from an early age. In contrast, a host of colorful and flexible toys helps them flex their little fingers and work on various actions such as pinching, pressing, squeezing, and so on.
Types of Baby Play Mats
You’d be surprised to know that play mats come in various types based on their design and utility. We discuss some of the most popular versions in the section below.
Tummy Time Mats
Placing a baby on their tummy intentionally and allowing them to engage in some playtime in this position is known to be vital for a child’s development. As babies don’t usually place themselves in this position on their own, a tummy time mat includes special features to help a baby spend time on the stomachs.
These mats tend to have pillows to support the child while they are taking a break from their backs, while a set of hanging toys helps keep the baby in this posture by engaging their playful nature.
These are one of the most common mats around and are ideal for babies who are beginning to explore the world around them and even embarking on their first baby steps.
Puzzle mats have soft foam to support a baby, creating a safe space. These mats also come with textured pieces with a pop-out puzzle shape to encourage the baby’s growth through sensory interaction.
Ball pit mats are entertaining play mats that can help convert your average play mat into a fun and delightful ball pit. These sets often include forty to fifty balls to thrill your child and engage their senses as they frolic with these fun accessories.
Some versions also include additional toys such as grasping rings, teethers and a peek-a-boo mirrors tool.
Activity gyms are similar to tummy time mats but include a few additional features to help aid your child’s growth. Some of these extra activities are movable toys, ring attachments, hanging toys and colorful arches.
These are advanced versions of activity gyms, and they tend to feature the most toys and play tools to engage and entertain your baby. Most teepees include mirrored mobile stations, hanging toys and musical features to offer your child endless hours of fun.
Some premier models also include features such as crawl-through tunnels to add an even greater layer of fun to your child’s list of activities. These play mats are the best ones you can get for your child if you don’t have any budget constraints.
What To Look For When Choosing the Best Baby Play Mat?
Here are a few factors that you should consider when you’re picking a mat for your child.
Baby’s comfort comes first before any other factors, so you must pick a mat that can keep your child comfortable across a wide range of positions.
Your baby will love spending time on the back, belly and sides, and the mat should be comfortable enough to support each of these positions with ease. It should be well-padded to help break any falls.
This relates to protecting your baby against any injuries through the use of thick and soft cushioning, but it also comes down to the materials used in the mat itself.
It is ideal to ensure that the mat is entirely BPA free and made using non-hazardous materials that are safe even if your child decides to lick or chew on certain sections of the mat.
It is also ideal for the mat to be tasteless, and the accessories that come with the product should never pose a choking hazard.
One of the biggest complaints we’ve come across with play mats is that parents can’t seem to keep the mats in place. A mat using non-slip materials is essential if you want to secure the mat in a single location.
The top layers of the mat should also be made using soft, non-slippery materials so your baby can take their first steps in safety.
This is a subjective factor, as some parents like to keep a mat fixed at home and have another handy when they’re on the move. Other parents look for a single mat with portable features, so it’s quickly moved whenever required.
If you’re looking only to keep a single mat at home, it should be portable and easy to move.
Mats widely vary from one another, based on the accessories provided by any given brand. Shop around and look for a mat with an extensive set of extras to entertain your child whenever you’re busy.
An outstanding example of this is the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym that comes with tons of accessories and even musical features to offer your child endless hours of fun.
Precautions and Safety Tips When Using the Baby Play Mat?
Baby play mats are generally safe objects to have around your home, but certain variants can be toxic for your child. You can check out this safety video below to understand which types you need to avoid when you’re shopping for a play mat.
The Best Baby Play Mat Reviews
1. Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym – Best All-Around Baby Play Mat
If you’re looking for a safe, well-rounded and comfortable play mat gym for your baby that fits right into your budget, then the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym is our top selection for best all-around baby play mat.
Opening and setting up this mat is a cinch, thanks to the frustration-free packaging system developed by the brand, allowing you to have your baby full-engaged in next to no time.
This is a play mat with a distinctive musical edge as it features a special baby piano to engage your baby through fun sounds and musical cues. Your baby will get to kick-start their musical career with this adorable mat as it allows them to play this instrument in four distinct ways as they grow older.
It features a set of five, large, light-up keys on the piano, and an intelligent three-step system will allow your baby to improve their musicality as they age. The piano can also be removed easily in case you need to carry the mat with you when you’re on the move.
Some other features of this set include five repositionable toys, an elephant teether, a self-discovery mirror, a lion rattle and a monkey cymbal.
- Soft and comfortable play mat.
