27 July, 2020

The top 5 best play mats for babies and toddlers in 2021

By One Fine Baby team

You’d be forgiven for leaving a baby play mat off your baby shower wish list. Let’s face it, with a pram, a cot and a car seat to think about, a baby  play mat seems pretty far down the priority list.

But take it from any mum who’s ‘been there’, a play mat for indoor play is just about one of the most important things you can buy if you want your newborn to build strength during tummy time, rest on while you pop the kettle on – or play on when you’re looking for a safe, clean and non-toxic spot to set up their toy corner.

What should I look for in a baby play mat?

A durable, chic and easy-to-clean baby play mat will be your new best friend, from the newborn stage to toddler hood and beyond. You should make sure your baby play mat is durable and offers plenty of support, such as shock absorption for babies with a clunky new walk! You also make sure it’s easy to clean because I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to be cleaning it A LOT. Like, all the time.

Here’s what you need to look for in a good play mat:

- Perfect play mat requirement: Easy to clean

If the play mat is designed to keep your newborn occupied, or provide a safe surface in which to practice their kicking or their tummy time, you’re going to want something that’s easy to clean the drool and vomit you’re bound to endure. Likewise if your toddler is going to put a play mat through its paces, you’re going to want one that can handle having food rubbed into it – and maybe even the addition of the occasional Crayola artwork. Ideally you want something waterproof and that can be wiped-clean.

We all know of the Scandi bare-minimum look that’s so in right now. Gone are the days of brightly coloured zoo-covered playmats everywhere you look. Now your Instagram feed is no doubt chock full of nurseries with play mats in more neutral, earthy tones. Plenty of different brands and price brackets are offering up Scandi-style play mats to complement any nursery space. Just make sure they’re child-friendly, too!

- Perfect play mat requirement: Durable

With the potential of texta-prodding, tough shoes roughing up the surface and constant cleaning on the cards, it’s important to ensure your play mat can handle anything. Make sure your play-mat will stand up against colour-fade and is made from a material that can withstand a toddler’s might.

- Perfect play mat requirement: Plenty of padding

Shock absorption is an important factor when it comes to play mats, because as the clunky walk starts to take off, so to does the impact to their legs and feet! A well-padded play mat will provide a soft landing for any spills and save the knees of any adults indulging in a little play time, too!

- Perfect play mat requirement: Non-toxic

No doubt babies and toddlers will choose their play mat to wrap their lips around at some point, so it’s important to ensure the mat is free from any nasty chemicals or additives such as PVC and BPA and is also hypoallergenic.

- Perfect play mat requirement: Lightweight and portable

As your baby begins to move, so to does your play mat! It’s important to choose something that’s not too big and heavy to move from room to room, so that you always have a safe space to rest your baby, with the satisfaction that won’t be able to get into too much trouble!

We’ve done the research and rounded up our favourite play mats on the market. In no particular order, we spoke with each brand below about what sets them apart, what their play mats are made out of and what other parents say about their product!

Little Wiwa is a Scandinavian inspired play mat brand designed in Melbourne that focuses on creating premium, minimalist designs with timeless aesthetics and above all, non-toxic play mats that are free from PVC, BPA and toxic chemicals, providing a product that is safe for babies, adult and the environment. Their most popular design is their latest collection the Lille Verden, tailored for the family; where simplicity meets creativity.

Why Little Wiwa play mats are unique

  • Their play mats are 100% free of PVC, BPA and toxic chemicals.
  • Simple, minimalist, Scandinavian inspired reversible designs on every mat.
  • They are odourless and ethically made to the highest standards with 100% sustainable and non-toxic TPU.
  • Certified safe and compliant with Australian & New Zealand AS/NZS ISO 8124 Toy Standards and European EN71 Toy Standards.
  • Hypoallergenic – no nasty chemicals and additives 
  • They are soft and thickly padded – provides strengthening support during tummy time from newborn stage, through crawling and learning to walk.
  • Safe for when the little one falls as they are excellent in shock absorbency.
  • Plush and divinely comfortable – soft on the knees (for us adults too) and perfect for your growing little one to play, learn and explore. 
  • Not limited for babies but also suitable for bigger kids and adults!
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Easy to clean, simply use damp cloth with (mild) soapy water for general daily clean.

“Love it! We had the large rectangular one to begin with which we place in the living area. It suits our house so much it’s so modern it doesn’t look out of place! And it’s perfect for my son to crawl around and play with his toys. I have this small circular one in his nursery. I use it to change his diapers and do a bit of quiet time. Overall great quality I love it so much!” Bernice N.

