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Best baby play mats 2022 for a fun and stylish play space

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N

o one tells you how much time you’ll spend sitting on the floor before you have a baby, but you really do. So we advocate making the transition to floor dweller as comfortable as possible, and a play mat is a great way to do that. Plus your child will love it too.

What is a play mat?

A play mat is designed to provide babies and children with a little extra cushioning while they play. Babies benefit from tummy time from birth (this is lying flat on their tummies while an adult keeps a close eye), and play mats provide the perfect place to do their daily workout. Once they’re older, they’re also hugely handy for providing a soft surface to crawl around on and learn to walk on. All bumps are cushioned, and you have a nice, padded surface to sit on to boot.

Are there different types of play mats?

Absolutely. There are two main types of play mat: foam and fabric. Fabric mats have the benefit of being machine washable, and are lightweight enough to take with you when you’re out and about. This can be a lifesaver when you’ve got a young baby and are going places that aren’t set up for babies.

Foam mats are more substantial, and therefore more permanent in your home. Some are made from foam tiles that fit together like a jigsaw. This is great if you want to take them apart and store them away. Other foam mats are more akin to a rug – they feel like memory foam beneath your feet, and are great for kids and adults of all ages as they’re super comfy to sit on, warm under foot and offer substantial bouncy cushioning for any bumps and scrapes.

What should I look for when buying a play mat?

  • If you’re going down the fabric play mat route, check that they’re machine washable.
  • There are so many shapes and designs, so obviously that’s down to your personal choice. You might want to create the ultimate Insta-friendly flat lays with some trendy prints, or perhaps something more pared back and muted for your neutral nursery.
  • Some fabric play mats come with toys built in, such as mirrors and different textured fabrics to keep your baby entertained.
  • With foam mats, you need to check the size is going to fit your space. Many brands have puzzle mats that have “add on” tiles, so you can customise the size of your mat, for a cost of course.
  • And it might sound obvious, but with these more permanent mats, choose a design you can live with. We’ve found now we’ve come over to the side of replacing our pre-kids chic rug with a play mat, we’re total converts so will keep one around for a long time – so you need to be sure you’re happy with the look in your home.

Shop our favourites below

Totter and Tumble The Scout playmat

Totter and Tumble

We can’t really find any downside to this gorgeous memory-foam playmat. It feels totally luxurious under foot, and is a dream to sit on even when you’re been confined to the floor for ages.

We loved that the double-sized design gave a choice of two beautiful, stylish prints. The brand has an array of two-sided prints to choose from, but we plumped for their best seller – a dotty monochrome on one side (great for young babies who are just learning to focus) and a grey-and-white art deco chevron print on the other. The label also offer a few sizes. We tested the londonbusinessblog size, which is 210cm x 140cm – perfect for a larger room. There’s a compact size, and a round one too.

This playmat has loads of bounce, and our kids were clearly drawn to it. As soon as it was unrolled, they got down and brought all their toys onto it. Our hardwood floor tends to feel cold underfoot, but the Totter and Tumble added a lovely cosiness to our room and left chilly feet out of playtime. Once the kids were in bed it was fantastic as an extra-large yoga mat.

It was also the heaviest mat we tried, which meant once it was laid down it wasn’t going anywhere. After inevitable mess was made on the mat, it’s easy to clean up with a cloth and a gentle detergent (Totter and Tumble advise no to use a heavy-duty cleaner, or baby wipes). Incredibly hardwearing, this mat will probably see your kids through their whole childhood as long as you look after it.

Avery Row Stay & Play mat in Woodland Walk

Avery Row

We were absolutely charmed by the retro print on this fabric play mat. The whimsical woodland print features mushrooms, acorns and leaves in autumnal shades, which are seriously Insta friendly. Just think of the gorgeous shots you could get of your baby on this. One side has this beautiful print, while the other side is a rich sage green colour.

This rug was great for tummy time and having a kick about. It’s not super thick, but the fabric is hard-wearing yet soft. We really liked that we could fold it up and take it on the go, and also chuck it in the washing machine when messes invariably happened (at 30º). At 1m by 1m, the Avery Row play mat is probably better suited to babies rather than crawlers and toddlers, who will quickly veer off it.

