I’ve spoken about my obsession with Lovevery many times before, specifically their Play Gym, which goes from day one to about a year (basically you progressively remove parts of it till there is only the mat). I found it the most useful from three to five months when baby was developing his hand-eye coordination – he loved grabbing and pushing the various dangling toys. After that, it was a great place for him to learn how to roll (it has different textures, flaps etc to encourage exploration). Babies need a safe, open space to practice rolling and I love this mat – and the others on this list – because they allow this while offering visual stimulation. Plus, they’re actually pretty, so you won’t mind having them in your home.
But what can you use after baby has outgrown an activity gym like the one pictured above? Keep reading!
First off, just because the below provide a safe space for 0-5 month olds, my personal opinion is that before five months, a play mat like the one above, with bells and whistles, is absolutely beneficial. Get one with hanging toys and visual stimulation on the perimeter. This will help support your baby reaching milestones of both the body and brain like tracking, grabbing, etc. Plus, it will help foster independent play, so you as a caregiver can also get things done.
After that, you might think any soft, safe space with room to move will do, and that is true, but it’s nice for baby to have their own special, dedicated space to learn and discover. We’ve already highlighted Coco Villages awesome options (still a highly recommended favorite!), but if you’re looking for some other options, here are three with “grow with me features” that make them useable for years to come while providing your toddler a soft place to lay, crawl, walk and, of course, fall.
This UK brand makes straight forward, non-toxic, practical play mats that are built to last. They’re easy-to-care for antibacterial mats that just need a wipe down with a gentle cleaning solution and cloth. Plus, they’re not only stylish on one side, but each mat is reversible! As for the actual material it’s made of, the memory foam removes the wobble issue and instead provides support to strengthen joints. Every mat is responsibly manufactured and independently tested – they pass the same level of testing as a teething toy.
These one-piece reversible foam mats are not only stylish, but eco-friendly. Designed by a mom of three young kids, there are eight designs available, each of which is engaging enough to get your toddler’s attention, but neutral enough to blend into most home decors. All mats are 100 percent non-toxic, so you can feel good knowing the tots are crawling, jumping, running and even sleeping on these surfaces. Plus, they roll up easily for storage.
If you’re looking for a break-apart play mat option, checkout The House of Noa. You can pick how many tiles you want to fit a space as big or as small as you like. The patterns are neutral enough to beautifully complement just about any decor and they’re totally non-toxic. If you’re lucky enough to have space for 8 x 10 your toddler will have a ball rolling all over the place!