The Best Baby Playmats

Playmats provide endless entertainment for babies.

Playmats are practically a must for babies today; they’re colorful, fun and provide ample opportunity for varied stimulation. Choosing a playmat can be overwhelming with so many designs and features to choose from, but the quality and detail of four playmats in particular stand out from the crowd as top choices.

Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Ocean Adventure Gym

This ocean-themed playmat features bold colors and bright graphics, plus an impressive variety of toys that are easy to remove and rearrange. The gym includes a mirror, a whale pillow to prop baby on his chest, a detachable aquarium with music and multicolored lights, a plush octopus, cards with images of sea creatures and a variety of colorful interlocking rings that can be hung at various places along the gym bars. This playmat’s best features are the real-life photographed peek-a-boo images of fish and other sea life on the base mat and the battery-powered musical aquarium that can be attached to baby’s crib.

Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Lights and Music Play Mat

This Tiny Love playmat is packed with features, including a mirror, dangling plush animals, light-up flowers, a music box hidden under one corner of the mat with two musical settings and a washable base mat with bright and friendly animal illustrations. While there’s plenty for baby to look at on this gym, the real fun begins when he starts to explore with his hands and feet. The monkey and giraffe are rattles, the elephant vibrates when pulled, the parrot’s wings crackle, the zebra’s mane is fuzzy, and the elephant’s ear makes a fun crinkly sound when touched.

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Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym

A fun part of Fisher-Price’s exceedingly popular rainforest collection, this playmat plays the usual baby-friendly music but also features relaxing jungle sounds that can play continuously or come on only when baby moves around. The gym features a large stuffed giraffe, flashing overhead lights, a soft monkey, two spinning silky butterflies, a toucan that jingles, a parrot with a paddle spinner, a mirror and an elephant with soft ears. The base of the mat also has sun-ray ribbons and a lift-and-peek crinkly jungle leaf for baby to explore when she’s on her belly.

Kushies Baby Shangrila Multi-Sensory Activity Play Mat

The Kushies playmat is full of design details that set it apart from most baby gyms available today. The base mat is reversible, with one side covered in mesmerizing black-and-white patterns for visual stimulation, while the other side features three different fabrics—smooth, silky and fuzzy—for an interesting tactile experience. Three whimsical plush creatures hang from colorful rings, and four soft toys Velcro to the base of the mat. The gym’s overhead bars are also significantly higher than most playmats, meaning that baby can continue to enjoy this toy when he’s old enough to sit up.