- Includes a baby piano with five interactable keys.
- Piano includes three distinct stages of learning.
- Includes a host of other toys to engage the baby.
- Not large enough to accommodate a baby who has begun rolling.
2. The Play Gym by Lovevery – Most Versatile Play Mat
The Play Gym by Lovevery is a mat that accommodates the various stages of development that a baby experiences during their early years. Lovevery divides the features of this mat into five distinct zones based on your young one’s growth.
You can better understand how to use the many features of this mat with the help of a handy guide. It provides details regarding which activities are best suited to stimulate your child based on their age.
The mat can conceal or reveal its many features to appropriately stimulate your child or prevent overstimulation. It can also help your little one learn to focus, create sounds, explore their senses and explore colors.
All materials used in this product are 100 percent baby safe, and they are also FSC certified.
- Designed to stimulate your baby across five stages of development.
- Features a handy guide to best use the many accessories appropriately.
- Made using high-quality, baby-safe materials.
- FSC certified.
- Includes a play tunnel.
- Two-minute set-up and take down.
- Due to its many accessories, this mat can be difficult to store.
3. Yookidoo Baby Play Gym Lay to Sit-Up Play Mat – Best Mat for Under One Year
This three-in-one mat offers multiple features to accommodate and stimulate a child under one year of age. The three stages include a lay and play stage, a tummy and play stage and a sit-up and play stage.
You can quickly transform this mat from a play gym to a supportive seat to help your baby sit upright and continue enjoying their play time. It includes over 20 developmental activities designed to engage your baby in multiple ways.
The accessories include a motion-activated musical plane, a large and comfortable tummy time pillow, a set of multi-colored loops, a teething rattle and a large baby-safe mirror.
Despite its dynamic features, this mat is easy to set-up and store away whenever it is not in use.
- Includes three unique stages based on your child’s needs.
- Comes with over 20 developmental accessories and activities.
- Includes a battery-operated musical plane.
- Auto-lock safety features.
- Easy to fold and store away.
- Padding on the mat could be thicker.
4. Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym – Best Celestial Themed
If you’re looking for a magical and celestial-themed play mat that can double up as an activity gym, this quality offering by Skip Hop Silver Lining is just the thing for your baby.
This model includes a wide range of toys and activities to help stimulate your baby’s sight, touch and hearing. These include a musical sheep toy, a colorful LED light-up star, a bird rattle, a large baby-safe mirror and a cloud squeaker.
Your baby can rest on a large, cushioned multi-textured play mat that will aid in junior’s sensory development. They have given the mat a soft color palette, and it tends to go well with most modern houses.
This set also features a large and adorable cloud-shaped pillow to complement the celestial theme. It has a plush mink-like surface on one side, great for tummy time, while the other side has a set of beautiful stars printed across the surface.
- Celestial themed play mat.
- Includes numerous developmental activities.
- Has a musical feature.
- Contains a large tummy time pillow.
- Oversized mat is perfect for newborns.
- Uses plush materials and soft colors.
- Some parents have noticed issues with the sewing on the mat.
5. Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes Music Activity Gym Play Mat– Best Musical Mat
This is a play mat that can double up as a gym but is primarily designed to be the best musical mat for your baby. A magical touch piano helps entertain and enthrall your child to use over seventy sounds that culminate in creating close to thirty minutes of unique musical tones.
Besides the musical elements of this great mat, it is also usable in four distinct modes—laying, sitting, tummy time and take along. It also comes with seven detachable toys in case you want some quiet time without having the mat playing its signature tunes.
This mat is easily washable in a washing machine, and it is easy to clean and store.
- Great musical mat that surrounds your baby with musical features.
- Includes over 70 tones and nearly 30 minutes of unique musical notes.
- You can use the mat for lying, sitting, tummy time and take along.
- Easy to wash and store.
- The mat itself could have more padding.
6. Bammax Play Mat – Best Waterproof Mat
There tends to be a lot of spillages in the house when you have a newborn around, and you can’t afford to keep changing mats every time there is an unfortunate liquid mishap. This is why the Bammax Play Mat makes for a superb choice as it is a completely waterproof product.
This mat is also entirely non-toxic and made using BPA-free XPE materials that are entirely safe, non-polluting, tasteless and soft. Your child will enjoy spending hours on this comfy surface.
This mat is near twice the size of regular mats, giving your baby plenty of space to move around. You can use this as a play mat or even place it as a floor mat, thanks to its 1.5 cm thickness to protect your child.
The mat is also reversible and easily foldable, adding to its overall versatility.
