Getting plenty of floor time is important for your baby’s development. Babies need time both on their tummies and on their backs, so that they can develop their neck and abdominal strength. These muscles are essential for your baby to eventually roll over, sit up on his own and start crawling.
Being on the ground also gives your baby a completely different perspective of the world and helps with his visual development and awareness of his surroundings. If you’d rather not have your little one in direct contact with the floor, a good quality play mat is one solution.
Why you should get a baby play mat
Baby play mats boast numerous other benefits too. Aside from facilitating motor and visual development, your bub’s cognitive development gets a boost as the mats provide stimulation through bright colours, textures, lights, and sounds.
It also develops their sense of touch, and gives them a safe space to explore, even when you’re not holding them. Babies can start to use playmats from around 3 months, or once they're spending time on their tummies!
Different types of play mats include puzzle play mats, water play mats made of clear plastic and filled with water and floating toys, activity gym play mats with hanging toys and storage play mats that are functional and easy to keep.
So how do you choose a good play mat? Well, you’d want something that’ll cushion your little one’s falls adequately, is non-toxic, easy to clean, and of course, blends with your home’s aesthetics. A play mat that is portable and lightweight is preferred too, so you can set it up anywhere.
Whatever your budget may be, scroll through our choice picks and get down with bubba!
Flower Tesselation Play Mat
WHAT An innovative mat that doubles as a building toy. Made from high-quality foam that’s environmentally friendly and non-toxic, the pieces of this mat can be assembled into a 3D flower bouquet or even a table. Each box contains 34 flower pieces, 34 leaf pieces and 5 white bars.
PRICE $108 (about 1m x 1.5m)
PROS Encourage junior’s creativity with this building toy when he’s older. Thick enough (1.7cm to 2.3cm) to cushion falls. Value for money.
CONS You may need more than one set to build a bigger mat or structure.
Skip Hop Playspot Playmat
FROM Pupsik Studio
WHAT This set of interlocking tiles will let junior play and explore in comfort. Made of foam, and designed and tested for babies from birth, you can configure the play mat in endless ways. Buy more than one set for larger spaces.
PROS This mat is versatile and easily customisable, no matter what your home’s layout is. Parents have reported that the mat is of great quality as well, and can even be used as a yoga mat!
CONS Like other interlocking tiled play mats, this can be a little tougher to clean.
Parklon Cloud Playmat
PRICE $175 (large, 230 x 140 x 1.6 cm)
WHAT Hailing from South Korea, this playmat from Parklon is lightweight and made of PE foam and silky fabric. It’s also well-padded, non-slip and waterproof.
PROS We’re loving the whimsical pastel cloud pattern this item has. The mat is durable, thick and very comfortable. It’s easy to clean too.
CONS Price is on the higher side.
Alzip Mat Eco Color Folder
WHAT Made in Korea, this cheerful and colourful mat is free of harmful chemicals and made of non-toxic PE foam, memory fabric and premium PU leather. It was also the first in the industry to acquire an environment-friendly certification (Korea Eco Label).
PROS Easy to clean and maintain. Also, shock-absorbent for kids who love running around and taking a tumble, and noise-absorbent for little ones who love jumping.
Baby Care by Dwinguler Playmat
FROM Pupsik Studio
WHAT Made by the same factory as Parklon playmats, you’re pretty much guaranteed quality with Dwinguler playmats. The mat also features a reversible surface, and is tested to US CPSIA, European Toy Standards (EN71 and EN-71 ABL) and the Australian Standard.
PROS The stylish designs will go well with your home interior, and multiple foam layers provide excellent cushioning for rolling, tumbling and falls. It’s also easy to clean - simply wipe with a damp cloth for food and spills.
CONS New mats may have a strong plastic smell. In certain cases, it might take up to a few weeks for the smell to fade away.
Lucky Baby Tell Me A Story Educative XPE foldable Mats
WHAT Want baby to play and learn at the same time? These mats feature bright colours, engaging characters, letters of the alphabet and fun designs. Mats fold up easily so they can be placed in a storage bag.
PROS Lots of interactive and imaginative play. Good value for money.
CONS Parents have commented how these mats aren’t as thick as they expected, and have to be folded to half the size to double the thickness.
Edushape Edu-Tiles Circle Mat
WHAT 27 interlocking pieces in vibrant colours (red, blue and yellow). This soft, textured foam mat is skid-resistant and safe for babies from birth.
PROS Fixing the pieces together will help junior develop his hand-eye coordination, motor skills as well as imagination. Easy to assemble. Helps teach about shapes and colours.
CONS Mat feels a little thin, and interlocking pieces are harder to clean.
Lucky Baby Smart Learners Educative Mats — Alphabets
WHAT Start ’em young! Teach your little ones about the letters of the alphabet with this vibrant foam mat. Each piece (32cm x 32cm) showcases a different letter that you can pop out of the foam piece, allowing junior to run his fingers over and identify them.
PROS Inexpensive. A good way to start teaching about letters of the alphabet — both uppercase and lowercase.
CONS Design looks a little dated compared to other brands.
Photos: Eebe, Koreacraze, Lazada, Pupsik Studio, Shopee
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