The Best Baby Play Mat of 2024 – Safety, Comfort and Stimulation Combined

Best Baby Play Mat

Before you know it, your little one is ready for the mat. The baby floor mat that is, where they start to explore the little joys and wonders of play.

Not to be confused with play gyms or activity gyms (which tend to be smaller, and have overhead structures embellished with hanging toys), a baby floor mat is almost like a plush rug – soft, flat, and cushioned.

Primarily made from fabric, foam or rubber, it serves as a safe and versatile space for baby’s exploration, early developmental activities and tummy time. So vastly used for the latter in fact, to a point it is also commonly called a “tummy time play mat”.

The myriad of play mats available range from very affordable to pretty pricey so finding the best baby play mat can be a delightful yet overwhelming task. It’s not just about the price or aesthetics – the material, style, and safety features are major considerations too. Join us as we delve into the world of baby play mats, exploring the top contenders that combine safety, comfort, and stimulation to create the ideal play environment for your little one.

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What is the best baby play mat for most families? Our top pick is the Baby Care Play Mat – cushioned, waterproof, non-toxic and so much more, it continues to be a parents’ favourite all these years without fail. The Baby Mushroom Baby Bello remains our top contender if we’re talking about an organic play mat, while the Infantino Foldable Soft Foam Mat is the best play mat for crawling in our opinion. Skip Hop and Yay Mats have some of the best interlocking tiles if you like the puzzle play mats type, while the Ruggish Lola and Famokids disguise well as play mats that look like rugs. Of course, we cannot forget the modern Gathre mats that bring portability and versatility to a whole new level – these ones can fit into diaper bags even!

Our Top 12 Best Baby Play Mat Picks – A Quick Summary

Do You Need A Baby Play Mat?

Some of you may wonder: why do I need to get a separate play mat? Can’t I just place baby on the carpet or my living room rug?

Well, while we wouldn’t say a baby mat is an absolute necessity, it is definitely valuable and beneficial for infants.

Why A Baby Playmat Is A Good Idea

Many paediatricians and child development experts highlighted the positive impact it has on an infant’s early development – “Tummy time is crucial for building strength in a baby’s neck, shoulders and core,” says Dr. Amelia Burke, M.D. “A well-padded play mat provides a comfortable and supportive surface for this essential activity, fostering motor skills and muscle development”.

The floor, being the safest place for babies, is another reason. Falls are actually the number 1 reason for emergency room visits for kids under the age of five here in the US so the soft, cushioned surface of a play mat provides a safe landing for babies for when they tumble, topple or roll over. And with many play mats designed to be easy to clean, it is also cleaner than say, your carpet or living room rug so baby can always have a hygienic surface to play on.

Ultimately, it is a matter of personal choice. Some parents may find alternative solutions for tummy time and play while others appreciate the structure and benefits that a play mat offers. Make your decision based on what works best for you and your baby.
Find more information at the end of this guide:

Best Baby Play Mat Reviews

BEST BABY PLAY MAT OVERALL

Editor's Rating: 4.8/5.0
4.8/5

Material: non-toxic PVC (those used in medical equipment and infant toys)
Dimensions: 82 x 55 inches (large); 72 x 49 inches (medium)
Thickness: 0.5 inch (large); 0.4 inch (medium)
Design: one-piece, reversible

Why We Love It

While all of our recommended play mats meet the necessary safety standards, a non toxic playmat will always triumph over other foam mats. The Baby Care Play Mat, being 100% free of any harmful materials, easily wins the “best non toxic baby play mat” title putting any concerns about safety to rest.

Completely free of phthalates, formaldehyde, heavy metal (lead, mercury), latex, EVA, and BPA (tested against US, European and Australian safety standards), it is available in two convenient sizes (the large being comparable to a queen-sized mattress) in an array of patterns and colours. Reversible, you get a play mat that looks like a rug with the more neutral side keeping your aesthetics intact, while the other side is more kid-friendly with visual-stimulating prints.

Its hypoallergenic nature keeps harmful germs and bacteria away, another reason we think it is the best non toxic play mat for babies. Albeit not being the thickest of them all, it has this innovative cushioning that gives peace of mind against bumps and falls as ‘an egg dropped from 10ft wouldn’t break’ on it, accordingly.

Suitable on both hardwood floors and carpets, the non-slip surface keeps it in place without sliding around when your little one is (boldly) doing his explorations on it. Roll it up easily when not in use if desired – it doesn’t crease at all when you unroll it. And for the inevitable little accidents/spills? Just wipe them off the waterproof surface which is a practical blessing!

