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Best Baby Play Mats and Gyms in 2021


Providing the best baby play mat or best baby activity gym for your child will help them engage with their surroundings. After researching multiple baby gyms and playmats, we recommend the Lovevery Developmental Activity Gym & Play Mat as the best baby play mat and gym.

Best Baby Play Mat: Lovevery Developmental Play Mat
Best Baby Einstein Play Mat: 4-in-1 Kickin' Tunes Play Gym
Best Baby Play Mat with Ball Pit: Infantino 4-in-1 Jumbo Activity Gym
Best Plush Baby Play Mat: Skip Hop Baby Play Gym
Best Music & Lights Play Mat: Fisher-Price Rainforest Deluxe Gym

Best Baby Play Mats

Lovevery Developmental Activity Gym & Play Mat

The Play Gym by Lovevery | Stage-Based Developmental Activity Gym & Play Mat for Baby to Toddler
Price$$$$
Quality
Popularity

The Lovevery Developmental Activity Gym & Play May is a super cool play mat for your growing baby because it features five developmental zones of play: Learning to Focus, Making Sounds, How Things Feel, Hiding and Finding, and Exploring Colors. As your little one gets older, the Lovevery Baby Play Mat even transforms into a little fort!

What I Love:

  • Five developmental zones of play
  • Transforms into a fort
  • Includes “Play Guide” with play ideas and activities 
  • Organic accessories are removable
  • Non-toxic finishes
  • Machine-washable

What I Don’t Love:

  • High price
  • Not many hanging toys

Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes Activity Play Gym

Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin' Tunes Music and Language Discovery Activity Play Gym
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

The Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes Activity Play Gym includes four modes of play: Laying, Sitting, Tummy Time, and Take-Along. With 70+ sounds and activities and 25+ minutes of music, your little one will have a blast. There are plenty of toys on this playmat including a magic touch piano and a prop pillow.

What I Love:

  • Lots of bright and fun colors
  • Machine-washable
  • Four modes of play (Laying, Sitting, Tummy Time, and Take-Along)
  • 70+ sounds and 25+ minutes of music
  • Includes magic touch piano and prop pillow

What I Don’t Love:

  • Piano moves easily when baby kicks it
  • Piano quality is not great

Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Play Gym

Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick 'n Play Piano Gym, Green, Gender Neutral (Frustration Free Packaging)
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

The Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Play Gym is a really good basic baby jungle gym. The featured piano has both lights and sounds and can be used in a few different ways. It can be kicked when baby is on their back, it can be pushed with hands during tummy time, or it can be rotated upright and played like a regular piano on legs for when baby can sit up. As if that weren’t enough, you can take the piano off and drag it around for some mobile concerts. If your baby prefers to just enjoy music, you can play music on the piano for up to 15 minutes, and you can control the volume. The batteries last a long time, too!

What I Love:

  • Colorful/neutral version (or pink version) available
  • Features a big mirror, a hippo-shaped teether, elephant clacker toys, a rollerball rattle frog, and rings to hang them from
  • Play bar can go overhead or it can be removed and the toys attached to the front of the mat for play during tummy time
  • Lets baby make music (songs or individual notes)
  • Good for active babies

What I Don’t Love:

  • Not much space between the piano and play bar 
  • Not the biggest play mat (could outgrow quickly)
  • Toys on the toy bar are kind of boring

Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym

Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym, Vintage Boy
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

Why do I love the Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym? Because it looks more like a quilt my grandma made than another primary color toy to ruin my decor. Even the crazy color combinations seem to have been picked out by grandma with care for a gender-neutral toy every baby will go gaga for! With a pillow and a sturdy bar base, this will be your new favorite baby toy sure to please baby.

What I Love:

  • Material is durable and easy to clean
  • Price is reasonable and well worth it for aesthetics alone
  • Looks like a handmade quilt stitched with love
  • Includes matching pillow
  • Machine-washable
  • Four linkable toys and two crisscrossing bars

What I Don’t Love: 

  • Collapse feature can be problematic
  • Toys may fall off loops easily
  • Thin, so you may need to place a blanket under the mat for added comfort

Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Activity Gym

Skip Hop Baby Play Gym, Silver Lining Cloud, Grey
Price$$$$
Quality
Popularity

The Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Activity Gym is geared toward both younger babies and older babies who are blossoming into toddlerhood. For the newborn or younger baby, they will enjoy laying down, swatting, and looking at things. Then when they are able to sit up this play center can function as a play mat.  It’s made by Skip Hop, so you know it’s great quality and stylish.

