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When To Start Using Baby Activity Mat

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Baby playing on an activity mat
Photo by Meruyert Gonullu

Your baby is here, and now you’re incredibly excited and want to use the baby gear as fast as possible. Now you want to know when your baby can start using the baby activity mat. 

Babies can use activity mats from day 1 to 3 months. Although they aren’t bad for younger babies, the only time your baby can make the best out of a play mat is when they hit 3 to 6 months. 

Activity mats come in different shapes, sizes, and textures. But what should come to mind when you hear of a play mat is a bright-colored interactive mat. 

Features Of An Activity Mat

Although activity or play mats carry different features,  they all have some universal features. Below are the elements of an activity mat:

  • Comfortable foam or padded surface made of soft fabric
  • Easy to set up
  • Portable
  • Have different textiles to aid in discovery and interactions
  • Most come with dangling toys fixed on a bar
  • Some have built-in musical instruments

Types Of Play Mats

Choosing an activity mat is hard for first-time parents or parents who have yet to use one. To make the process easier, you must acquaint yourself with the different play mats to understand what they are for and how they can benefit your baby. 

Check out the type of activity mats below before you purchase one for your baby.

  1. Puzzle Mats

If you have a toddler or a baby whose reached the exploration stage, then a puzzle play mat is a good choice. I find puzzle mats ideal for toddlers who are making their first steps. Choose a puzzle mat that is made of extra thick foam. A puzzle mat can be laid on tiles, hardwood floors,s or any flat surface.

  1. Activity Gym Mats

Activity gym mats are ideal for babies who have started to play with toys. These mats have hanging toys for the baby to reach out for a while, lying on their backs. The activity gym mat also features large ring attachments that keep your baby engaged and entertained.

  1. Tummy Time Mats

Tummy time mats are mainly used by infants and babies from three months. As their name suggests, tummy time mats are used for tummy time. These mats are also helpful for the development of the baby’s core strength and motor skills.

  1. Water Play Mats

Water play mats are colorless mats filled with water and cute floating toys. These mats are super fun for babies, and you can quickly grab your baby’s attention with this map. 

Another advantage of water play mats is that they allow a baby to explore water without causing any mess. 

Benefits Of Activity Play Mats

The importance of play mats cannot be ignored. Below are some of the benefits of activity mats:

  1. Physical Exercise

Activity mats provide a safe and comfortable surface for your child to play and exercise. For younger babies below three months, an activity mat aids their back and neck muscle development during tummy time. 

  1. Improve Motor Skills

Another advantage of using a baby activity mat is it aids in developing motor skills for babies aged 3- 5 months. At this stage, your baby will try to reach and grab the dangling toys hanging over the mat. 

  1. Hand and Eye Coordination

Activity mats aid in developing hand and eye coordination because once babies see the toys, they’ll try to touch them. This exercise is what we call hand and eye coordination. The different types of toys available make babies reach this milestone faster. 

  1. Cognitive Growth

Activity mats are bright-colored and have toys, lights, and sounds. These features stimulate the baby and grab their attention. These mats also help the baby discover how the toys work, raising curiosity. 

  1. Sensory Stimulation

Activity mats have different colors, textures, sounds, and lights that help to develop babies’ sensory stimulation. 

When To Stop Using An Activity Mat

There’s no limit to when you should stop using the baby activity mat. I’ve realized that babies don’t outgrow activity mats and can use them until they pass the toddler stage. 

You might want the activity mat now because you’re planning to use it for tummy time, but later on, you’ll realize it’s useful for a baby to play at any age. 

Your baby will lose interest because they get used to it by the time they hit eight months, and at this stage, because they are probably crawling, it becomes hard to confine them to a play mat. 

However, you can make use of the mat in other ways. You can turn it into a picnic mat for your baby when you go out. 

When To Start Using Baby Activity Mat: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are play activity mats good for babies?

Yes. Activity mats are made of foam, providing a soft surface for babies to play and discover the world. Besides that, play mats enhance the development of sensory and cognitive skills. Because babies play on the mat, it also provides a good surface for physical exercise, strengthening muscles. 

  1. At what age do babies start using play mats?

Babies can start using the activity mat beginning at any age. You can start using the mat as soon as possible, even when your baby is just two weeks old. 

Gloriah Mnyaki
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