Curious and so adventurous, babies are just little explorers in tiny bodies! How do you nurture their curiosity and facilitate their mental and physical development when on-the-go? Baby travel play mats are a good place to start.
It can be easy to overlook the fundamental things between the late nights, early mornings, messy diaper surprises, and food spills.
But, a simple problem needs a simple solution like a travel play mat for baby! Entertain those growing minds with colorful designs, sounds, and textures, strengthen their muscles with active play, and give them the simplest of pleasures. Maybe even find some time for yourself in the process!
For hygiene and safety reasons, letting your baby play on the ground at the park, hotel, and airport isn’t ideal. While baby travel toys and a blanket may be enough for short outings, choosing the best travel play mat is essential for longer trips.
Baby travel play mats are much safer than playing on a bed because they allow the baby to explore on solid ground, without the risk of falling.
Play mats and travel blankets are hygienic as they keep your baby and their toys off dirty carpets and floors.
Tummy time is the most effective way to aid baby muscle development. Increase the time your baby spends on working these muscles by using portable baby play mats.
Once your baby is comfortable on their mat, you can move their toys and other playthings out of their reach. Their curiosity will make them stretch and reach for their toys, encouraging babies to interact with their surroundings.
Small purchases matter just as much as the big ones when it comes to caring for your baby. From choosing the right bottles, clothes, and crib to the toys they need, the decisions are endless. Picking out the best baby travel play mat for you and your baby is no different.
Between functionality, material, cost, and design here are a few pointers to help you make the right choice for your little one.
This is the most important thing to check when buying a baby travel mat as babies spend a lot of time playing on it. If your baby is going to be in contact with anything for a long time, it should be baby-safe, thick, and soft. Foam mats tend to provide the most cushioning, so be sure to opt for them whenever possible.
Most mats are guaranteed to be free of harmful chemicals such as BPA, phthalates, lead, latex, PVC, and formaldehyde. However, it is always a good idea to do your research and check the material descriptions of the products.
With that being said, comfort isn’t the only thing that the mat’s material will affect. Questions about textured surfaces, the play mat’s durability, and ease of cleaning and washing are all things to you’ll want to consider.
Textured mats are excellent for developing your baby’s sense of touch.
Machine-washable mats are preferred for ease of use and cleaning. Babies are messy. Play areas are messy. Reduce clean-up time to a minimum with these mats.
A compact yet functional mat with good portability is a must for travel or even easy storage at home. Some mats even convert into quirky toy storage bags, making cleaning and organization that much simpler.
Most play mats will cost you a pretty penny but are worth the investment considering their benefits. Priced anywhere between $20 and $100, there are some travel baby play mats that are easier on the wallet and others that come with more high-end features. Worry not for you will find every kind on this list!
While focusing on product details is important, answering what the mat can do for your baby’s development is most important. Developmental activities encourage and facilitate everything from sensory, cognitive, and motor development to self-awareness.
Play mats allow babies to move freely. The extra space allows for more activity and exercise.
Once you have a play mat in your possession, investing in toys with colors and sounds will promote the baby’s other senses. These toys may come as a package deal with some mats or you may have to buy them separately.
Having baby-safedangling toys around the mat encourages babies to exercise their arms and legs as they engage with the bright colorful objects. Consider looking for play mats with these included.
The right play mat can really prove to benefit a baby’s overall development. Let’s look at some of our top picks for travel baby play mats.
With its elemental design, the Lay and Play Adventure Mat lives up to its name. Lightweight and functional, this is the best portable play mat for your hiking trips, park adventures, and beach visits together. This play mat focuses on the basic necessities and less on the extra fancy trappings. It's also the perfect play mat to pull out at the airport!
Offering easy assembly and compact storage, the Play Adventure Baby Play Mat provides a safe and clean play area and tummy time wherever you go!
The toxin-free mat is machine-washable, while the rings are dishwasher safe, and it's even easy to wipe and spot clean. One friendly reminder from a few users is to tumble dry the mat in the low heat setting in order to retain the quality of the product.
