The 7 Best Baby Play Mats to Buy in 2018

Keep your little one entertained and stimulated in their first year

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With the crib and car seat, a couple of onesies and some bottles on hand, you might think that you’re pretty well-stocked for at least the first few months of your baby’s life. Without the perfect play gym, though, your baby’s entertainment will be sadly lacking. Yes, it’s true that for the first few months a newborn spends most of the time eating and sleeping, but once he hits about four or five months, you might be surprised at how alert, and even active, your little one becomes.

The perfect baby play mat will not only provide your kid with a safe and clean spot to lounge on the ground, but it will also provide tons of important things that your newborn will enjoy experiencing, like bright colors, different textures to touch, the perfect place to practice tummy time, and maybe even some auditory options to boot. There are a lot of play mats on the market today, but we did some digging and found the cream of the crop. The following are some of the best play mats you’ll find today, no matter what type you’re looking for.

1

Best Overall: Fisher-Price Rainforest Music & Lights Deluxe Gym

fisher-price-playmat
Courtesy of Amazon

If you are looking for a play mat that has it all, the Amazon Choice Fisher-Price Rainforest Music & Lights Deluxe gym not only provides a comfy spot for your baby to look around it also has music and 10 toys that can be removed to keep your infant from getting bored. Your little one will get a kick out of how the mat responds to their movements with sound and lights helping encourage their gross motor development. You can also set it to play 20 minutes worth of music to help soothe your cranky baby.

When you are on-the-go this can easily be folded up and transported to grandma and grandpas so your child can get some tummy time wherever it is needed.

Parents can attest that their child is mesmerized by all of the colors and sounds this play mat has. A lot love that they can take their child's favorite toys from the mat in the car or stroller to keep baby (and mom and dad!) happy.

2

Best Budget: Bright Starts Charming Chirps Activity Gym

For all the entertainment they provide, play mats aren’t necessarily the cheapest thing you can buy for your baby. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to keep your kid engaged, though. Bright Starts Charming Chirps Activity Gym is an Amazon’s Choice product that comes with a bunch of comparable toys to them.

As an added bonus, purchasing the Pink Chirps Activity Gym will help support the pink power mom program, which benefits breast cancer charities nationwide. This also comes in two other colorways.

3

Best Active: 5-in-1 Your Way Ball Play Activity Gym by Bright Starts

Another Amazon’s Choice product, the 5-in-1 Your Way Ball Play Activity Gym has absolutely everything your baby could ever want to keep entertained while also learning. The mat itself can be folded up to create walls that will keep your little mover contained and safe, while the imaginative lights and 20 minutes of provided melodies will stoke your child’s creativity.

When folded, this mat can act as the perfect play gym to be filled with bouncy balls, or leave it as is for stimulating engagement on the ground with the toys, crinkle fabrics, rattles, tunes, and so much more. The mat comes with 10 detachable, take-along toys, 35 balls, and music. Its multi-use function can be put to the test for tummy time practice, easy lay and play, sit and play, as a ball pit, or ball drop.

What's great about this playmat is your child will love it way past infancy so they can play with all the balls through toddlerhood giving this registry-must an extra shelf life.

4

Best for Tummy Time: Skip Hop Baby Treetop Friends Activity Gym

Your young child may still spend most of her time on her back, but practicing tummy time is essential to building those head and neck muscles that will be so important for use in the future. Not all babies are born loving tummy time, unfortunately, so setting your kid up for success with an engaging play mat to stimulate and enhance tummy time is a great idea.

The Skip Hop Baby Treetop Friends Activity Gym/Playmat is just that because it comes with a tummy time pillow that can help transition your baby to laying down flat comfortably. The pillow can rest under their arms which will help prop them up and help them adjust to lying down without it (the ultimate goal).

This product also includes 17 developmental activities, nature-inspired graphics and textures, five playful multi-sensory hanging toys, 13 loops to hang toys low or high or on the mat itself, as well as multiple fabrics and activities directly on the mat, including crinkle leaves, a squeaker flower and a baby-safe mirror in the tree trunk. This mat helps keep your baby entertained for as long as she needs to be on her stomach while engaging her with friendly faces and multi-sensory features.

5

Best Travel: Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music Play Mat

Bringing your baby’s favorite playmat along with you on your family adventures is a great way to keep him entertained, but it can be a hassle to pack everything up easily for transport. The Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music Play Mat makes travel easy and doesn’t skimp on the activities, either.

Stimulate your baby with music and lights, a large mirror for tummy time play, and classical music, all available in this mat that is machine washable and folds up flat for ease of travel. Did we mention it is a machine washable? With spit up and blowouts that are bound to happen you'll be washing this quite often. 

6

Best Large: Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Mat

Provide plenty of space on baby’s play mat for early play dates, or simply get a mat that’s big enough to keep both your babies on it at the same time! The Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Mat is an Amazon’s Choice product that parents love for its extra-large functionality, as well as the features including tons of fun activities and discovery for baby, all built onto comfy plus padding that folds easily into a compact size for travel.

This mat is extra plush making it a nice spot for mom and dad to lie with baby. It comes with a mirror which might help distract baby when it is tummy time and an adorable carrot teether that will help soothe achy gums.

7

Best Teepee: Skip Hop Baby Infant and Toddler Camping Cubs Activity Playmat

Skip the standard playmat and provide your baby with something a little more special. The Skip Hop Baby, Infant, and Toddler Camping Cubs Activity Gym and Playmat is the perfect precursor to the days when you will take your kids on a real camping trip.

This play mat has 17+ developmental toys that will entice all of their sense, with a light-up firefly that will delight their eyes, a bear rattle that will help with sound and a wooden teether that not only will be a favorite when teething strikes but it will also soothe while it plays music.

When baby starts to crawl they'll love zig-zagging in and out of the soft support that holds the whole unit up. Parents love the way this looks in their baby's nursery or in the living room.

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