Best Baby Play Mat and Activity Gym Reviews

Best Baby Play Mat and Activity Gym: All You Need to Know!

Entertaining your baby is an essential part of being a parent, but you also need to improve the sensory skills and help your child develop. With smaller and cheaper toys, this can still be achieved, but it will take you longer as boredom might set in quickly with these toys.

The best baby play mat and activity gym has been designed for you to save time and also allow your child to develop sensory and motor skills faster while having fun.

With so many different play mats and gym activities on the market, it can be quite daunting for you to pick the right one. Luckily, we have set out to find the best of the best, as well as ensure that you really get great value for your money.

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You will, however, still be able to find some of the cheaper mats, but they will only have limited tools and toys that can really be used for improving the development of your baby.

But before we dive into the best baby play mat and activity gym, there are a few things that you will need to consider when it comes to buying the most suitable mat for your little one.

What Is a Baby Play Mat?

Baby play mat is a simple mat which has been padded. These mats can range in different materials, thus improving or lessening the convenience as you go cheaper.

What Is a Baby Play Mat?

The play mat is not that thick, but it is adequately made for your baby to play on it comfortably. With play mats, there are usually a huge variety of toys that can be chosen from.

There are simple and basic activity centers with dangling toys hanging from them, and then you will also find some of the most sophisticated designs with lights and added music centers to help improve the mind of your little one as well.

The lights are usually ideal for improving eye movement and coordination as well as keeping your baby entertained for longer.

Why You Should Have a Baby Play Mat?

The main reason why parents should invest in play mats with gym activities is for the development of their children, while simultaneously keeping the child entertained.

These mats are also really multifunctional and since many of them can easily be folded up and carried along, they can also be used as a soft platform for a quick and unexpected nappy change.

But there are a few features that you need to consider in order to make the best out of your purchase as well as get the best value. Let’s look at a few of these features and how they impact the gym activity mat:


What to Look for in a Baby Play Mat

In the modern day, it can be expensive to raise a baby and ensure that they get the best of the best. Every parent tries always to give their children the best they possibly can, but sometimes that just is not possible.

We have selected a few features that we feel are important, but you can mix and match these features in your activity gym to save you some extra cash and also allow you to get the best possible play mat and gym activity center you can afford.

1. Padding

Baby Play Mat Padding

The padding will give you a direct indication of the comfort and the durability of the play mat. The better the mat is padded, the more comfortable the mat will be for your baby.

Many mats are layers upon layers of soft plastic with air pockets in between, but there are also foam padded mats, which are generally much more durable.

2. Colors

We recommend bright and vivid colors to make the mat more attractive to your baby. The more color incorporated in the mat, the better your child will develop their understanding of color as well as their eyes.

3. Portability

Having a play mat and activity gym which can be easily folded will be ideal for traveling and carrying along. As we have already mentioned, you will be able to do unexpected nappy changes and have a comfortable platform.

4. Activity Variety

Play Mat with Activity Variety

The more activities your baby has to choose from, the longer it will take them to get bored and start wandering somewhere else. A wider range of activities will also help the child develop their sensory skills, especially the sensory motor skills to a better extent.

5. Size

Some babies are larger than other, and some also grow at a much faster rate. By having a larger mat, you will be able to use the mat for extended periods of time; you will also have better durability.

6. Materials

The materials are important for two reasons. First, they should be non-toxic to the baby. Thus meaning that they will not harm the baby in any instance or when the mat gets hot.

The second reason for checking the materials is to make sure that your little one cannot slip and fall. Babies tend to sit upright and fall a lot, but this will be frustrating to your little one if the play mat is really slippery.

7. Electronics

Be Careful with Electronics

This is more for the luxurious and expensive play gym mats, but you will need to ensure that the babies cannot get access to the electronics and especially the areas where the batteries are put in.

This can be really dangerous for the baby, but the added addition of lights and music will keep them entertained for much longer.

By taking these features into consideration, you should be much more inclined to make the perfect choice for your baby. As we mentioned, not all of these features are essential, but they can make a huge difference to the development of your little one.

You probably won’t need all of them, but they are advantageous. With that being said, let’s look at the top baby play mats and activity centers on the market today:


Best Baby Play Mat: Our Top 5 Picks​

Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym

Batteries Required: Yes​

The Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym is operated by three AA batteries, and it is different than most of the musical play mats. Most musical play mats will make noises, but this play mat will make different noises with each kick on the different notes.

The music can be adjusted and can be allowed to play for up to 15 minutes or as short as a few seconds, depending on what the baby prefers.​

Overhead, the baby will be entertained by five toys to choose from and play with. These toys can be replaced with others as your baby grows older, but the five included have been added to help the baby develop many of their sensory skills.