This play mat is eco-friendly too, made from breathable organic cotton, organic dyes and recycled polyester wadding.

Aden & Anaïs Baby Bonding playmat

Aden and Anais

Gorgeously thick, this fabric play mat feels so comfy underfoot – we’re sad it doesn’t come in adult size so we can loll about on it. It has some very cute animals appliquéd onto the muslin surface and offers a lovely sensory experience for young babies. There’s a detachable mirror in the shape of a sun, a bird rattle that tucks away behind a cloud, and some leaves for little paws to crinkle.

Our little baby loved staring at themselves in the mirror (babies are self-obsessed little darlings, hey!), and feeling all the different textures. This is another play mat that you can fold and take with you – which makes it perfect for holidays or taking to friend’s or grandparent’s houses. And you can wash it on a cold wash too.

At 114cm by 114cm, it’s a really decent size for a young baby, and will keep them entertained without overstimulating them.

Gus and Beau Miffy playmat set in grey

Gus and Beau

How cute is this Miffy play mat? Yet in the cool grey tones, it looks sophisticated in your home too. The six foam squares lock together like a jigsaw, creating a bouncy floor surface. We found this perfect for our busy toddlers, who almost bounced when they fell over on it. We also love that it’s so easy to clean, and you can pack it away flat and store it easily in a cupboard. Or you can use the included Miffy carry bag to take it out and about or on holiday.

The mat is made from non-toxic materials, is BPA free and are 1.4cm thick. Once all locked together the mat is 120cm by 180cm – which is a really good size for living rooms and toddlers. If you want to go bigger, you can buy add-on tiles to make it the size and shape that fits your home.

Etta Loves reversible sensory playmat

Etta Loves

Everything that mum-owned label Etta Loves makes is gorgeous – and this fabric play mat is no different. The circular mat (which is 39 inches in diameter) is fluffy thanks to the polyester filling. The latter of which is all held in place by neat quilting done in concentric circles.

One side of the play mat has a black and white botanical print. This is designed to appeal to very young babies, who see monochrome objects most clearly. The sensory fun of this will also help them tune up the muscles in their eyes as they try to focus on the pattern.

Once your baby turns five months, flip it over to the more colourful side, which is also designed to keep babies interested. The idea is that both patterns will make tummy time more fun, and encourage babies to hold their heads up more to get a better view of the design – how clever is that?

The fabric is beautifully soft, made from organic cotton and is machine washable.

The Modern Nursery Scandi Patterned Puzzle play mat

The Modern Nursery

If you’re looking for a play mat that could be a permanent fixture in your home, without making it look like a soft play hellscape, this could be right up your street.

The interlocking foam puzzle pieces create a subtle scalloped pattern that could easily pass as a living-room rug. At around 1.5cm deep, the mat doesn’t create too much of a trip hazard, and the six tiles fit together to make a rectangle of 128cm by 190cm – a generous size for the price, we think.

The Modern Nursery play mat was a dream to sit on – feeling padded and warm – which is great when as a parent of a baby you spend a lot of time sitting on the floor. It’s also really easy to clean – according to the brand you can use antibacterial spray on it too to really keep germs at bay. It’s great also for sweeping up crumbs once your baby starts to roam and snack.

The Singing Ant Modern Puzzle mat

The Singing Ant

We liked this puzzle mat where the name is derived from the pieces of foam that fit together like a puzzle. This is different from others we’ve tested. It has rounded corners, so it looks more like a rug. And it doesn’t have the foam strips down the side, which our toddlers love to pull out – so that’s a double win for us.

The print on this puzzle mat is subtle and unique, as it’s flecked with metallic gold. We tried the midi size, which is six tiles that lock together to create a 170cm by 114cm mat. You can however by larger or smaller sets, and then also add on middle tiles to make it the size you need. The EVA tiles are non toxic, of course, and at 1.5cm thick give a really good cushion for bumps and bums.