- Made using non-toxic, BPA-free XPE materials.
- Tasteless, non-polluting and extremely soft.
- Waterproof, reversible and easily foldable.
- Ideal for indoor and outdoor use.
- Oversized play mat that can be used as a floor mat.
- Its enormous size makes it susceptible to tears.
7. Yay Mats Stylish Extra Large Baby Play Mat – Best Expandable Mat
Babies grow quicker than you may expect, which means that they usually outgrow all the toys and accessories you picked up for them in the first few months.
Fortunately, Yay Mats has thought of an elegant solution to enable their play mats to stick around longer in your home.
This is a giant puzzle mat that includes six, 2×2 feet, squares, that you can attach in various shapes, based on your house’s dimensions and your baby’s needs. You can add pieces to this puzzle mat whenever your baby needs more space, eliminating the need to buy more mats as your baby grows older.
As the mat will eventually occupy a lot of space in your home, the manufacturers have been thoughtful enough to use waterproof materials to increase its lifespan. These mats are also extra thick, easy to wipe and come with a non-slip backing to help keep the product in place.
- Made using high-quality EPA materials.
- Expandable mat that allows you to add extra 2×2 feet squares.
- Waterproof and non-toxic.
- Made by a mom, baby-tested and approved.
- Extra-thick and easy to wipe.
- The mat is quite slippery.
8. Uanlauo Crawling play mats Reversible Waterproof Portable play mat – Best Crawling Mat
They design play mats to contain your baby in a particular spot by entertaining them, crawling mats give them the space to move around on all fours and explore the surrounding area without the worry of getting hurt.
This crawling mat has dimensions of 71 x 79 x 0.6 inches, more significant, and thicker than a vast number of play mats in the market today. It is made using a thick foam cushion to protect your baby as they move around your living room or any other space.
While this is a single piece mat, it is easily foldable and reversible to increase its overall useability. Each side has a distinct color, texture and pattern to change the look, feel and purpose of the mat entirely.
This mat is also skidproof, allowing it to stay in the location you want to use for your baby, and it contains non-toxic parts throughout.
- It is thicker and softer than most mats.
- Foldable, reversible, skidproof and non-toxic.
- Waterproof material that is easy to clean.
- Made using 100 percent BPA free materials.
- Does not come with a storage bag.
9. Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Play Mat – Best Budget Mat
If you already have plenty of mats at home and you need a great budget selection for emergencies or to carry to other locations, then the Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Play Mat is an excellent selection in this category.
They made this handy mat using a comfortable plush padding to keep your child comfy when they are on their back or belly. It’s easily folded into a compact size in case you need to carry the mat with you when you’re on the move.
They have designed this mat using great thought and care. It features soft padded mirrors that help improve your baby’s facial recognition and promote engagement. It also comes with an adorable carrot teether to keep your child busy and entertained.
- Great mat for a great price.
- Made using plush materials.
- Easy to transport and fold.
- Uses playful textures.
- Promotes facial recognition.
- Includes a soft padded mirror and a carrot teether.
- Mat can be a little slippery.
10. Baby Care Play Mat – Playful Collection – Best Reversible Mat
Reversible mats can be great to have around your home as they come with distinct colors and textures on each side, and they can make a tremendous impact on your baby whenever you flip them. According to our research, this model by Baby Care is the best reversible mat in the market today.
This is a large, one-piece mat that is as big as a queen-size mattress, giving your child plenty of space to move around, with no threat of injuries. It uses innovative cushioning that dulls any falls, and Baby Care tested it by dropping an egg onto it from a height of 10 feet. Yes, the egg stayed intact!
Not only is this mat reversible, but it is also entirely waterproof, and it comes with a two-year warranty, which is rare for play mats.
- Reversible and waterproof mat.
- Uses an innovative padding system to gently break baby’s fall.
- Made using materials that don’t include BPA, lead, latex or formaldehyde.
- Includes a two-year warranty.
- Can be difficult to keep the mat in position as it isn’t skid-free.
The Final Verdict
You can’t have a baby at home and not have a play mat handy to entertain them and keep them safe! This is why we went with a wide selection of mats to help you find what you require to suit the needs of your home.
Some parents seek musical mats for their kids, while others just need an ample and protected space to let a baby roam free. It is entirely subjective, based on the dimensions of the home and the age of the baby.
According to our research, the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym is the best overall mat as it has musical features, is well padded, offers a large space and also comes with a ton of accessories.
If you aren’t looking for any particular mat, this will make an excellent addition to your home and your baby’s development.