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Keep Babies, Toddlers, & Young Children Entertained With a Playmat

Why use a playmat?

Playmats are great for babies and toddlers, providing a soft and safe space for them to explore, enjoy tummy time, and practice crawling. Many have features that help babies and toddlers develop motor, hand-eye, sound, and visual skills through interactive textures, materials, toys, and games.

Use a playmat in a dedicated nursery or playroom or lay one out in a common area of the home. If you have hardwood floors, they provide a soft and comfortable spot for baby to lie or sit on. Even with carpeting, baby can enjoy his or her own dedicated play area.

What types of playmats are available?

Some playmats appeal to babies as young as one month old, and others are designed for toddlers aged 3 and up.

They come in square, rectangular, and circular shapes. Puzzle-style playmats are great for older kids aged 3+ as they (or you) can pull the pieces apart, rebuild a new play area, and expand with additional pieces as needed. Meanwhile, activity playmats with features like peak-a-boo games, mirrors, crinkle toys, teethers, sensory sounds, and hooks to attach toys, are ideal for curious babies.

Many gym activity playmats have arches with hanging toys that baby can play with while lying down or sitting up. Playmats for babies often employ themes like safari or alphabet, while ones for older kids feature race car tracks they can run toy cars along, or a hopscotch board for fun, active time. Some even have light up, battery-operated features for added stimulation.

Reversible designs include bold and bright colours on one side for play time and a more neutral pattern on the other so you can leave the mat out 24/7 in the living room or den and flip it when it’s tummy time.

What to look for in a playmat?

Look at the material, which is usually non-toxic cloth, foam, or polyester. You’ll want something that is machine washable, or at least easy to spot clean with cold water and mild detergent in the event of an accident or spill. You’ll also want something that is durable and can withstand a child tugging at it and exploring vigorously with the various activities or toys.

If it’s going to sit on hardwood floor, look for thicker material that’s anti-slip so it won’t move around while baby is crawling or playing. Consider size, as well, so you get something that will fit nicely in the space you want to use it in.

If you plan to move it from room-to-room, take it with you on-the-go, have limited space, or want to avoid the family dog using it as a bed, look for one that can easily roll up for transport or to put away. Some even come with carry handles and/or carry bags for travel.