Things To Take Note Of
With the high quality, non-toxic material used, the Baby Care Play Mat comes at a slightly higher price point. It is justifiable though, given how durable and well-designed this play surface is. Some users have also noted that the padding may not be as thick as they expected, potentially leading to less cushioning for babies who prefer a softer surface.

BEST ORGANIC PLAY MAT

Editor's Rating: 4.7/5.0
4.7/5

Material: organic cotton
Dimensions: 55 x 55 inches
Thickness: 1.25 inch
Design: one-piece, reversible

Why We Love It

For those looking for an organic play mat, we have the Baby Bello Organic Play Mat from Baby Mushroom for you. Often dubbed as the “toki mat dupe”, its organic construction made of sustainable materials like organic cotton and natural latex will offer peace of mind for eco-conscious parents that their little one is playing on a safe and chemical-free surface.

One aspect that many people love about the Baby Bello is its versatility. Unlike others where their designs scream baby play mats, this one here has a neutral side that easily blends into the décor of any room in the house, doubling as a stylish rug any time. The reversible side offers stylish patterns for baby’s sensory stimulation so you can change the look of your play area easily.

Just like the toki mats, the Baby Bello is an excellent tummy time mat with its plush padding that gives ample support and comfort. The large size provides plenty of space for babies to move around and play freely, accommodating active play and exploration.

Things To Take Note Of
While the organic materials are a plus, they do require special care during cleaning because not all cleaning products are suitable for organic fabrics. This could be an inconvenience for parents looking for low-maintenance options, but we’d say it is still rather straightforward with mild soap and water (just no harsh chemicals). For a non toxic play mat, we’d say the price point is reasonable but it could be a factor for budget-conscious parents. Still cheaper than a toki mat though!

BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY PLAY MAT

Editor's Rating: 4.7/5.0
4.7/5

Material: EVA foam
Dimensions: 70 x 59 inches (large); 77 x 70 inches (extra-large)
Thickness: 0.5 inch (large); 0.6 inch (extra-large)
Design: one-piece, reversible

Why We Love It

For a budget-friendly baby play mat, the JumpOff Jo Large Foldable Baby Play Mat is a great option. This one here is under $50 and comes in a variety of interactive patterns on both sides, reversible. Made of EVA foam, it is BPA free and non-toxic with anti-slip feature, creating a stable foundation for your little one to roam about.

As its name suggests, this play mat is notably large which is another appeal of it. Parents love that the generous dimensions offer plenty of room for multiple children to play together comfortably and if that’s not big enough, it even comes in an extra-large version.
Best of all, it can be used both indoors and outdoors, accommodating various play activities and growing infants which makes it suitable for families with siblings or playdates.

Despite its spaciousness, it remains foldable for convenient storage and transportation. The accordion folds make it all easy – literally, it folds in seconds. Plus, it’s waterproof so you don’t have to worry about stains and spills. Just wipe it clean and off you go.

Things To Take Note Of
Some users have found it to be less soft and cushioned compared to other play mats with thicker padding. Also, the accordion folds may result in creases or wrinkles on the surface so that may bother some people. Keep in mind also that it is designed specifically for babies 8 months and older so this is not a newborn playmat.

BEST FOLDABLE PLAY MAT (FOR OUTDOORS)

Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0
4.5/5

Material: polyethylene (PE) foam
Dimensions: 78.7 x 55.1 inches
Thickness: 0.4 inch
Design: one-piece, reversible

Why We Love It

The number 1 brand of play mats in South Korea since it was established in 1993, the Parklon Large Foldable Baby Crawling Play Mat is our top choice when it comes to the best baby play mat for outdoor use.

This double-sided foam mat is designed to withstand outdoor elements like sun exposure and moisture with durable, waterproof and easy-to-clean material, and it comes with a convenient carry case for portability. Like the JumpOff Jo, it also has accordion folds so it folds up in seconds into a compact size but spread out, it offers plenty of room for babies to move around and explore with its extra-large dimensions.

Things To Take Note Of
Some parents noted that the thickness of the padding may be insufficient for babies who prefer a softer surface, which could affect their comfort during extended play sessions. Likewise, the accordion folds may result in creases or wrinkles on the surface, which could affect its appearance and texture over time.

