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The Best Baby Tummy Time Mats To Prep Babies for Crawling

They're designed to help build your infant's neck muscles and get them ready to become mobile.

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.

If you're looking for a great portable mat to take to the park, or put out in your yard, this one is a solid choice. It's machine-washable. It's large enough to provide ample space to play, but then folds up when you're ready to head indoors. It's plush and padded, and has a mirror to help babies stare at their favorite subject: Themselves. There's also a sweet carrot teether.

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.

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.

Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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