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Baby boy playing with activity gym.
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Natalie Escobar

Best Baby Play Mats And Activity Gyms

We've rounded up some of our favorite play mats to keep baby entertained—and free up your hands for other to-dos.

You need a break and baby needs to be stimulated, which is kind of tough when you’ve only got two hands and you’re running on 15 minutes of sleep, right? Try one of these play mats, ranging from simple to action-packed.

1

Skip Hop Vibrant Village Activity Gym

The designers of this activity gym really thought of everything. Black-and-white graphics punctuated with bright colors help support baby’s growing perception of the rainbow. Interactive arches have lights for developing eyes to track and noise-making toys for small hands to grab. All in all, the gym features over 17 developmental activities and is BPA-, PVC- and Phthalate-free.

Buy it: $85, BabiesRUs.com

Photo: Skip Hop
2

Land of Nod Be On The Sea Activity Floor Mat

This playmat isn’t tricked out with mirrors or teethers, but the soft textures of the sewn-on sea creatures and the ruched fabric are lots of fun for baby to touch and crawl on. The simple design is pretty cute too.

Buy it: $119, LandOfNod.com

Photo: Land of Nod
3

Nook LilyPad Playmat

Designed to use anywhere—the beach, the park or your play room—this mat is incredibly versatile thanks to a simple design. Even better: it’s non-toxic, made from organic cotton and eucalyptus (super soft!), and is machine-washable.

Buy it: $120, Jet.com

Photo: Nook
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4

Bubabella

What this mat lacks in flashy features it makes up for in thoughtful design. The soft colors and bambi print are a fit for any nursery—and the multiple folds make it easy to stow away or convert to a totally new play space, like a tunnel to crawl through.

Buy it: $99, Bubabella.com

Photo: Bubabella
5

Ingenuity 2-in-1 Travel Bed and Playmat

If baby gets tuckered out during playtime, this playmat turns into a travel bed to secure them. Even better, it has a handle that lets you fold it up and take it anywhere baby needs a nap, and it’s completely machine-washable.

Buy it: $40, BabiesRUs.com

Photo: Ingenuity
6

Gathre AJJ Playmat

Perhaps the simplest of the group, this is not your typical crinkly, multi-textured mat. It’s made of leather, but it’s also waterproof and lead-free, making it perfectly safe for baby. Its 55 inch by 55 inch dimensions are perfect for doing crafts or spending afternoons at the park, and you can wipe it down with soap and water right after.

Buy it: $85, Gathre.com

Photo: Gathre
7

Tiny Love Meadow Days Super Mat

This colorful mat has rattling, crinkling surfaces that stimulate little ones’ senses and an illustrated narrative that can spur their imagination. The mat is oversized, giving baby extra room to stretch out and play.

Buy it: $40, TinyLove.com

Photo: Tiny Love
8

Fisher-Price Kick + Play Piano Gym

Stoke your infant’s musical genius with this fun gym that lets them learn through play. Baby’s feet kick and trigger music as a reward for wiggling around, while the overhead mobile encourages reaching up at the activity toys.

Buy it: $20, Jet.com

Photo: Fisher-Price
9

Bright Starts Tummy Time Prop + Play

This playmat doubles as a bear plush pal with a very specific purpose: providing a comfy environment for tummy time and floor play. This pal also comes with toys including a mirror, rattle and teether for baby to explore.

Buy it: $18, Amazon.com

Photo: Bright Starts
10

Mamas & Papas Stargaze Playmat

All of baby’s senses will be sparked by this playmat, which features pull toys and an interactive kick pad that triggers lights and sounds. There’s also lots of bells and whistles like a teether, fabric tags, a baby-safe mirror and crinkle textures that are fun for little hands to grab. The cool soft gray, mustard-yellow and plum color palette also ensures that it won’t stick out like a sore thumb in your house.

Buy it: $160, BuyBuyBaby.com

Photo: Mamas & Papas
11

Land of Nod Shape Up Activity Mat

If you’re trying to teach shapes to baby while encouraging tummy time, this is the perfect playmat. Each of the colorful shapes have different textures and little flaps to open, giving little hands lots of places to explore.

Buy it: $79, LandOfNod.com

Photo: Land of Nod
12

Yookidoo Gymotion Robo Playland

Consider this baby’s introduction to STEM. This mat’s 3-in-1 design encourages developmental milestones like tummy time, hand-eye coordination, motor skills and even curiosity. One of the coolest features is its motion-track buggy, which lets baby move plush robot figures back and forth.

Buy it: $75, Amazon.com

Photo: Yookidoo
13

Skip Hop Camping Cubs Baby Activity Gym

The woodsy theme and cute critters are just the cherry on top of this gym. Packed with over 17 animal-themed developmental activities, it features loads of fun textures and a tummy time pillow shaped like a sleeping bear.

Buy it: $80, BabiesRUs.com

Photo: Skip Hop
14

IKEA LEKA Playmat

A day at the pond or an afternoon on the mat? It’ll be hard to tell the difference thanks to the fun critters on this simple playmat. At 46.5 inches by 46.5 inches, baby will have plenty of room to sprawl out and explore. And yes; this big adventure space is machine-washable.

Buy it: $25, IKEA.com

Updated June 2017

Photo: IKEA
PHOTO: Lesley Mango / Getty Images