CircleBumpCheckedFilledMedicalBookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxCheckBoxFilled

The Best Tummy Time Toys for Babies

Tee up tummy time as a fun activity with these awesome toys.
save article
profile picture of Christin Perry
Updated January 5, 2024
Tummy Time Toys-hero
Image: Target
We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.

Shortly after bringing baby home from the hospital, you’ll want to start placing baby on their belly for brief periods of play time. Why? Because “tummy time,” as it’s called, is crucial to developing the muscular strength that supports key milestones like holding their head up and rolling over. Tummy time should start as soon as possible, says Marielle Marquez, OTR/L, SWC, CLEC, NTMTC, a pediatric occupational therapist and founder of Thrive Little. “It’s important to start doing tummy time on the floor before baby is a month old,” she says. “The longer you wait to start tummy time on the floor, the harder it will be for baby and the more they will likely resist. The younger you start, the more they will be used to tummy time being a part of their normal routine.” The thing is, babies aren’t always huge fans of tummy time. That’s where tummy time toys come in handy.

Toys for tummy time can help hold baby’s interest for longer and keep some of that fussing at bay, so you can enjoy some of your earliest moments playing together. Here, we’ll walk you through the importance of tummy time, what to look for and the best tummy time toys to choose from.

How We Chose the Best Tummy Time Toys

A good selection of toys will peak baby’s interest and make tummy time a joyful experience. And as you’ll be using them everyday, it’s important to choose wisely. To help you find the best tummy time toys our editorial team took the following steps:

  • We reached out to a pediatric occupational therapist and asked for her professional opinion on what to look for when choosing toys for tummy time.
  • We consulted expert sources such as The American Academy of Pediatrics and The National Institute of Child Health and Development to find out why tummy time is important for infant development.
  • We chose products that are child-safe and easy to clean, as babies love to explore the world with their mouths.
  • We considered reviews from real parents to ensure we had the best view of how a range of babies and families enjoy these play mats.
  • Since many of us are parents, we relied on our own personal experience with these products. As a mom of four, I have firsthand knowledge of how a good play mat holds up over time.

Editorial integrity is at the heart of everything we publish. Read about how The Bump develops and reviews all articles, including product reviews.

Best Tummy Time Toys to Shop

Best tummy time toy for newborns

Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Music Glow and Grow Gym Infant Playmat with Lights & Removable Toys
Image: Walmart

We love this activity mat as a tummy time toy for newborns since it features plenty of black and white patterns, which provide perfect contrast for babies right from birth. It comes with five detachable toys, including an otter that plays music and lights up, a self-discovery mirror, a rattle hedgehog, a snail teether and a crinkly rainbow. Plus, removable arches allow baby to play either on their back or on their belly. What’s more, this 30 by 30 inch playmat is an ideal place for baby to practice those early rolling skills as well.

Age rating: 0 to 24 months | Batteries required: Yes

Buy Now

Best tummy time pillow

Fisher-Price Grow-with-Me-Tummy Time Llama Plush Baby Wedge with 3 Take-Along Sensory Toys
Image: Walmart

For a tummy time pal that lets baby sit up a bit higher, give this trendy little llama a try! This multifunctional toy offers three ways to play based on baby’s developmental stage: laying flat (for newborns), resting on the pillow (once baby has head control) or sitting up (for older babies). The accompanying toys—including a rattle, teether and mirror—provide plenty of stimulation during tummy time sessions. Plus, you can attach the child-friendly mirror to the llama’s mouth so baby can look up at themselves in awe.

Age rating: 0+ months | Batteries required: No

Buy Now

Best Montessori tummy time toy

Baby Tummy Time Book by Taf Toys
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$14.99

This tummy time book stands upright and has flippable pages that are endlessly fascinating to babies. The fabric pages are soft to the touch and boast tons of crinkly textures for baby to explore. Better yet, the toy features black and white images that are often displayed in Montessori-inspired environments, since they provide stimulation for newborn vision and help infants concentrate and focus. It offers two stages of play: newborns can gaze at the black and white pages, while older babies look at colorful illustrations with built-in toys designed to capture their attention. Flip another page to reveal a child-safe mirror that’ll help your little one recognize facial expressions and develop a sense of self-awareness.

Age rating: 0+ months | Batteries required: No

Buy Now

Best tummy time mat

 Bright Starts Tummy Time Prop & Play Baby Activity Mat for Infants, Polar Bear, Unisex
Image: Walmart

This adorable tummy time mat offers a variety of ways to play. It comes with a matching wedge pillow—which can help prop baby up while they’re practicing neck control—while the face, arms and legs offer different sensory toys. Choose from a cute polar bear, sloth or unicorn, all in a soft, washable fabric.

Age rating: 0 to 36 months | Batteries required: No

Buy Now

Best textured tummy time toy

K’s Kids Flip Fish Baby Toy
Image: Melissa & Doug
Buying Options
Melissa & Doug|$24.99

Dive into playtime with this fun flip fish by Melissa & Doug. The plush toy has multi-textured scales that can be lifted up to reveal hidden pictures, toys and even a mini mirror. Lay it flat in front of baby and encourage them to explore the sensory delights, while you describe each element. It’s an excellent tummy time toy that’ll help exercise their burgeoning physical, cognitive and social skills.

