Benefits of Play Mats For Babies

What is a play mat?

A play mat is a cushioned surface specifically designed and tailored to the needs of babies and younger children. A play mat proffers a safe area for infants where they can learn to roll over and crawl. Baby play mats often feature engaging patterns, colors and textures that aid in stimulating baby’s senses. It is worth mentioning that there are many benefits of play mats, and this particular piece serves as a guide for parents who are searching for play mats. This informational piece would allow you to make an informed decision regarding the play mat by highlighting the aspects which you should look for while purchasing play mats for your babies.

What are the benefits of play mats for babies?

1. Enhanced safety and hygiene

Play mats offer enhancedhygiene and safety features which are essential for infant’s well-being. These mats are specifically manufactured from baby friendly materials that are non-toxic and safe for babies. Moreover, the additional cushioned surface acts as a protective barrier between baby and hard floor surface thus minimizing the risk of injury during play. One of the many advantages of baby mats is that these are very easy to clean as most of them are waterproof and machine washable. Hence, babies can enjoy their time playing, rolling over and exploring.

2. Stimulating hand-eye coordination

Play mats vitally enable infants for movement, and most of them come with a variety of toys that are strategically placed on the mat encouraging young ones for reaching out, grasping and exploring, thus stimulating their hand-eye coordination. Many parents think are confused that are play mats good for children, well if you are one of those then you’ll definitely find an answer in the fact that play mat activities provide essential practice for focusing and visually tracking objecting before grasping, hence strengthening their brain and limbs. Over time these repeated actions and activities enhance child’s fine motor skills and contribute to their cognitive development.

3. Facilitating cognitive growth

The colourful patterns, designs and textures play a crucial role in stimulating tactile and visual senses of babies and play mats are equipped with all of these. These additional toys, patterns and textures encourage exploration and curiosity which facilitates cognitive growth. Moreover, few play mats also come with interactive features such as toys and mirrors which enhance infant’s understanding of cause an effect. These multisensory experiences promote brain development as babies begin to recognize sounds, colors and shapes. Active engagement with surroundings in a safe and open environment allows babies to develop important cognitive abilities which lay a solid foundation for future learning.

4. Supporting muscle development

Play mats are ideal for facilitating and enhancing muscle development in babies. Babies are encouraged to do essential movements such as crawling and rolling fearlessly because of the soft cushioning surface of the play mat. These movements strengthen their muscles and improves inter-muscular coordination. One of the major benefits of play mat is that babies can do tummy time in a controlled and safe environment. This exercise helps young ones to develop stability and control which lays the foundation for later milestones such as sitting and walking. Moreover, babies can themselves play around on the play mat under parental supervision which aids in muscle and bone development.

5. Promoting motor skill development

Movement and Coordination are essential elements of motor skill development and play mats provide a safe and engaging space to practice these for babies. As babies lean forward and backward towards objects in order to grasp them, they navigate around the mat. This boosts their hand-eye and body coordination which in turn sharpens their fine motor skills. Babies love to crawl on play mat which helps in building muscle strength and aids in development of gross motor skills. Moreover, the variety and diversity of textures on the pay mat also encourages infants to explore different corners of the play mat thus fostering growth of essential motor skills.

6. A mode of activity when you’re busy

Play mats serve as engaging and safe mode of activity for babies when parents are busy. Placing a baby on play mat with age-appropriate toys not only keeps them entertained but also makes them physically stimulated while parents can attend to their tasks. The cushioned surface is secure and encourages babies to explore and role. Moreover, the toys and interactive textures on the play mat encourages independent play and thus providing parents a much-needed breather. Hence, not only the babies are entertained but they are engaged in a healthy physical activity which lends time to parents to finish up their routine tasks.

At what age do you need a play mat?

A play mat is ideal for babies as small as a couple of days old to around two years of age. In early months play mat serves as a safe and comfy space for tummy time which is a highly-recommended activity by physicians and is deemed essential for developing upper body and neck strength. After few months, as the baby learns to sit, roll and crawl, the play mat’s soft surface can be used as a play surface for baby. Owing to its cushioned surface, the babies feel safe and play freely with their toys, this activity aids in stimulating baby’s senses whilst supporting early learning. Once the baby reaches the age of one play mat can be used as an area for independent play and exploration. Henceforth, it is deduced that play mat is ideal for children up to two years old as it not only offers them entertainment but also aids in physical activity.

What are some engaging play mat activities for babies?

Play mats have several benefits and owing to their diverse usage, they offer multiple activities. Three such activities are shortlisted below.

1. Tummy time

Tummy time is an important aspect of baby’s body development and play mat provides ideal environment for this activity. Baby is placed on their stomach during the tummy time, this practice helps in strengthening their shoulder, back and neck muscles. These muscles are crucial for physical growth of the child as they lay a solid foundation for later milestones such as crawling and walking. Play mats are specifically designed for tummy time, as they come equipped with engaging textures which encourage and motivate baby to lift their head and explore interactive toys. Regular tummy sessions help in preventing flat spots on the back of baby’s head whilst supporting visual development. Babies can greatly benefit from tummy time and it must be an integral part of their early months as it greatly benefits their physical and cognitive development.

2. Interactive play

One of the many benefits of play mats is that it encourages babies for independent and interactive play, the soft cushioning surface encourages the young ones to play with toys and explore textures of the play mat. A vast majority of play mats feature mirrors and musical elements which prompt interaction and stimulate baby’s senses. When a baby sees their own reflection, or hears a sound, or reaches out for a toy, the entire body stimulates and hence babies learn vital cognitive lessons during this interactive play session on play mats. This interactive environment also aids in the development of cognitive sensory and motor skills. Play mats also foster socialization in babies as during the play time they are more likely to interact with their caregiver and parents. Moreover, during play time the baby-parent bond also strengthens which help creating life-long memories of joy with learning.

3. Encouraging movement and exploration

Play mats play an instrumental role in encouraging movement and exploration for babies. The comfy surface of play mats serves as an inviting playground for young ones and they look forward to the time when they can roll and crawl as per their will. As babies navigate around the play mat they discover different textures and toys which stimulates their senses. Hence, parents and care givers should use interactive toys with play mats as it would not only have a good impact on young one’s mental health but would also help them physically. The early freedom of movement owing to a safe environment provided by a play mat fosters a sense of independence and encourages love for discovery and learning.

How to choose the best baby play mat?

Several important factors need to be taken into account for choosing the right play mat for your baby. Firstly, the safety of the play mat is of utmost importance, since play mats are to be used by even few days old babies, hence it is important to go for the play mat that is manufactured from safe materials and offers ample padding for babies. Secondly, in order to enhance interaction,go for play mats that come with textures, color and toys which would aid stimulating baby’s senses and encourage exploration. Lastly, choose the play mat that is easier to clean and is portable thus increasing utility.

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