The mat is also a little thicker in design and will be perfect for the baby to lie down on. Since children love to roll over on their tummies, this mat will give them the ideal opportunity to play while on their tummies. The toys can be removed and placed on the mat to make the playing easier and more comfortable.​

We highly recommend this mat for any babies to play on. The added mirror will also allow the child to see themselves and this strengthens memories when they get older and leads to a happier child.​

Pros

  • ​Well-priced
  • 5 sensory development toys which can be moved
  • Piano with different notes to improve sound and hearing
  • Offers great portability
  • Extremely colorful

Cons

  • Lacks in durability and paint does come off over time

Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym, Vintage Boy

Batteries Required: No

The Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym is one of the most multifunctional play mat and gym activity combinations on this list.

This play mat features a crossbar like design when it comes to the activity gym, and there are four toys dangling from the bars to allow your child to play while lying down in every corner of the mat.

The mat can be folded up quickly and is usually quite small after it has been folded. This means that your baby can have his play mat wherever you go and this will be ideal for taking on longer trips as well.

Your little one will also have a mirror in the corner to stare at himself, and since the mirror is large, it will pick up more background objects to keep your baby entertained for longer periods of time.

The play mat does not require any batteries and will be a once off investment into the future of your baby. Furthermore, the added plush pillow will keep your baby from falling over when it is tummy time.

We highly recommend this baby play mat for parents who love to travel, and we believe that you will have a lot of multifunctional use for it. The mat is also available in three styles with only one of them being really expensive.

Pros

  • Really affordable
  • Compact and easy to travel with
  • Durable nonslip surface
  • Once off investment

Cons

  • Toys only face one side
  • Takes some time to disassemble

Baby Care Play Mat Foam Floor Gym

Batteries Required: No

The Baby Care Play Mat Foam Floor Gym has been constructed from foam and is extremely comfortable for any baby to play on.

The mat is also one of the safest for children, and it has been tested by the European Toy Standards EN71, thus meaning it is really hygienic and also easy to simply wipe down after use.

The play mat is incredibly soft, and it has been tested with an egg: the claim states that an egg dropped from 10 feet will not break on this mat, thus meaning your baby can jump and play to their heart's content.

Furthermore, the mat provides good insulation to the child and has been tested to be slip resistant. We strongly recommend this mat for the quality and durability that it will provide to the user.

However, it is also quite expensive and unfortunately, you will need to purchase a separate activity center for hanging the toys on.

Pros

  • Provides excellent comfort and durability
  • Tested according to European standards
  • Provides great insulation
  • BPA Free, Phthalate Free, Latex Free, Lead Free
  • Trusted brand

Cons

  • Really expensive

Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym

Batteries Required: No

The Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym is one of the biggest and most useful activity gyms when it comes to the development of your child. The mat is made from multiple high-quality materials to help your child have more fun and safety.

Almost every part of the surface will make some sort of sound. These sounds range from crackling leaves to squeaker flower to entertain your little one.

There are five different toys hanging from the activity center, and all of them have been specially designed to allow your child to have improved sensory skills and also improve the hand to eye coordination of the baby.

Furthermore, there are 13 added loops for you to also add your very own toys to help develop the brain and skills of your child.

We highly recommend this mat for the value that it will provide your child with and we believe that this is definitely a contender for the best developmental play mat. It is a little more expensive than the average ones, but your child will be developing much faster.

Pros

  • 5 added toys to develop your child’s motor sensory skills
  • Durable materials
  • Makes different sounds all over the mat
  • Provides great value

Cons

  • Unfortunately, the mat is not portable

Bright Starts Charming Chirps Activity Gym, Pretty In Pink

Batteries Required: Yes

The Bright Starts Charming Chirps Activity Gym is obviously more of a girly choice. The brand has also been supporting breast cancer in women and with every purchase of their products; you will also be donating money towards fighting breast cancer.

The mat itself is very durable and comfortable for your child to play on. It also plays four different melodies and will require three batteries for this feature to work.

There are various toys also hanging overhead for your child to entertain themselves with, and we believe that these toys will be perfect for moving to the cot and even the other hanging activity gym centers.

This is the cheapest play met activity gym on our list, and we highly recommend it for all parents. Breast cancer is a huge problem in the world and the more we can give to support the fight against it, the better the chances someone else will have a child of their own.

Pros

  • The company supports the fight against breast cancer
  • Really cheap
  • Plush and comfortable design
  • Removable toys can be reused and replaced

Cons

  • The batteries are non-standard and hard to find in certain areas of the world

What Is Your Favorite Baby Play Mat?

We would like to thank you for reading this article and we hope that you can find the best play mat activity center for your baby.

If you're still confused, we recommend the Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym for the value it provides as it can be used almost anywhere you travel. This play mat and gym activity center does require batteries, but your baby will definitely be improving day by day.

We would like to encourage you to let us know what you think of our list and if you think we might have missed any of your favorites.

About the Author Amy Duncan

Amy Duncan is the founder of KindMommy, a blog where she's providing helpful information about pregnancy and many useful tips for young parents. Besides writing, Amy loves to cook and travel with her friends and family. You can also find Amy on Twitter (@AmyKindmommy).

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