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An activity mat, also called a "play gym" or 'play mat," can be one of your baby's first toys and offer your baby developmental benefits from day one.
Activity mats are simply padded quilts you place on the floor and lay baby on. The quilts are brightly colored, often themed, and have sensory stimulation, such as crinkly noises or tiny mirrors, sewn right in. Contrasting textures and patterns are meant to engage baby, but be warned, they can make for garish decor.
The quilts are great for the all-important tummy time, giving baby enough of a distraction that they might actually not scream bloody murder at having to lay in a new position for all of ten minutes. More importantly, most activity mats also give back-loving babies who have nothing to do but stare at the ceiling an interesting vista in the form of padded arches that cross over and accommodate all sorts of hanging toys, mirrors and even mobiles.
Many activity mats are convertible and portable although we still think they are all overpriced for what they are: fabric quilts.
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