BEST TILE PLAY MAT

Editor's Rating: 4.6/5.0
4.6/5

Material: foam
Dimensions: 70 x 56 inches
Thickness: 0.6 inch
Design: modular tiles

Why We Love It

For parents who prefer the play mat tiles design, the Skip Hop Baby Play Mat is your best play mat option. Featuring an interlocking foam tile system where you can customize the size and shape to suit your needs, there are altogether 40 triangles and 32 edge pieces for you to play around with (which is why people also calls it the “puzzle play mat”).

Parents especially love the versatility this modular design brings as they can easily expand the play space as baby grows, or adjust it to fit different room layouts. The Skip Hop is particularly suitable for newborns/young infants in our opinion because although contrasting colours and patterns will stimulate a baby’s visual perception, a design overly crowded with elements may also lead to sensory overload. It is important to use ones that are age and development appropriate, and these neutral-based playroom foam tiles are just right for younger babies.

Unlike a folding play mat where creases and wrinkles may form on the surface, foam play mat tiles like this also eliminates this problem once and for all. Good news for aesthetic-loving parents!

Things To Take Note Of
Just one thing with puzzle floor mats, curious babies or toddlers may sometimes pull them apart. Some users may also find it time-consuming or challenging to install these interlocking designs initially, and there could potentially be a slight odour from the foam material when you first unpack it. Rest assured that it is free from harmful chemicals like BPA, PVC and phthalates – the smell typically dissipates over time with proper airing out anyway.

BEST EXTRA LARGE FOAM TILES FOR KIDS

Editor's Rating: 4.4/5.0
4.4/5

Material: EVA foam
Dimensions: 72 x 48 inches
Thickness: 0.5 inch
Design: modular tiles

Why We Love It

We can’t not include the Yay Mats Stylish Extra Large Baby Play Mat if we’re talking about interlocking play mats. The largest floor tiles available with each piece measuring at 2ft x 2ft squares, this one here will be right up your alley if you find the Skip Hop one a tad too complicated to install, with just 6 pieces of puzzle mats altogether.

Incidentally, it is the best large baby play mat in the puzzle floor mats category for those who want to create a large play area for their little one. Available in a variety of patterns and colours, every design is suitable for newborns with just the right amount of sensory stimulation (remember what we said about over-stimulation above?) – the black and white one being perfect as a tummy time play mat in particular.

With large foam mats like these, we know toxicity is of particular concern. Nothing to worry about that here – this baby foam play mat is made of high-density hypoallergenic foam that is 100% free of harmful lead, BPAs, and phthalates, meeting the highest safety standards for EVA foam worldwide.

Things To Take Note Of
Some users have noted that that it may be thinner than expected. For a foam mat, its price point is also considered on the higher end so it could be a consideration for budget-conscious parents.

BEST COMPACT BABY MAT

Editor's Rating: 5.0/5.0
5/5

Material: 100% cotton
Dimensions: 40 x 40 inches
Thickness: 1 inch
Design: one-piece, reversible

Why We Love It

Not everyone needs a large foam play mat, especially when your home is already loaded with baby gear. The Pehr Magical Forest Round Playmat is a great choice if you’re looking for a compact option – this one here has a round, quilted design that will add a unique touch to any nursery or playroom.

Made of quilted cotton and filled with a fluffy polyester fill, the Pehr playmat feels more like a blanket or a quilt rather than a playmat. That’s probably what it is best known of – plush and cushioned so you can be sure baby has a comfortable play area to crawl, roll, and play on (it’s 1 inch thick!). With a diameter of 40 inches, it is lightweight and easy to pack up for families on the go, machine-washable for easy hygiene maintenance.

Things To Take Note Of
For a small baby playmat, the Pehr is considered rather pricey. It is also more of an infant play mat rather than a toddler play mat as babies generally outgrow it by 12 months, given its size. Nevertheless, we think it is just the right size for infants to use as a tummy time mat and is our top pick for best play mat for babies under one year of age.

BEST INFANT PLAY MAT

Editor's Rating: 4.7/5.0
4.7/5

Material: non-toxic foam
Dimensions: 78 x 54 inches
Thickness: 0.6 inch
Design: one-piece, reversible

Why We Love It

Featured in the New York Magazine and Design Milk, the Little Bot Ofie Mat is the best infant play mat in our opinion because it strikes the perfect balance between firmness and softness.

“A play mat for babies should provide enough firmness to support their developing muscles and promote proper posture during playtime,” says Dr. Eva Shire, “It should, however, also offer sufficient softness to cushion their delicate skin and provide a comfortable surface for exploration.” This one here is exactly that, providing just the right amount of support that infants need.

