How to pick the best Baby Activity Mat – Buying Guide
It is a cute sight to behold a baby exploring how well it can stretch, bend, grasp, perceive objects and do many more activities to stimulate its basic senses. This is why the best baby activity mat reviews are popular among first time parents and seasoned ones who recognize the numerous benefits of such baby gear.
It is really not about getting an affordable product that counts. The saying, “You get what you pay for” applies to so much of baby equipment, this one included. It is not because you just want to have a soft mat with two arches and toys suspended on the arches that dangle overhead. There are a lot of products that offer music, tummy time pillows, lights, baby-safe mirrors, a variety of textured materials and even kick-activated pianos, which are elements that can stimulate baby’s yet undeveloped senses to become fully activated. It may just be a space for baby to lie on, look about or play in but the benefits definitely go way beyond that.
Professional occupational therapists have proven how a simple baby activity mat for Christmas could ultimately allow a baby to effectively learn the basics of cause and effect. In the early months, it has been proven that babies love to engage in something that Swiss philosopher and developmental psychologist Jean Piaget called “primary circular reactions”. This term is used to denote a baby’s tendency to repeat an action that it initially did by chance . Simply batting a toy is something that a baby finds fun and exciting. At a later stage, the baby starts to intentionally initiate these actions and repeat them, making the actions “secondary circular reactions”. The baby expands its repertoire to grabbing, kicking a toy to make it light up or pulling on it to elicit sound. This enables baby to play some sort of association and logic game that makes it recognize how one action leads to results.
Play objects that are on the arches of the best rated baby activity mat should carry a lot of bright colors that contrast with one another since babies are as near-sighted as they can get when born. When they reach 4 months of age, babies develop their perception of depth, stimulating them to grasp and reach for objects hanging overhead. This promotes visual understanding and comprehension while developing their limbs to become stronger and more flexible not just at grasping but at reaching beyond what they can grasp.
Do include in your shopping list a product from Black Friday deals with a small, baby-friendly mirror, so baby can look at himself and smile in response to the smile it sees there. Baby can laugh or pat at this friendly image or make faces at it, which can develop self-awareness in the young child.
A baby who lies under a great product with colorful arches and toys for regular times every day gets to develop gross motor skills that help it develop a stronger body and reflexes. Tummy times are spent strengthening the arms, neck and back while developing hand skills that also include grasping and reaching. This will also help prevent flat spots from developing on a baby that lies down on its back more often than it does on its belly. All the features presented above will be found in what many experts call the best baby activity mat 2018.
Things to consider:
- The detachable and high-quality play mat or pad that it has and that can help baby stay comfortable on her tummy or back as she develops various senses and motor skills
- The use of bright and contrasting colors, aside from basic white and black, to effectively meet baby’s vital expanding visual and developmental requirements
- Washability of the wash pad and the soft plush toys and the various fabrics used in the construction of the structure
- Strong materials and durable craftsmanship in the hanging toys and other play mat elements, which ensures the absence of choking hazards
Top rated baby activity mats in 2018
Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym
The Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym is constructed of multiple fabrics that offer texture and ensure comfort to baby as she explores the various activities on the mat. Those activities include squeaking the flower, crinkling leaves and smiling at herself on the baby-safe mirror. The Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym offers 17 different developmental activities plus five playful multi-sensory hanging toys that are perfect for babies ages 0 and above. There’s so much to do on the oversized round mat surface! This innovative Activity Gym is made of soft patterned linen, and toys in various attractive colors are suspended on the arches. A matching supportive Tummy Time pillow helps baby remain comfortable while being active on the mat. A mirror and sounds on the mat surface make gym time more fun.
Fisher-Price Kick-and-Play Piano Discover ‘N-Grow Gym
The Fisher-Price Kick-and-Play Piano Discover ‘N-Grow Gym offers a lot in store to help baby develop and grow smart and bright. It helps strengthen his motor skills as he kicks and stretches on the comfortable mat. The toys and various other playful elements help enhance his eye-hand coordination as he bats at them and grasps them in his hands. When he kicks the piano, it elicits music, which encourages him to do it again and again because it’s really a lot of fun! The arch can be taken down and the toys and mirror unlinked for tummy time play. When baby is able to support himself on his own, he can play on the piano with his hands. This activity mat can help promote baby’s self-awareness and stimulate his visual perception.
Baby Einstein Caterpillar-&-Friends Play Gym
The Baby Einstein Caterpillar-&-Friends Play Gym has a big and soft mat where baby can lie on her tummy or on her back to explore the activities that can be enjoyed with Caterpillar and her friends. The mat plays dancing lights and classical music that stimulate baby’s brain and develop her sense of sight and hearing. Six activities provide hours of amusement and play. Real life imagery used on the play mat enables baby to perceive different bright colors . The star-shaped electronic toy can be attached to most cribs, carriers and play gyms. It has motion-activated lights and plays eight classical melodies, which gives baby an enjoyable time on the activity mat and makes this product the best baby activity mat 2018. The large baby safe mirror piques baby’s curiosity and promotes self-awareness.
Tiny Love Super-Deluxe Lights/Music Gymini Activity-Gym
The Tiny Love Super-Deluxe Lights/Music Gymini Activity-Gym does a great job of stimulating baby with music and lights. It offers immediate feedback based on baby’s actions, making it easy for her to learn cause and effect. A large mirror is provided to enable tummy time play that encourages development of self-awareness. This activity gym plays classical music that will surely engage baby and stimulate her brain. The mat is machine washable. It conveniently folds up flat for travel. There are colorful illustrations of jungle flora and fauna, to familiarize baby with real-world figures that will eventually help her recognize them when she does learning at higher age. The two padded arches cross overhead, and are outfitted with more creatures plus a plastic bead rattle and a large mirror. This product deserves space in best baby activity mat reviews for its impressive ability to help baby develop both in mind and body.
Infantino Twist-and-Fold Vintage Boy Activity Gym
The Infantino Twist-and-Fold Vintage Boy Activity Gymoffers sit-and-play activities that baby can enjoy from when she’s just a newborn till she’s able to sit up on her own. The large- peek-a-boo mirror encourages baby to smile, laugh and pat at her reflection while encouraging self-awareness. This activity mat turns little spaces into loads of fun with its four linkable toys. A plush prop-up pillow is very useful for tummy time play, which stimulates gross motor skills aside from helping with sensory development. A tummy time bolster is included to ensure baby’s comfort. The activity gym uses a special twist-and-fold design that enables easy storage. The patchwork quilt design is executed in gender-neutral colors so any baby can have fun on the activity mat.