What I Love:

  • Machine-washable
  • Toy bar with music, toys, and lights
  • Super cushy pad
  • Features different textures
  • Good for 3-month-olds

What I Don’t Love:

  • Raindrops come off easily and could be a choking hazard

Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Mat

Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Play Mat
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

The Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Mat really is super. With a washable mat and non-toxic materials, moms will squeal with delight for this mat that will make babies happy too.

What I Love:

  • 100% polyester material
  • Very inexpensive price
  • Comforting and whimsical colors
  • Includes squeaky toy, mirror, peek-a-boo tree
  • Folds up for travel and storage
  • Tummy time mat is large enough for two babies

What I Don’t Love: 

  • Fabric can come apart after use and wash
  • Cannot put in dryer
  • Mat doesn’t have much traction so it can be slippery on smooth floors

Baby Einstein 5-in-1 Journey of Discovery Play Mat

Baby Einstein 5-in-1 Journey of Discovery Activity Gym and Play Mat, Ages Newborn Plus
Price$$$
Quality
Popularity

Known for introducing classical music to babies, Baby Einstein branched out to toys including adorable animal-inspired play mats. The Baby Einstein 5-in-1 Journey of Discovery Play Mat brings the whole world to your baby in one play mat. The bright blue mat and colorful bars will delight your child along with the ball pit play option.

What I Love:

  • Easy to clean (material is 90% polyester and 10% plastic) 
  • Pretty reasonable price
  • Decked out in fun colors and a variety of animals
  • Machine-washable
  • Sides fold up to create a mini ball pit of fun!
  • Twenty minutes of globally-inspired music 
  • Various stages: Newborn, Active Discovery, Tummy Time, Sitting and Crawling

What I Don’t Love: 

  • Batteries are needed

Infantino 4-in-1 Jumbo Baby Activity Gym & Ball Pit

Infantino 4-in-1 Jumbo Baby Activity Gym & Ball Pit - Combination Baby Activity Gym and Ball Pit for Sensory Exploration and Motor Skill Development, for Newborns, Babies and Toddlers
Price$$$
Quality
Popularity

At first glance, this looks like any other play gym. The Infantino 4-in-1 Jumbo Baby Activity Gym & Ball Pit is cute. You see the large sloth with little balls and you wonder why it’s there. Then, poof! You pop up the sides, release the balls from the sloth, and you’ve got yourself a pretty awesome baby ball pit. You’ve still got a soft mat with two arches overhead for when baby is smaller and prefers to lay on their back for playtime. This Infantino baby jungle gym can really grow up with your baby.

What I Love:

  • Round shape allows baby to lay in any direction
  • Includes 3 stuffed jungle animals with crinkle feature
  • Cute and gender-neutral jungle design
  • Features ball pit with 40 lightweight balls that can be stored in the sloth
  • Breathable mesh ring around the edge of the mat encloses the area

What I Don’t Love:

  • Play mat features aren’t great (no lights or sounds)
  • Sides aren’t very sturdy (once they get to the escaping age, try a baby seat or baby jumper instead)

Fisher-Price Rainforest Music & Lights Deluxe Gym

Fisher-Price Rainforest Music & Lights Deluxe Gym [Amazon Exclusive]
Price$$$
Quality
Popularity

Most moms are aware of the tried and true brand Fisher-Price and they will not be let down by the Fisher-Price Rainforest Music and Lights Deluxe Gym with bright colorful animals, a sturdy mat, and an all-around entertaining toy for your little one. With ten different features, this mat is the Rolls Royce of play gyms. This name brand mat may actually be too busy, which is why I ranked it lower on the list, also it plays music and no parents want yet another musical toy cluttering their home.

What I Love:

  • Polyester mat is easy to clean
  • Cute jungle animals 
  • Machine-washable
  • Plays up to 20 minutes of music
  • Lots of hanging toys and bright images

What I Don’t Love: 

  • Not easy to disassemble for storage or travel
  • High price tag
  • Bird needs batteries to operate
  • Thin material so may need to put a blanket underneath
  • Bird toy is top-heavy 

Bright Starts Kaleidoscope Activity Gym

Bright Starts Zig Zag Safari Activity Gym and Play Mat with Take-Along Toys, Ages Newborn +
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

With Bright Starts Kaleidoscope Activity Gym your baby will love tummy time and rolling over to reach for all the fun toys. Mom’s will love the affordable price and ease of use, plus the unique pattern fun for babies without being an eyesore. Favorite toys can be added to the built-in loops while your little gal stares at her adorable reflection in the mirror.