Munchkin and Bear’s best-selling, designer Luxe Play Mats are loved in over 30,000 homes across Australia, New Zealand and the UK and protect little ones from birth to beyond (whether that be for tummy time with Mum and Dad, learning to roll, sit, crawl and even gymnastics practice or yoga!). Regularly described as a baby must have, they are non-toxic, waterproof, wipe-clean, reversible, ultra thick and soft and super durable. Perfect for family time & play time! It’s so squishy, comfy, very stylish and durable. Another #babymusthave item.

Why Munchkin + Bear are different

Munchkin and Bear are the originators of the designer play mat category and have become a must have product for new parents. Since launching 4 1/2 years ago, their best-selling Luxe Play Mats are used daily in over 30,000 homes across Australia and they are in hot demand Globally!
Their one piece playmats are designed for play time in safety and style! Munchkin & Bear delivers the widest range of designs and styles on the market and they work closely with interior designers to ensure each new Luxe Play Mat is perfect for house-proud parents.
Their Luxe Play Mats are also as safe as they are stylish! They are non-toxic (PVC free), waterproof, wipe-clean, reversible, ultra thick and soft and super durable, thanks to the squishy memory foam core.   
But Munchkin & Bear proudly calls themselves “much more than just a play mat company”. With kindness and community at the centre of everything they do, this female-founded and run Brisbane business actively supports nearly 60,000 new mothers online, has a “School-Gate Policy” allowing their staff to work 9.30am – 2.30pm (so they can be there for pickup and drop off every day), plus they have donated over $15,000 to charity last year alone!

Why other Mums love Munchkin and Bear!

“I recently purchased a mat and absolutely love it! It’s great quality and really soft. It’s very generous in sizing and the patterns are very modern. I have zero regrets and am considering another one for our second lounge room. They are also very reasonably priced for the exceptional quality that you receive. In addition, a note was included regarding how tough being a parent can be and it was such a lovely added gesture. I placed it on my fridge. Overall the company cares for their products and customers. A very delightful and satisfied customer who will continue to buy these gorgeous play mats. Thank you!”
“The BEST purchase! By far the best purchase I have made since having bub! My little one is now 15 months old and still plays on his play mat every day. I use his mat to change him on and also now when he has his little “picnic” dinners. We have absolutely loved our mat and I couldn’t imagine going through the last 15 months without it. Not only is it amazing for bub when learning how to crawl and walk but it is so comfy and squishy to walk and sit on I have been using it for Yoga and pilates. Thank you so much Munchkin & Bear, 100% would recommend any Mum to purchase.”

Stina’s Style creates meaningful moments between you and your baby. Stina’s Style was born when Linda (Director & creator) noticed a gap in the market with great looking, educational, quality products 8 years ago. Stina’s Style is now one of the leading designer Play Mat businesses on the market, with recently launched Rattan Play Gym Bundles ‘breaking the internet’.

Most popular items

Their most popular items are their Rattan Play Gym Bundles, which include, the Rattan Frame, the bottom base, a reversible liner, a TummyTimePillow, a Mirror, RattleBall, JingleToy, 5 BabyLinks, PlayTime by Linda ActivityCard Deck, and a carry bag.

Their other most popular item is their Activity Play Gym Bundles, which includes, the machine washable base, the arches, a mirror, JingleToy, Rainbow toy, a TummyTimyPillow, PlayTime By Linda ActivityCard Deck and a calico Carry/Storage bag.

Stina's Style Mum Review

Bella Buttercup’s product range has a Scandinavian influence using minimalist designs and neutral tones so you won’t need to hide them away for visitors.

Designed by parents for parents, all items in their Quilted Collection contain a water-resistant internal layer, making them both practical and stylish for inside and out of the home.

Most popular items

Their most popular items feature Play Mats, Mini Bar Play Gym and their range of on the go baby changing essentials.

Stylish, practical and eco-friendly play mats to blend seamlessly with your décor. Their two-sided designs are the perfect combination of style and fun.  A playful design on one side, and an understated contemporary pattern on the other that could be mistaken for an area rug. Free from nasty chemicals like PVC, BPA and Phthalates, their mats tick the boxes for safety and style. Their multi use mats are perfect for every member of the family, from tummy-time to downward dog, you’ll want one for every room in your home.

Grace and Maggie Real Mum Review

Sophie W.


Amazing playmat!

This playmat is honestly the best thing I have got for my two boys so far. The boho design is stunning, making a simple but effective statement in any room and the car track side is well loved by both my boys. The fact that it is double sided makes you feel like you get two mats in one! The quality is impeccable and it is super easy to clean. We use this mat for everything – I am obsessed with it.

Baby Driver: Boho Large Playmat

Still confused? That’s completely fine.

It may be a case of trial and error as every skin is different! You can find many of these products within our baby play mat range here.

Want to see the best of baby play mats and play gyms in Australia up close? Come to our next Sydney baby expo or Melbourne baby expo by visiting our Sydney baby fair page here or our Melbourne baby fair page here.


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