When your baby first enters the world, all she really needs in the way of stimulation is you—gazing at your face is her favorite activity, aside from eating and sleeping. But as she grows, you’ll want to provide her with a stimulating environment in order to give her opportunities to engage her senses, especially touch and sight. Activity mats are a great way to give baby the development and fun she needs while also possible sneaking in a few minutes of relaxing on the couch while baby is entertained. Activity mats are also a good, safe place for baby to start practicing tummy time, holding her own head up and rolling over. At other times when baby is in a chiller mood, you may want to place her in one of these top 10 best baby swings.
Although it is a relatively small window where baby will be old enough to enjoy an activity mat yet not old enough to simply crawl away and explore elsewhere, it is such a crucial developmental stage—if you’re anything like me, you will get a lot of use out of it and your baby will love it. I can still remember placing my firstborn on his activity mat in the morning while I would make my coffee. I felt good that he was entertained and happy while I managed to do something important for myself. Be sure to also check out our top 20 best baby rattles for more fun and educational ways to keep your little one entertained.
I’ve outlined the top 10 best baby activity mats for playtime on the market right now. They come in a variety of styles: some have collapsible walls for added security and safety, some are tailored for tummy time and others have lights, music and toys galore to maximize baby’s enjoyment and learning experience.
1. Best Musical Baby Activity Mat: Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies & Lights Deluxe Gym
The Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies & Lights Deluxe Gym is a fantastic activity mat for baby that comes with tons of flashy extras. The mat responds to baby’s movement with music, sounds and dancing lights. (Get a feel for the music in the video below!) This playmat contains 10 different activities and linkable toys for play on the back or for tummy time. There are soft butterflies that spin when baby touches them, activating lights, music and sounds. Some consumers have noted that the mobile is higher up than on other playmats, sometimes being out of reach for baby. Consumers have also noted that this mat is not designed for portability, as it doesn’t fold up flat for travel. The Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies & Lights Deluxe Gym requires three AA batteries, which are not included with purchase.
Price: $52.49 (25 percent off MSRP)
- Mat responds to baby’s movement with music, sounds and dancing lights
- 10 activities and linkable toys for lay & play or tummy time
- Satiny butterflies spin at baby’s touch, activating lights, music or sounds
- Doesn’t travel well
- Takes three AA batteries (not included)
- Mobile is higher up than with other mats
2. Best Ball Pit Baby Activity Mat: Bright Starts 5-in-1 Play Activity Gym with Your Way Ball
The Brights Starts 5-in-1 Play Activity Gym with Your Way Ball is a versatile and fun-packed activity mat that has five different play iterations. Use it with the walls up or down, fill it with the 35 included balls to create a mini ball pit, use the prop pillow for tummy time or use it as a simple mat without the overhead activity bars. This mat is 48 inches across when unfolded, and it takes three AA batteries. This product contains engaging playtime toys such as a bead chaser, plush musical toucan, baby-safe mirror, crinkle fabrics and more. This playmat is on the more expensive side, and it is not portable. It can be washed in the washing machine, which is a convenient way to clean up baby spit-up or pee accidents.
Price: $59.99 (25 percent off MSRP)
- 48-inch jumbo play mat is adjustable; walls go up or down to create a closed play environment or tummy time mat
- Converts from play gym into ball pit
- Includes prop pillow for tummy time
- Requires three AA batteries
- Not portable
- More expensive
3. Best Sensory Baby Activity Mat: Skip Hop Baby Treetop Friends Activity Gym/Playmat
The Skip Hop Baby Treetop Friends Activity Gym/Playmat is another action-packed playmat made for multiple modes of play and learning. The mat is made out of multiple fabrics for different textures to stimulate baby, including crinkle leaves, a squeaker flower and a tree trunk baby-safe mirror. In all, there are 17 different activities for baby to try. The mat is an oversized round shape (36 inches across), and it includes a tummy time support pillow. The activity mat is designed using a stylish, muted color palette. The manufacturer says it can be assembled in just two minutes. Some consumers have noted that some of the toys are a bit advanced and not stimulating for young babies. Additionally, some have noted the mat itself is somewhat thin and scratchy.