What I Love:

  • Affordable price
  • Multiple designs to choose from
  • Machine-washable

What I Don’t Love: 

  • Not the best quality 
  • Requires LR44 batteries which are more expensive
  • Only after a few hours, the owl may lose his tune and forget to play

Bammax Play Mat

Bammax Play Mat, Folding Mat Baby Crawling Mat Kids Playmat Waterproof Non Toxic Anti-Slip Mat for Babies, Infants, Toddlers, 70
Quality
Popularity

The Bammax Play Mat creates a soft place for babies, toddlers, and children to play in comfort. This waterproof mat will become your go-to item for new crawlers or babies enjoying tummy time. Don’t put it away when the baby goes down for a nap! The multi-purpose mat works great for yoga or any other exercises you need to lose a baby belly!

What I Love:

  • Made of safe, non-toxic, waterproof, and soft material
  • Oversized mat is large enough for even mommy to have some tummy (or downward dog) time
  • Choose from an adorable maze or lion pattern
  • Playmats are reversible
  • Waterproof material
  • Foldable and can be used outside
  • Plenty of comfort and thickness

What I Don’t Love: 

  • Price is a bit high 

The Best Baby Play Mats Compared

The table below compares only the recommended products on this page. A low or high Price means it is low or high compared to the other products listed. The Popularity Score reflects how often readers click on and buy the product. The Quality Score is our assessment of the overall performance and satisfaction with the product compared to others in the table.


Guide to Selecting the Best Baby Play Mat

The CPSC regulates the safety of baby toys for quality and safety standards. Here is a list of features to look for in a play mat or gym to ensure you are purchasing the best quality item available.

Quality

Playmats should be sturdy and made of a quality material not likely to shred or rip from tiny baby fingers. Babies manage to ruin many a toy in their youth but buying well-crafted toys will keep your child safe and save you money.

Safety & Material

Infants and children should never play on toxic toys such as playmats made from PVC or Foam which can release toxic chemicals into your baby’s breathing space. Always try to buy safe products and activity mats made with fabric instead of vinyl materials (even though vinyl can be cleaned quickly).

Washable

Why washable? Because babies are messy. Spit-up, drool, teething biscuits, formula, breastmilk, and even poop will probably all end up on your baby’s play mat at some point. Do not replace, wash.

Collapsible 

Toys take up too much space to the point you think your house is a museum of baby products. Toys that fold and can be shoved into the back of the closet when the company shows up are a win. Some toys will not fold, like baby seats, but some can.  Playmats or tummy time mats should reduce in size at least a little for storage or travel.

Thickness & Comfort

Like moms and dads, babies want to be comfortable while they work and with all the development they are doing they need a soft place to learn. Find a balance of comfort and movability in a play mat for the best learning atmosphere for your child.

Size

Mats that are too small will not last long with a constantly growing baby. Find a large mat to last at least until your infant is crawling then they can move on to an activity table.

Skills Learned

Besides all the quality and safety issues, you want your playmat or play gym to be educational, and, above all, fun! Here are some skills that a good play mat can teach your baby:

  • Action and reaction from touching noisy toys
  • Gross motor skills like kicking, reaching, batting, throwing, and grabbing
  • Brain stimulation from music
  • Auditory development from music, noises, and sounds
  • Cognitive development from bright colors and patterns
  • Visual development from tracking swinging toys on the arch
  • Gross motor skills like reaching, kicking, batting, grabbing, and throwing
  • Hand-eye coordination from putting toys where they go
  • Creative play is encouraged by toy variety
  • Sense of touch from textured toys
  • Visual growth and acuity from lights
  • Lights encourage visual growth

FAQs – Baby Play Mats and Gyms

How much tummy time does my baby need?

Young infants only need about 3 to 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day of tummy time and add a minute or two as they get older.

Are baby play mats safe?

In general, yes, under supervision. If the mat is made of non-toxic materials (which is somewhat subjective, as some parents will accept organic materials only while others are willing to accept certain synthetics) and all attached parts of the activity mat are secured, the mat should be safe. However, it is very important to understand that the key to your baby’s safety is close supervision. Really the only spot in which you can safely leave your baby unsupervised for any length of time is in his or her qualified, properly equipped play yard, crib, or travel crib.

