Discovering the world around them is one of the most present tasks in a baby’s routine and it is up to parents to provide a suitable environment for little ones to explore the universe that surrounds them.

Sensory stimuli are part of a baby’s life even before it is born and are the best way to provide the child with this environment of itself and the world. In the intrauterine life, he already feels the touch, listens to conversations and music, and experiences movements. At birth, the child is presented to a new world and is faced with different information that needs to be processed. It has been observed that one of the best ways for the brain to absorb information is by exploring and using all its senses and it is in this context that the importance of sensory activities arises.

Sensory activities can be carried out through stimulating toys and one of the most versatile product options are the activity mats. They combine the function of stimulating and protecting, after all the baby can stay safe and have fun on it while mum or dad perform other tasks.

What is a playmat and why should I have one?

Playmats are a great place for your little one to play either alone, with siblings or with mommy and daddy. Some are simply a soft and safe space. While others are designed as an easy way to play with your baby while stimulating their mind. With features like bright, hanging toys to bat and grasp, soft and scrunchy textures for sensory play and high-contrast images to grab your baby’s attention, these playmats are designed to engage little ones’ senses.

Babies will start to need a playmat from around 3 months. Or as soon as they’re spending any time on their tummies. But don’t be worried that your little one will soon outgrow their playmat. Most play mats can be used in children's playrooms for years. Many also come with grow-with-me features. These mean that they keep on being useful after your baby starts sitting up or even starts walking.
CREDIT: DENIM VELVET LEAF PLAY MAT / A MATTER OF STYLE

This helps support the development of your baby’s body and brain, helping them reach milestones like clutching objects, rolling over and tracking the movement of objects with their eyes. Plus, they offer the option for a little bit of independent play, giving you some quiet time to sit nearby, read a book, watch a movie or enjoy a cup of tea.

When shopping for a baby play mat, think about what features are most important to you. Do you need an entertaining space to keep your baby amused while you tend to other household tasks? Then a baby activity gym with bars overhead and lots of bells and whistles might just be the right way to go. On the other hand, if encouraging tummy time is your thing, then a comfortable mat covered in different textures, flaps and mirrors will encourage your little one to roll around and explore.

What age do babies use playmats?

Babies will start to need a playmat from around 3 months. Or as soon as they’re spending any time on their tummies. But don’t be worried that your little one will soon outgrow their playmat. Most play mats can be used in children’s playrooms for years. Many also come with grow-with-me features. These mean that they keep on being useful after your baby starts sitting up or even starts walking.

Which play mat is best for my baby?

You want only the best for your growing little one. As baby playmats come in all shapes and sizes, you may wonder which is best. To make the right choice, first think about your baby’s needs right now. Are they crawling? Sitting up? Starting to walk? Or just enjoying tummy time? Next, think about where the playmat will be in the home. Will it be in a large area or small? On a hardwood floor or carpet or somewhere else? Third, think about how long you want the playmat to last. By considering these three factors, you can get a good idea of the styles that will suit you and your little one both now and in future. However, we listed other 4 factors to check when buying an activity mat:

Material – In the case of the activity mat, in relation to safety, we should always observe first the material it is made of, if it is a resistant material and suitable for children, a material that will not release any kind of substance (paint should always be non-toxic). Also about the material, it is important to check if it is easy to wash, after all it is essential that the rug is always clean.

Babies will start to need a playmat from around 3 months. Or as soon as they’re spending any time on their tummies. But don’t be worried that your little one will soon outgrow their playmat. Most play mats can be used in children's playrooms for years. Many also come with grow-with-me features. These mean that they keep on being useful after your baby starts sitting up or even starts walking.
CREDIT: CAFFE LATE VELVET LEAF PLAY MAT / A MATTER OF STYLE

Mat components – We emphasize that it is necessary to evaluate if the pieces (toys and structures) that make up the mat are firmly attached and that there are no objects that can come loose and/or hurt the baby.

Comfort – It is extremely important that, besides being safe, the rug is comfortable and, in this sense, it is worth paying attention to the dimensions of the rug. We must also pay attention to whether the upholstery is thick enough for the baby to lie down and sit comfortably.

Stimuli – Paying attention to the stimuli offered by the rug is important to gain in cost-benefit, so the tip is to invest in rugs that allow the child to explore it not only lying down, but also sitting and crawling on it. The age at which we usually recommend the rug is from the second or third month on, when the baby is already able to interact a little more with the surrounding environment. Look for mats that have the highest degree of sensory stimulation possible and that can cover other activities as the child grows.

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2022. [online] Available at: <https://www.amara.com/editorial/guides/types-of-playmats-for-your-baby> [Accessed 12 March 2022].

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