- Multiple fabrics plus 17 activities on the mat: crinkle leaves, squeaker flower, tree trunk baby safe mirror and more
- Oversized round mat surface and tummy time support pillow
- Assembles in two minutes
- Some consumers have noted the toys are a bit advanced for young babies
- No music or lights
- Mat is somewhat thin and scratchy
4. Most Versatile Baby Activity Mat: Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music Play Mat
The Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music Play Mat is a musical and lights activity mat designed to stimulate baby in many ways. It also contains four toys that dangle from the cross bars, as well as a mirror for baby to use during tummy time. This activity mat is very affordable at around $46. It’s machine washable, and it folds up for travel. Some consumers have complained that the toys hang very low and can get in baby’s way or even hit her in the head. Some consumers have also complained that the quality of the toys and the stitching on the mat is not the best. This product requires three AA batteries to run. This mat measures 30.5 inches by 23.2 inches.
Price: $46.14 (23 percent off MSRP)
- Stimulates baby with music and lights
- Mat is machine washable and folds up for travel
- Toys hang very low and can hit baby in the head
- Some consumers have complained about quality of toys and stitching on mat
- Requires three AA batteries
5. Best Baby Activity Mat for Travel: Infantino Twist & Fold Activity Gym
The Infantino Twist & Fold Activity Gym is a portable baby activity mat that is designed to fold up for storage or travel in two easy steps (just twist and fold). However, some consumers have reported the process was not quite as easy as the manufacturer claims. This activity mat does not have music or lights, but it comes with a large peek-a-book mirror to entertain baby, as well as several plush toys that hang from the cross bars. This activity mat has three modes of play: sit-and-play, tummy time and overhead discovery. Some consumers report that the mat is fairly thin and might need some extra padding beneath if used on a hard flooring.
- Folds up for storage or travel in two easy steps
- Large peek-a-boo mirror to entertain baby
- Sit-and-play, tummy time and overhead discovery modes
- The way it folds up exposes the inside of the mat to the elements
- No music or lights
- Mat is fairly thin
6. Best Baby Activity Mat for Tummy Time: Infantino Peek & Play Tummy Time Activity Mat
The Infantino Peek & Play Tummy Time Activity Mat is a mat designed specifically for tummy time. It comes with a bolster pillow, large mirror and a soft, cushy mat for baby’s ultimate comfort. However, because it is a tummy time mat, it is on the smaller side. It’s inexpensive and easily rolls up for travel or storage. This product also includes a textured monkey teether and a crinkly elephant toy to encourage reaching and grabbing. This mat has no music or lights—this means it doesn’t require batteries to operate. Some consumers have complained that the bolster pillow to be used for tummy time does not attach to the mat, meaning as baby moves around, the pillow may need to be repositioned frequently.
- Includes a textured monkey teether and crinkly elephant to encourage reaching and grabbing
- Perfect for tummy time: includes a bolster pillow, large mirror and a soft, cushy mat
- Mat is on the smaller side
- No music, lights or overhead toys
- Pillow doesn’t attach to mat, so needs to be repositioned frequently
7. Best Jumbo Baby Activity Mat: Tiny Love Super Mat
The Tiny Love Super Mat is a jumbo-sized, soft, thick and cushy mat (it measures 59 inches by 39 inches when fully spread) that is safe for both indoor and outdoor use. This activity mat is made with beautiful illustrations and comes with attached toys, teethers and a mirror for extra stimulation and exploration. This mat can be rolled up easily for travel or storage, and it has carry handles for ease of transport. When it gets dirty, it can get thrown right into the washing machine; however, it is not safe to put in the dryer. This mat is fairly inexpensive at $30.03. However, it does not have any lights, music or overhead toy bars for that added level of entertainment. Some consumers have reported that the surface of the mat is somewhat slippery for tummy time.