Can I leave my baby unattended on a playmat?

No. Never leave a baby unattended unless they are in a secure location like a crib or a playpen.

Are activity mats good for babies?

The first and perhaps most important function of the playmat is to provide a soft, clean surface that can be placed on the floor for your baby. On a given day, your baby should, of course, receive plenty of holding and/or carrying.  She may also spend time in a car seat, swing,  or stroller, and he will spend time in a safe crib, sleeping. Our infants sleep on their backs, but they also need (awake-only) tummy time.

Time on their stomachs assists them to develop the strength and coordination that will be necessary to learn to sit and crawl. An activity mat provides a safe place on the floor for tummy time. It may also provide other accessories: toys, colors, textures, sights, and sounds to engage your baby and encourage cognitive development.  These are not necessities, and some babies will pay more attention to them than others, but they can be very nice.  Even the activity mat itself is not a necessity; but yes, it can be good for your baby.

Can I hang other toys from the crossbars?

As long as the toys are safe toys for your baby and do not pose a danger then you can put them on the loops or on the mat.

Does my baby need tummy time every day?

To help your baby learn fine motor skills and develop tummy time is recommended every day but only so long as your baby tolerates being on the floor.

How do you play with a newborn?

Newborns are just beginning to learn how to interact with their bodies, their worlds, and other people. You may have observed parents or grandparents rocking,  swinging, or bouncing their infants. Probably they talked or sang to them, repeated rhymes, or made silly noises. Perhaps they showed their infants colorful toys, teethers, read to them, or talked to them using soft toy animals. Each of these helps to develop muscle coordination, balance, sight, and/or social interactions. Such activities as these make up playtime for the newborn.

Can I put a baby play mat in a playpen or crib?

Playmats and gyms should only be used on the floor and never on another surface for your baby’s safety. Use crib toys instead.

Are foam baby play mats safe for babies?

There are three materials likely to be used to make foam play mats: polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). You may notice that none sounds particularly innocuous. Of the three, EVA is thought to be of least concern (and seems today to be the more likely choice of mat producers), but even EVA may contain substances that could be toxic to your baby or young child.

Probably you want to think about how many hours your child may spend on the mat. If you anticipate infrequent use, you may not need to be concerned about the contents of the foam. If your child will use the mat often, you might want to go with an EVA mat. And if you are hoping that your child will enjoy spending many hours on a play mat, you might want to choose an organic material, like cotton.

Are foam puzzle play mats safe? 

Some parents prefer not to use foam mats for their babies or young children because the foam is often made of PVC, polyurethane, or EVA,  which may contain at least trace amounts of carcinogenic toxins.  Of the three types of synthetic foam mats, EVA is probably the safest. The safety of the foam puzzle mat, then, is related to the contents of the mat and to the duration of contact. A foam puzzle mat may be safe for your toddler or child if the child is not in direct contact with the mat for many hours per week.

What is a baby play gym, and when can my baby use it?

A play gym is a baby play mat providing multiple play activities for your baby. A play gym generally includes, at least optionally, some kind of soft surround or overhead structure that will support toys with which your baby can interact. Although your child may start a little before or finish after, three to six months is the ideal age for a play gym.

How do you clean a baby play mat?

Most cloth baby mats can be best cleaned by machine washing, gentle cycle, and either machine-drying, gentle cycle, or air drying. Machine drying might not be so good for playmats with hard toys or toy parts that are not detachable. Synthetic foam mats cannot be washed or dried in the machine, but you can wash them in the bath or shower with a mild soap solution. If they need serious scrubbing, try a soft scrub or baking soda paste. Allow to drain, or towel dry.

Our Favorite

Baby play mats are no joke. Not only do the toys, patterns, colors, and music help aid in brain development, but they are a great tool for helping parents set baby down for a minute to get some stuff done. There are thousands of baby gyms and playmats on the market, and you could spend quite a bit of money on one.

I believe in a great toy at a great price, so the Lovevery Developmental Activity Gym & Play Mat is my top pick for the best play mat and baby gym.


Adrina Palmer is a stay-at-home-mom to three wonderful children and a wife to an amazing husband. She has a bachelors degree in Religion from Liberty University and works as a blogger, copywriter, and reviewer. Adrina is a Christian hoping to help other stay-at-home moms find the joy and simplicity as a mother and wife. In her free time she enjoys many crafts, writing, spending time with family, and reading. She would love to hear from you!



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