Infantino Giant Sensory Discovery mat

Infantino

This play mat is a hybrid of a traditional fabric play mat and a play gym. It’s a great mat for chucking out when you just need a minute to stick a wash on (there’s always so much washing, right?). It’s got a cute animal character design, which babies will love to gaze at, as well as a moveable mirror so they can check themselves out.

There are also tactile ribbons on the edges, textured shapes sewn on and a peek-a-boo sloth/ Who can resist a sloth? Not us! It also folds into a neat square, which you can secure in place using the handy tabs. The fabric is very smooth, with a bit of a sheen to it which makes wiping up messes easy. Plus you can pop it in the washing machine.

We were really impressed with the generous size of this mat – it’s 121cm square – so you can easily fit more than one baby on there if you’re lucky enough to have multiples, or you’re hosting a play date.

Little Green Sheep baby play mat

Little Green

We really like the understated sophistication of this play mat. It’s a simple circular fabric playmat, which is quilted. On one side it has a grey super soft 100 per cent cotton construction, and the other is made from a non-slip fabric. The whole thing can be slung in the wash, and packs down compact to slip in its cotton bag and be taken with you on the go.

Sure, it’s not going to win any awards for startling colours or revolutionary design, but there’s something nice about the simplicity of it. And do you know what’s extra smart? It’s designed to fit into Little Green Sheep’s teepees, and we reckon it’d fit in other models too. The perfect solution for creating a cosy little hideaway for your child.

Tiny Love Magical Tales Super Mat

Tiny Love

This 150 x 100cm play mat is large enough for a few babies at a time. The design will appeal to young ‘uns, as there’s plenty of monochrome prints to look at, which is what they can focus on best. Older babies will love interacting with the ribbon tag and crinkly textures. There’s even an adorable peek-a-boo bug behind a felt house to discover.

The mat is nicely padded, and made from a wipe-clean fabric that will make spills and crumbs easy to clear up. The non-slip fabric on the back stop it sliding away on hardwood floors. We also like that while it’s semi rigid, it’s still easy enough to fold up and fasten in place so we can take it with us on the go.

Mataplay Babycare Boho Red & Alphabet soft floor mat

Mataplay

Adorned with a cute design, this playmat provided plenty of opportunity to talk to our children about animals and letters. It formed the basis of lots of play, and made our playroom look gorgeous to boot. The alternate side is a bold red repeated pattern, which is great if you have this in a living room – you can have animals while the kids are up, and then flip over to something more sophisticated once they’re in bed.

The mat is made from a thick foam, and comes in one single piece. This is great for easy rolling up. It’s also totally wipe clean and is antimicrobial, so it will look fresh and stay germ free. There’s a gentle texture to the mat too, which stopped it slipping about.

It’s also a really generous size – 210 x 140cm – which fitted in our decent-sized living room perfectly.

Munchkin and Bear Voyager play mat

Munchkin and Bear

Another one-piece foam mat, this option from Munchkin and Bear is slightly more lightweight than others we tried. At 140cm x 200cm it is on the petite side, which makes is great for those who have a smaller spaces. The playmat has a slight sheen to it and a gentle waffle texture, which is very nice underfoot. Our kids happily spent hours playing on it and it’s probably the most squishy mat we tried, at 1.5cm thick. The Voyager has a subtle nautical design on one side, which felt really modern. The reverse side was a camel-coloured polka dot, and it was nice to mix it up by flipping between the two. But there are also loads of other prints and sizes to choose from at Munchkin and Bear.

Cleaning the mat was easy – warm water and a microfibre cloth did the job well. If you have more stubborn messes, the brand suggest using a gentle soap, but never baby wipes.

Our kids loved this mat, and happily rolled around on it and chose to sit on it to watch TV over the sofa.

Verdict

We absolutely loved the Totter and Tumble Scout mat. It’s great for kids of all ages, hardwearing and easy to clean. It looks fantastic in our living room, and is really comfy too. If you’re looking for something that’s easier to take with you on the go, Avery Row really stole our hearts with their gorgeous retro prints.

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