Child experts always recommend that once they can hold their heads up (at around three or four months old) that babies get plenty of “tummy time”. Apart from helping them get ready for more advanced activities like crawling many pediatricians believe that although these days is is recommended that babies be put to sleep on their backs for safety too much time lying on their backs could result in a flattening of the skull. Time spent on their tummies is also a good way to vary things enough so that that does not happen.
A sufficient amount of tummy time is considered to be at least thirty minutes a day , although that can be broken up into shorter sessions if Baby becomes agitated or falls asleep.
But what can Baby do during these periods of tummy time, especially if he or she cannot walk or crawl just yet? Baby play mats are a great way to keep little ones entertained and stimulated at tummy time.
There are many different kinds of baby play mats, ranging from the very simple to the rather complex, baby play mats that literally have all the bells and whistles. Here are a few of our current favorites:
Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym – This is one of the simpler baby play mats on the market but that does not mean it is not a lot of fun for Baby to use. Complete with a special “tummy time” bolster pillow for Baby’s extra comfort this brightly colored baby play mat features a number of dangle toys for Baby’ s amusement that can be taken off and used in their stroller as well.
Tiny Love Super Deluxe Lights and Music Gymini Activity Gym – Baby play mats that have lights and sounds provide even more sensory stimulation for Baby during play time and this baby play mat has plenty of both. Brightly colored flowers and cute and cuddly stuffed animals are featured all over this Baby play mat and their various individual functions are triggered by Baby’s own actions, helping them learn all about cause and effect.
Bright Starts Tummy Cruiser Prop & Play Mat – This baby play mat is a little special in that it actually shaped just like a car, and most of the action takes place right on it’s removable “dashboard”. Extra padded for increased support for younger babies the Tummy Cruiser baby play mat features a number of looped toys for Baby to play with as well as a steering wheel for older babies to use to pretend to “drive” all by themselves.
Baby Activity Water Play Mat – This is a more unusual example of a baby play mat. Filled with a water type liquid there are lots of little colored water creatures “trapped” inside for Baby to “catch”. For such an inexpensive example of baby play mats this should provide hours of fun at tummy time for months.