Made from high-quality foam material that is 100% free of heavy metal, BPA, lead, phthalate and formaldehyde, it is rigorously tested to the highest European and U.S standards so parents can remove any toxicity concerns they may have against foam mats. If you are into minimalist designs, the clean lines and neutral colour palette will blend seamlessly into your home décor while not being overly stimulating also for younger infants whose eyesight is still developing.

Things To Take Note Of
Now, for a foam mat, the price of the Little Bot Ofie Mat is definitely on the high side so this could be a consideration for budget-conscious parents. Also, it is not water resistant – coffee, urine may leave stains on the surface but the good thing is it is a vacuum-safe mat. The minimalist design may also be a double-edge sword in that parents may find the lack of colourful patterns less engaging for older babies who prefer more visually stimulating surfaces.

BEST PLAY MAT FOR CRAWLING

Editor's Rating: 4.6/5.0
4.4/5

Material: polyethylene foam
Dimensions: 59 x 59 inches
Thickness: 0.24 inch
Design: one-piece, reversible

Why We Love It

Every play mat can be a baby crawling mat, but the Infantino Foldable Soft Foam Mat is probably the best baby play mat for crawling out of all thanks to a very simple but clever design of having fold-up sides on all four ends.

You see, when babies start crawling, they will roam about almost everywhere. By having these pop-up sides, you can create a safe crawling area for them to explore, ensuring they don’t crawl into say, the kitchen accidentally. Lay it flat and it is your standard play mat that supports any rolling, tummy time, and sitting up endeavours, with grippy textures that provide additional support for your little one.

The reversible design is another aspect that parents love as you get bright and colourful patterns on one side while the other is more subtle and neutral. This gives the flexibility to switch sides accordingly as baby grows, the latter for the early newborn stage and the former when they become slightly older. It folds compactly for easy moving or storing away so this is a plus point for parents who are always on the go.

Things To Take Note Of
While the mat provides a soft and cushioned surface, some parents may find the 0.24-inch foam not as thick or plush as they expected. We recommend laying it atop a carpeted area to increase the comfort level as that could be affected when placed on hard surfaces.

BEST MEMORY FOAM PLAY MAT

Editor's Rating: 4.3/5.0
4.3/5

Material: non-toxic foam
Dimensions: 84 x 57.6 inches
Thickness: 0.5 inch
Design: one-piece, reversible

Why We Love It

The look of a designer rug, the feel of a play mat. That’s what the Ruggish Lola Play Rug is – playmats that look like rugs. In fact, you can probably tell already from its name and standard rug size that it has both aesthetics and functionality, a play mat that looks like a rug for both living rooms and children nursery.

Easily distinguishable by its signature road map design that encourages imagination and interaction, the reverse side offers a stylish design that complements any home décor. The playmat rug is crafted with a layer of anti-fatigue memory foam so there is more cushioning than standard foam tiles, making it more comfortable for children to play on and for parents to engage in activities like yoga.

This memory foam rug comes in one piece so things like crumbs or dirt falling through (as can happen with interlocking mats) can be avoided. In any case, it is waterproof and easy to clean with just baby wipes or mild detergent/water solution. Free of BPA, phthalate, lead, latex, formaldehyde and EVA, it is eco-friendly and meets European Toy Standards.

Things To Take Note Of
It’s probably not surprising but this foam mat is on the higher end of the price spectrum. Despite its durability, it is not described as being pet-proof so households with pets may need to consider how the rug will stand up to digging and scratching. It is also worth noting that it is not stain-proof either despite being easy to wipe down and clean so certain spills may require more immediate attention.

BEST STYLISH BABY PLAY MAT

Editor's Rating: 4.2/5.0
4.2/5

Material: Graphene-enhanced EVA foam
Dimensions: 48 x 48 inches (small); 48 x 72 (medium); 72 x 96 (large); 96 x 144 (extra-large)
Thickness: 0.5 inch
Design: interlocking tiles

Why We Love It

The Famokids Baby Play Mat is another top contender if you’re looking for play mats that look like rugs. Unlike the Ruggish, this one here is made up of 2x2ft tiles that are easy to expand, resize, take apart and store, and is customizable in terms of size and shape to fit different spaces (additional squares can be purchased for an even larger play area).

