There are so many activity tables, sitting and walking aids out there that you may be wondering if there is any point in investing in a baby floor mat to help your baby crawl.
In actual fact, baby play mats are crucial for many aspects of your baby’s development. Our post about the benefits of baby play mats is a great read if you’d like to learn more.
In this post, we look at all the reasons why you should add a crawling mat to your baby’s room, how to pick the very best play mat for crawling and how to use one to improve your baby’s fine motor skills, gross motor skills and more.
There are benefits to introducing play mats from birth- if your baby is younger, you may want to check out our post about the ten best infant play mats, which will cover how play mats can be used at different developmental stages.
The Best Play Mat for Crawling of 2023
It can be difficult to know which is the best play mat for your baby. That’s why we’ve picked our favourites in the following categories: Most Affordable, Best Organic, Best Activity, Best Sensory Mat and Best Portable.
How Does A Play Mat Support Baby’s Development?
Baby floor mats are an essential tool in promoting healthy development in infants. These mats provide a safe and clean surface for babies to play on, whether at home or on the go. They also offer a range of benefits that help promote cognitive, physical, and sensory development.
For example, playmats can help promote cognitive growth by providing a visually stimulating environment that encourages exploration and learning, and, in turn, crawling.
If your baby is getting ready to crawl, a play mat will not only protect them from bumps, but can provide a non slip surface to help them get moving.
Baby floor mats can also promote grasping and reaching skills as infants engage with toys and objects within their reach. These mats can also help improve gross motor skills as infants learn to roll over, crawl, and eventually walk.
In addition, the use of baby floor mats can promote self-awareness and sensory stimulation as infants explore different textures, sounds, and surfaces. This can help promote healthy brain development and increase infants’ overall awareness of their environment.
The Benefits of Having a Baby Floor Mat
Gross Motor Development: Floor time is crucial for your baby’s development as it allows them to naturally explore and use their muscles. As they spend time on the floor, your baby will learn important skills such as rolling, crawling, standing, and eventually walking.
Fine Motor Development: Using a baby floor mat provides baby with a safe space to explore the world around them. Leave baby’s toys just out of reach or invest in hanging toys to encourage grasping
Visual development: Use baby play mats for tummy time. Your baby can further their visual development by tracking you as you move around the room, enjoying the bright colors of the floor mat or high contrast toys.
Easy Cleaning & Protection of Wood Floors or Play Area Rug: Most baby play mats are easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth or baby wipes. No need to worry about toys or spills damaging your flooring either.
Safety: It’s important to keep baby safe as they explore. A baby floor mat will be important if you have hard floors, as they not only provide a non slip surface to help your baby get moving, but they can also cushion your baby from bumps.
Those flops to the floor during tummy time can be very upsetting without a soft surface underneath to soften the blow! The best play mat for crawling will keep your baby safe as well as comfortable.
Do babies need a crawling mat?
Aside from all of the developmental benefits of soft floor mats, safety comes first!
A soft and comfortable mat can provide a more comfortable surface for your baby to play on, reducing the risk of injuries from bumps or falls. It can also help to prevent any potential allergens or dust from the floor from coming into contact with your baby.
When choosing a baby floor mat, look for one that is easy to clean, phthalate free, non-toxic foam, and has a non-slip bottom to prevent it from sliding around on the floor. Learn more about non toxic toys in our handy post.
A good quality mat will provide a cushioned surface for your baby to play on, helping to prevent any injuries from falls or bumps.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Baby Crawling Mat
Space available in the room your choice
When picking your baby crawling mat, take measurements first of the room you think the play mat will be used most. If the room is small, you might prefer to opt for an eva foam mat that can be easily rolled up to save space.
That said, if your baby is at crawling age, you will want a mat that is large enough to give them space to move.
Would you like foam tiles that fit together to create a picture? Organic cotton for a simple look?
You might want to pick colours that will fit with your existing home decor.
Will you need to carry the crawling mat back and forth between home and grandma’s house? If so, there are plenty of organic play mat options that are very easy to transport along with your other baby gear.
Memory foam mats can be bulky and some take time to put together.
Be aware that you will want to find the balance between something that is portable (and possibly thinner) and something that will provide adaquete cushioning for your crawling baby.
Baby Play Mats FAQS
How To Clean Play Mats?
This depends on the type of mat you buy. You can machine wash a simple organic cotton play mat, while eva foam mats you can simply wipe clean with a wet cloth.
Square tiles or other straight edge pieces will be easier to clean than jigsaw style floor tiles.
Are PVC Play Mats Safe?
Opt for a pvc free baby crawling mat. Pvc mats are made from a cocktail of nasties which put your little one at risk of exposure to lead and other toxic chemicals.
There are lots of other play mats available that will be safer for your baby. A non toxic eva foam play mat is a good option.
Where is the Best Place for Baby to Play?
The best place for your baby to play is the floor! Most experts will recommend giving your baby more tummy time or time on a large play mat rather than in swings, strollers and chairs.
If pets or older kids might cause issues for safety, consider a travel cot to give your baby a safe space to play. Add in their usual toy cars, balls etc to keep them busy.
Choose play mats that will grow with them, for example with bright colors, shiny satin ribbons at the edges, baby safe mirror surfaces etc.
When Should I introduce my Baby to a Baby Play Mat?
Follow the guidelines that come with your baby mat, because some may feature choking hazards etc. However, you can use a baby play mat from birth provided that the play mat is suitable for that age group.
We’ve written a post all about the benefits of a baby play mat for newborns.
Are Baby Play Mats Suitable for Hardwood Floors?
Baby play mats are the perfect solution if you have hardwood floors.
Much like a rug, baby crawling mats provide a soft surface which will help your baby feel comfortable as they play and crawl, however unlike a rug, baby crawling mats are designed for easy cleaning.
Play mats also often offer extra cushioning, which is very helpful in protecting your baby against bumps and bruises as they learn.