Toddler on playmat

Activity Mats

Activity mats are floor mats that are designed to create a fun, safe and clean area for your baby to play.

They often have some cushioning and are bright, bold and colorful to attract baby’s attention. Activity mats provide babies with the opportunity to have tummy time, which helps develop their neck and head control.

Types of Activity Mats

Activity mats are also sometimes referred to as play mats or activity gyms, depending on the number of activities the mat provides. The activity mats are usually constructed with lightweight materials that provide cushioning for the child on the floor and have extensive designs to draw the child’s attention to them. Play mats should be designed to withstand years of use as they are quite popular among young and older infants.

Some activity mats are very plush, welcoming the infant to roll around in them. Often these mats come in various animal shapes such as a lion, hippo, bear, lamb, giraffe, frog or cow. As these mats are ever so comfortable, toddlers and some young children may still like to lay on them for watching television or reading books. These come in gender neutral colors as well as gender specific.

Some activity mats have sides on them to help keep baby contained when they can roll over but before they can crawl. Some activity gyms have large toy arches that surround the baby. These arches have toys that hang down for baby to swat at, helping to improve their hand-eye coordination. Many of these toys either light up or play music. Another type of activity gym has a tunnel like feature that the baby lays in for added development opportunities. Popular designs of the activity mat include a puzzle type mat, decorations of animals and bold colors, displays of letters and numbers or even themed characters.

Brand Names of Activity Mats

A few brand names of activity mats include: Bestever, Bright Starts and Lamaze. Bestever might be a less well-known name than others however they offer a few fun activity mats for infants. Bestever Baby Mats are good mats for tummy time as they are smooth and cushiony. Each mat is shaped like an animal and the head is soft enough to be a pillow. Babies enjoy using these mats to both play and nap on. The mats are easy to roll up and are machine washable.

Bright Starts offers a few different types of activity mats. One activity mat available is the Swingin’ Safari Baby’s Play Place. This uniquely designed mat offers different modes of play: newborn, tummy time, active discovery, crawling and sitting. There is a removable pillow that helps support baby during tummy time and the walls can be manipulated to provide a safety barrier when the baby learns to sit. It includes eight toys that can attach to the mat as well as the toy bar with one toy that can even attach to most cribs. Lights and music are also included in this mat.

Lamaze has an extensive line of developmental toys including activity mats. Their Pond Symphony Motion Play Gym Bundle includes the gym, the Shakin’ Snail Rattle, the Flip Flop Fred as well as Jacques the Peacock Play & Grow. The gym has six links and four characters, a teether plus a mirror. The arches above baby gently sway and music plays to keep the infant entertained. The toys can be removed from the gym and attached to strollers and car seats.

Prices of Activity Mats

The price of activity mats vary depending on the simplicity or complexity of the mat. The simple play mats start at about $15. These mats are fairly plain with just designs printed on them. Toys are not included with a mat at this price. A baby would use their own toys to play on such a mat and to make them interactive mats. Activity mats that do include toys, lights as well as music cost on average between $25 and 50. A good play mat can be purchased in this price range. Many play mats that have arches, tunnels as well as a very cushiony base can be found for this price. More complex activity mats with additional features such as toy stations and MP3 connectivity can cost upwards of $100.