Inspired by natural tones and patterns, it blends seamlessly into home décor making it suitable not only for the baby years but also as children grow. Incidentally, it can be repurposed for different use i.e. in bedrooms or even a mat for yoga or strength training so you can get your money’s worth.

The brand has also updated its original premium, non-toxic EVA foam to a new GraphEVA antibacterial foam, which helps deactivate bacteria and odour proteins to ensure a hygienic play area. Free of harmful chemicals, it is also waterproof so it can handle inevitable spills or baby spit-ups with ease.

Things To Take Note Of
It is recommended to use the Famokids play mat indoors only as direct sunlight may cause its patterns to fade. Also, sharp objects such as pet claws or high heels could damage the mat hence they should be avoided.

MOST VERSATILE PLAY MAT

Editor's Rating: 5.0/5.0
5/5

Material: non-toxic foam
Dimensions: 36 x 36 inches (mini); 38 x 38 (maxi)
Thickness: 1.5 inch
Design: one-piece (available in round and square)

Why We Love It

The Gathre Mini Square Play Mat is easily the most versatile playmat that you can find. It can be a baby tummy time mat, and then it can be a splash mat that catches any food that misses their mouth underneath the high chair. It can also be a beach towel or picnic blanket, or a portable changing pad all thanks to a waterproof construction and compact fold that fits in a diaper bag (even at its largest size).

Cushy memory foam covered in buttery soft bonded leather on one side and flocked suede on the other, it is cosy and soft to touch so you can be sure baby will be very comfortable on it. Free of toxins, PVC, phthalates and lead, you can have peace of mind that baby is not exposed to any harmful chemicals and it is wipeable for hygiene maintenance (although you can hose it down, too).

Round or square, printed or solid, big or small, the Gathre comes in a variety of aesthetically-pleasing hues. There is just so much to love about them!

Things To Take Note Of

While the memory foam provides comfort, this is not a padded or cushioned mat so if this is that is the type of floor mat you’re looking for, this is not it. The price point could also be a consideration, considering its size. Speaking of which, it may be too small for some preferences especially as a child grows and require more space to play but the Gathre comes in a larger size too, if that’s what you require.

How We Choose Our Best Baby Play Mat (and the things you should look for)

When selecting our best baby play mat options above, we look at several key factors to ensure both safety and enjoyment for your little one. Here are some of our top tips if you’re not sure where to begin with:
Material – Safe, Comfortable, and Easy to Clean

When considering the material of a baby play mat, we prioritize safety, comfort and durability. Opt for materials that are hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and free from harmful chemicals such as phthalates and BPA.

You will want one that is soft and cushioned too to give adequate support for your baby’s delicate skin, while machine-washable fabrics or wipeable surfaces are always a plus for easy hygiene maintenance. Don’t forget to consider the thickness of the material too – you want to make sure there is sufficient padding for your baby’s comfort during playtime.

Size and Shape

As you can tell from our reviews above, play mats come in different sizes and shapes. Choose one that accommodates your available space while still offering enough room for your baby to move and explore comfortably.

Whether it should be rectangular, circular, or another configuration is entirely up to how you want it to fit within your designated play area. A larger play mat will give more freedom of movement as baby grows, while a smaller, portable and foldable one can be convenient for travel or storage.

Stimulation

We also look at the stimulation factor when selecting our best baby play mat options. Play mats with vibrant colours, contrasting patterns, and visually stimulating designs will help capture baby’s attention and encourage visual exploration. For newborns, you’d want to go for something less stimulating and more neutral as their vision is still developing.

You may want to also consider mats with various textures and tactile elements too to promote sensory feedback, tactile exploration and fine motor skill development. A well-stimulating play mat can provide hours of entertainment and promote your baby’s cognitive and sensory development in a fun and engaging way.

Other FAQs

Babies can start using a play mat from birth. Start with brief sessions and gradually increase the duration as they grow.
While a play mat is not absolutely necessary for tummy time, it can certainly make the experience more enjoyable and comfortable for babies. In turn, it encourages them to stay on their bellies for longer periods which help with strengthening their neck, shoulder, and arm muscles, as well as promoting motor skills like rolling over/crawling.

It depends on the specific type of playmat you have (and the outdoor conditions). There are playmats like the Parklon baby mat that are designed to withstand outdoor elements like sun exposure and moisture with materials that are durable, waterproof and easy to clean – these ones wouldn’t have a problem. Others may not be suitable as they can deteriorate or damage when exposed to moisture or prolonged sunlight. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations before using a baby play mat outdoors.

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