Yes, they’re cute, but the best tummy time mats serve a pretty major purpose: To get babies ready for sliding on their bellies and ultimately crawling. And while stylized (and staged) Instagram photos may seek to prove otherwise, babies don’t exactly love being on their tummies because it’s, you know, actual and actually annoying work. That’s where tummy time toys, disguised in the form of vibrant mats, play a crucial role. They distract infants so they can develop strong neck and shoulder muscles and develop their motor skills.
A tummy time mat should be easy to clean because babies spit up and drool. A lot. It should have a variety of engaging things for them to grab, pull, yank, or shake. By the time they fit five months, babies see a solid spectrum of colors, so go for bright, varied hues and patterns. At around the same time, they also develop depth perception and are able to see a three-dimensional view of the world, so make sure the mat has plenty of objects they can play with. As for size and shape, that’s your call.
The high contrast graphics help babies with pattern recognition, while the hidden mirror is great for games of peek-a-boo effect. There's also a teether, a squeaker, and crinkle paper to engage tactile exploration. This one, however, is not machine-washable.
Part play gym, part ball pit, this one includes a mirror and five toys. It goes from tummy time mat, to a bolster pillow and mirror for overhead play or sit and play, and then morphs into a ball pit for older babies who can sit up on their own. You get a linkable teether and 40 balls.
What is it about llamas that's so damn irresistible? This one supports your baby during tummy time while also providing major sensory stimulation thanks to a mirror and multiple toys. The wedge supports your baby as he goes from lying on his back to pushing up in tummy time to sitting up.
This swanky mat forgoes lights and sounds for the more natural stimulation of shapes and colors. It has a removable fabric cover, and the interior is made of latex foam, so it's ultra-padded. It has two loops for attaching toys.
If a plain Jane tummy time mat won't cut it, upgrade to this one. It plays music and lights up, and has 17 toys to keep your child entertained. We're talking hanging reversible toys, rattles, rings, a mirror, and a teether. The soft toys and mat are machine-washable.
This play mat is designed to grow with your little one. Five development zones let you 'reveal or conceal' as you wish so you can encourage exploration or prevent overstimulation. It’s quick and easy to spot clean. Or, detach the legs and focus zone and toss the whole mat in the washing machine. This play gym is made with 100 percent baby-safe materials, including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood for its standing legs and organic cotton for its mouthable teether.
This activity center is loaded with 17 developmental activities and 13 loops that give moms and dads the option to hang toys high or low if they want to encourage their little ones to reach and stretch. A supportive tummy-time pillow boasts a plush surface on one side and a fun print on the other. The crinkle leaves, squeaker flower, and baby-safe mirror, which is removable for machine-washing, are all big hits with curious infants.
If you subscribe to the theory that less is way more, this play mat is a solid pick. This reversible, machine-washable mat has high-contrast safari animals on one side and a soothing pattern on the other side. It's made of organic cotton muslin.
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