These mats are an initiative started by a small family-owned business in Denver. Maybe the best reason yet to invest!
Larger than the other travel baby play mats, the Tiny Love mat offers more space for your adventurous baby!
Designed with adorable and colorful cartoon animals or princesses over a quilt pattern, this mat comes with a teething ring, baby mirror, and crinkle fabric to keep your baby engaged. These attachments promote facial recognition and tactile development. While the teethers and rings are permanently sewn onto the mat, the mirror is removable.
Many parents recommend adding extra padding underneath the mat, especially when using it on hardwood floors.
Doubling as both a quilt and a play mat, this travel baby play mat may be the perfect companion when flying with a baby.
Machine washable, portable, and made of standard baby-safe material.
One of the thriftier options on our list, the Bright Stars play mat comes in many styles and with accessories.
Choose between a polar bear, sloth, teddy bear, or even a unicorn, and brighten up your baby’s play area with some flair. Each play mat comes with a matching prop pillow for added upper body support for your developing baby.
To keep your baby engaged in active play, there are rattles, crinkle toys, satin taggies, and various attachments along with the mat. Colorful loops are also present which make changing the toys according to the growth and development of your baby easy.
The detachable play toys provide excellent, safe sound exposure for those tiny ears and a baby-safe mirror allows your baby to engage in coordinated movements and self-recognition.
Nurture your baby’s curiosity and growth with this prop and play activity mat. Support your baby’s development with the option of propping up the bear’s head in the early days or when required.
The mat is made of toxin-free material and is machine washable. It may also be wiped with a wet cloth for those small spit-ups. Avoid immersing in water to prolong the mat’s life span.
The blue-green Munchkin Brica Playmat keeps things simple and functional and is perfect for a day at the beach, the park, or a relaxing Sunday morning at home. With its bright design that makes it easy to spot, it creates a clean safe play area your munchkin will love.
Although this travel play mat for babies doesn't come with dangling toys, it offers loops to make space for any baby toys you wish to attach.
An interesting feature of this mat is the built-in pouch which also serves as a secret pocket when laid flat. Use it to keep your valuables so you can relax and lay down with baby without worrying about losing your valuables.
A few parents report that the mat is slightly thin and may require extra weight to support the weighted corners in keeping it in place. The lightweight, machine washable, water repellent material, and portability of the mat, however, make it ideal for a simple play area for your baby.
Functionality, design, and affordability, this Play and Go Drawstring has it all! Designed for older children and toddlers, this simple circular play mat doubles as toy storage.
Most reviews commend the polycotton fabric for maintaining its color and texture despite multiple washes. This handy baby travel play mat also happens to come in multiple prints, including a map of the USA, a starry night sky, a road map, and the world at a glance.
Lined with an artistic print canvas on either side and a perimeter of drawstring for closure, this play mat is a favorite among parents and children alike. Spread your baby's toys out on the mat during play time and just as quickly pack up by pulling the drawstring with the toys still inside.
Transition your baby from a supine to an upright sitting position using just one simple maneuver with this lay-to-sit-up play mat.
Offering up to 20 different developmental activities, it is designed to transform into one of the best travel play gyms for babies at three different stages: laying on their back, tummy, and sitting up with support.
Each of these positions promotes a specific developmental milestone such as depth perception, gross motor skills, and social interaction respectively.
Yookidoo’s baby play mat includes four arches to attach the motion-activated soft musical plane, dog rattle, sliding beads, teething handle, baby-safe mirror, or any other attachable toy you may already have.
Fun links are available for toys during lay and play time, allowing the baby to reach for the toys. Buckle straps are built in for securing the baby once your baby advances to sitting up and playing.
Despite being one of the more pricey options on this list, this play mat is well worth the investment for the curiosity it fosters in developing babies. By supporting the baby while sitting up, it promotes hand-eye coordination, and tummy time helps with essential muscle development.
Made of baby-safe material and well cushioned, this mat doesn’t need any other support or padding. Some of the attachable toys may require batteries, but other than that, this mat is absolutely fuss-free. The travel baby play mat easily folds for convenient storage and travel.