When I was pregnant with Bean, one of the things on my baby registry check list was an activity mat. I decided not to get one because I didn’t think we’d use it any time soon. I didn’t think newborns could use an activity mat. But when Bean Man came along, I quickly realized that, like anyone else, newborns can get bored – and quickly! Who wants to just lay in a swing or bouncer seat all day long? Even being held gets old after a while. The nice thing about an activity mat is that it gives the baby something to do. And by “do,” I mean it gives them something to look at. Visual stimulation is important, even at the very beginning, and having a place to put the baby that can be somewhat entertaining to them is really important.
Because we hadn’t registered for an activity mat and because our wallets were stretched so tightly after Bean’s birth, we found one of the cheapest activity mats and figured we’d test out the whole visual stimulation thing without spending a fortune. If Bean was even mildly interested, we’d go buy something nicer. Turns out that Bean loved his simple activity mat!
I don’t remember which type ours is, but it is the Tiny Love Super Delux Light and Music Gymini Activity Mat. Don’t let the name fool you though. The “super delux” part meant that there was one toy that lit up and played music. Other than that, it was just a mat that popped up easily and had hand toys attached.
Let me pause right here and tell you that any Tiny Love product has been a big hit in our house. They make affordable, stimulating, good quality baby products. We have a ton of their baby toys and they’ve all been totally worth the $4 or so we’ve paid for them. I really like that brand.
What I loved most about this activity mat was that it had a lot of little loops where you could attach toys.
That meant that we could change out what toys Bean was looking at (and, later, playing with) depending on his preferences. It also means that the activity mat has lasted a long time. We are using it now for Gracie and it still looks good as new because we’ve replaced any old, ragged hand toys with new ones. And that’s a lot cheaper than having to buy a whole new activity mat.
Gracie is quite a fan. She just recently started enjoying the activity mat and she is loving it these days. She stares at the toys and even flails her little arms around trying to reach for them.
But what she really loves is when Bean plays on the mat with her. He lays down next to her and shows her the toys and talks and talks and talks to her about them.
Gracie loves when Bean talks to her. She stares at him and starts cooing every time.
And if she does happen to get upset, Bean knows just what to do. He grabs her binky and tries to give it to her very gently.
When Bean had the activity mat, he loved it for the bright blinking lights and cheesy music. But we’ve long since lost that toy and so the mat is a little less flashy. But Gracie doesn’t seem to mind at all. Being able to change out the toys to keep her interested helps and it’s for that reason that I recommend this activity mat to anyone with a baby. But I really think it’s the person who plays on the mat with Gracie that keeps her attention to most!