Age rating: 0+ months | Batteries required: No

Buy Now

Best tummy time water mat

Splashin'kids Inflatable Tummy time Premium Water mat
Image: Walmart

There’s something totally irresistible about a play mat that’s filled with water. When you set baby up with this ocean-themed tummy time water mat, even the grumpiest little one will turn that frown upside down. This 26 by 20 inch mat features a full color background and six bright toys that will encourage baby to press, push and explore.

Age rating: 3 to 18 months | Batteries required: No

Buy Now

Best tummy time mirror

Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror
Image: Walmart

This tummy time mirror toy for baby is bound to be a favorite right from birth. The black and white design makes this toy suitable for even the youngest babies, since high contrast objects are easiest for newborns and their developing vision to spot. Plus, the cute bee and rattle ball are engaging for slightly older babies. The true reflection mirror cuts down on warping while providing a safe, unbreakable tummy time toy.

Age rating: 0+ months | Batteries required: No

Buy Now

Best tummy time light-up toy

Baby Einstein Glow & Discover Light Bar Activity Station
Image: Amazon

The Baby Einstein Glow and Discover Light Bar takes our pick for the best tummy time light-up toy. This versatile toy can lay flat for tummy time or be propped up on the floor in front of baby to stimulate their senses. As baby touches the colorful sections, it lights up, providing plenty of visual enticement. Two volume levels and three different play modes—including music, animals and colors—ensure hours of entertainment. Plus, you can toggle between three languages for playtime in English, French or Spanish.

Age rating: 3+ months | Batteries required: Yes

Buy Now

Best tummy time sensory toy

Skip Hop Baby Tummy Time Playmat, Farmstand
Image: Amazon

This pastel-hued play mat is the perfect sensory toy for tummy time. The adorable farm theme features more than 10 developmental activities, including toys that crinkle, rattle and present different textures to make playtime as stimulating as possible. And when tummy time is over, the mat rolls up and can be carried by the handle for easy transportation and storage.

Age rating: 0+ months | Batteries required: No

Buy Now

Best tummy time toy for older babies

Infantino Prop-A-Pillar Tummy Time & Seated Support
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$40.99

For older babies, tummy time may include sitting up, and possibly even stretching into a crawling position. That’s why an option that allows them to either sit up or lay down is the perfect tummy time toy for older babies. For this stage, we love this pick from Infantino. The colorful pal can be stretched out to use as a mat or coiled up to allow plenty of support for baby to practice sitting (it even has a security belt). It comes with two toys: a baby mirror and a silicone textured teether, which can be removed and repositioned depending on how you’ve arranged this cute caterpillar.

Age rating: 0+ months | Batteries required: No

Buy Now

Why Is Tummy Time Important?

Tummy time is basically a workout for baby—it engages key muscle groups and encourages gross motor skills that are necessary for baby to lift their head and master head control, roll over, sit up and crawl. According to The National Institute of Child Health and Development the three main benefits of tummy time are as follows:

  • Strengthens muscles. Tummy time helps to “strengthen baby’s neck, shoulder and arm muscles so the baby can start to sit up, crawl, and eventually walk on their own.”
  • Aids motor skill development. Supervised tummy time can help improve baby’s ability to move and control their muscles to complete various actions.
  • Prevents flat spots on the back of baby’s head. Spending time on their tummy also helps avoid flat head syndrome.

Aside from the positive effects listed above, tummy time can also help alleviate gas pain and aid visual development. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your baby!

What Are Good Tummy Time Toys?

When it comes to choosing the best tummy time toys, look for options that capture baby’s visual or auditory interest, or inspire baby to reach for them, thereby encouraging motor skills. A play mat is a great option if you have hard flooring, and these can be used right from birth, says Marquez. If you do invest in a play mat, touch the material and consider how it’ll feel against baby’s delicate skin. As experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics point out “when your baby is on their tummy, the skin on their stomach, legs, arms and face touches the surface on which they are lying.”

“Slightly older babies with more acute vision are often enchanted by water tummy time mats, which can add an interesting element for baby and also can challenge their balance a bit.” Once baby’s strength has developed and they’re starting to scoot or crawl, a tummy time toy that moves makes a great choice, as it encourages baby’s mobility early on.

Sources

Marielle Marquez, OTR/L, SWC, CLEC, NTMTC, is a pediatric occupational therapist and founder of Thrive Little, a site that educates parents on child development. She currently works in the NICU of the outpatient therapy clinic at her local community hospital. She has a certification in neonatal massage, is a certified lactation educator and has an advanced certification in feeding and swallowing.

US Department of Health and Human Services, Tummy Time for a Healthy Baby

American Academy of Pediatrics, 3 Tummy Time Activities to Try With Your Baby, July 2023

save article
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List