If you're a parent keen to keep your little one entertained at home, whilst also helping to develop their sensory skills, hand-eye coordination and their reaching and grasping skills - a play mat or gym is a must-have.
While many are safe to use from birth, you may find that babies from three months onwards love their play mats the most, as this is when they begin to develop their skills. Many come equipped with multiple textures, hidden features, sound elements for sensory play and plush cushioning for the ultimate comfort.
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But should you go for an all-singing, all-dancing option with lights, sounds and colourful toys, or are you better off with a traditional Scandi-style wooden play gym? As with anything baby-related, it's down to personal choice to find one that suits your space and is versatile enough to last until your baby becomes more mobile.
We've rounded up the best baby play mats and gyms that have a good range of sensory features to stimulate your little one, with prices starting at under £50.
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Tiny Love Boho Chic Luxe Developmental Gymini
Boho Chic Luxe Developmental Gymini, £109.99, Tiny Love
This is one of the most stylish baby gyms around! With over 20 developmental activities to stimulate baby, it includes a koala huggy doll, musical sloth, giant rattling leaf and trio of natural wooden rings. Cute or what?
Infantino 4-in-1 Milestones and Memories Twist and Fold Gym
Infantino 4-in-1 Milestones and Memories Twist and Fold Gym, £49.79, Amazon
Not only can you use this twist and fold gym as a play mat, but it also serves as a cute backdrop to capture special milestones for your baby. It features five multi-sensory toys to encourage exploration, and offers five play modes as your baby develops, including lay and play, tummy time, sit and play, on-the-go stroller toys and a milestone photo prop.
Snugglenest & Gym Ellery Elephant
Snugglenest & Gym Ellery Elephant, £60, Mamas & Papas
This interactive play mat with four hanging toys is a bestseller from the Mamas & Papas Always Love You range, thanks to its array of fun features including hidden textures, playful characters and soft, safe environment to engage your little one and offer plenty to see, touch and hear.
Meanwhile, the mat can also be used for tummy time, with a luxurious padded base to keep your baby comfy and help to strengthen their neck muscles.
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Ingenuity cosy spot reversible duvet activity gym
Ingenuity cosy spot reversible duvet activity gym, £59.99, Amazon
This cushioned play mat provides a comfortable and safe space for your baby to play, with slim folding wooden bars and removable activity toys including a mirror, rattle and teether. Best of all, it folds in two and transforms into a self-storage bag so it can easily be tidied away when not in use, or carried with you if you go away.
Disney Baby Mr Ray Ocean Lights activity gym and play mat
Mr Ray Ocean Lights activity gym and play mat, was £59.99, NOW £44.99, Smyths Toys
Fans of Finding Nemo will love this Disney Baby activity gym and play mat, which is colourful and features detachable toys of the film's much-loved characters. Mr Ray's canopy illuminates with colourful lights, while it also features more than 20 minutes of ocean-themed melodies and a cute Dory finger puppet.
The Little Green Sheep Baby Play Gym Set
The Little Green Sheep baby play gym set, £69.95, JoJo Maman Bebe
If you'd prefer something a little more stylish in your living room, this Little Green Sheep baby play gym is the one for you. The wooden frame can be adapted to suit your child's stage of development, with detachable toys including organic cotton rattles and mango wood teething charms.
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Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin' Tunes Music and Language Discovery Gym
Baby Einstein 4-in-1 discovery gym, £50, John Lewis
This bestselling play gym will see your child through from birth to toddler thanks to its clever four-in-one design that sees it change into their very own music station. This infant play gym with lights and melodies is ready to set the stage for your chart-topping musician.
Their musical genius will stretch from their head to their toes when it comes to this baby mat. The magic touch piano plays 25 minutes of classical music with just a touch of their finger or the kick of their foot!
Suitable for tummy time and sensory play, it has several musical-themed toys, a prop pillow and self-discovery mirror
Baby Gyms and Activity Play Mat Kick and Play Piano Gym
Baby Kick and Play Piano Gym, was £44.99, NOW £37.39, Amazon
Featuring five removable toys including a kick and play piano, this Baby Musical play gym has plenty to keep your baby entertained. It grows with your little one from birth through to tummy time and sitting up play, and also has a baby bear, a soft-to-touch heart, a cute owlet, a little star, and a funny crescent moon which are detachable for tactile and gripping experiences to develop fine motor skills.
Dream Upon a Cloud play mat and gym
Dream Upon a Cloud play mat and gym, £59, Mamas & Papas
Suitable from birth, this super-soft play mat and gym features a range of interactive development features like a rattle, detachable toys and musical functions, along with a Tummy Time accessory to aid your baby's development and engage their senses. The adorable grey and yellow colours are a pared-back alternative to other brighter play mats on the market.
HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.
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