- Large size (59 inches by 39 inches when spread out)
- Soft, washable, weather-proof and portable
- Beautifully illustrated mat has many fun developmental features to keep baby entertained
- No lights, music or overhead toys
- Not dryer safe
- Surface of mat is somewhat slippery for tummy time
8. Best Deluxe Baby Activity Mat: Bright Starts Sunny Safari Baby’s Play Place
The Bright Starts Sunny Safari Baby’s Play Place is a deluxe activity mat with lots of great features for learning and fun. It has a unique design with walls that collapse or fold up—when the walls are up, the activity mat provides a playpen-like structure to keep baby secure, and it serves as a barrier to pets or siblings. This products includes 10 fun toys that attach to various spots on the mat, keeping the activity mat a fun place for discovery. It also includes a tummy time bolster pillow, although some consumers have complained that the pillow tends to slip and slide around the mat when in use. This activity mat also has lights and music that are baby-motion or parent activated; they can also be triggered to play continuously for 20-plus minutes at a time. This product is on the more expensive side at around $68. It requires three AA batteries, which are included with the product.
Price: $68.13 (15 percent off MSRP)
- Unique design with walls is meant to keep baby secure and serve as a barrier to pets or siblings
- Includes 10 fun toys that attach to mat, as well as a tummy time bolster pillow
- Lights and music are baby-motion or parent activated, or play continuously for 20-plus minutes
- More expensive
- Requires three AA batteries
- Some consumers complain that the bolster slides around on the mat during tummy time
9. Best Water-Play Baby Activity Mat: Earlyears Fill ‘N Fun Water Play Mat for Tummy Time
The Earlyears Fill ‘N Fun Water Play Mat for Tummy Time is an innovative water-filled activity mat that provides hours of fun and stimulation for baby. It has bright colors and a water pocket that will delight baby without her getting wet. It’s made from heavy gauge plastic, which resists leaks and tears. However, some consumers have reported a bit of leakage with the mat—they recommend keeping a towel under it to prevent damage to floors. This mat folds flat when the water and air are let out, which makes it a great travel toy that easily fits into a diaper or toy bag. This activity mat is fairly small. Some consumers suggest reading some of the Amazon reviews regarding filling the mat from the tap or a hose. It is apparently an easy process, but the product does not come with instructions for how to fill. Finally, some consumers complain of the strong plastic smell that the product has upon opening, but they generally say it dissipates within a few days.
Price: from $12.95
- Very inexpensive
- Fun and bright water-filled mat to stimulate and delight baby
- Made from heavy gauge plastic, which resists leaks and tears
- Tends to leak a bit of water
- Strong plastic odor when first opened
- On the small side
10. Best Character Baby Activity Mat: Infantino Grow-with-me Activity Gym & Ball Pit
The Infantino Grow-with-me Activity Gym & Ball Pit is an activity gym and ball pit in one that comes with 40 colorful balls that store neatly inside the turtle’s head. This activity mat also includes four soft sea turtle toys that dangle from the overhead cross arms, as well as a small mirror for baby’s delight. Baby can enjoy this fun and stimulating activity gym in three different modes: sit-and-play, lay-and-play and ball pit. This activity mat is on the smaller side. It’s not foldable so it’s not highly convenient to travel with or store. It’s also not machine washable, but some consumers say that it wipes down easily with wet wipes or a wet washcloth. This activity mat is not as good for tummy time as some of the other mats.
- Activity gym and ball pit in one with 40 colorful balls that store inside turtle’s head
- Includes four soft sea turtle toys that dangle from cross arms
- Sit-and-play, lay-and-play and ball pit modes
- On the small side
- Not foldable/portable
- Not washable
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