In need of a large play mat for my energetic little monkey, I found that the Bebe Style 4-in-1 animal play mat offers the best value for money. Apparently it can fit two sitting babies playing, that’s how perfectly large it is!
> LARGE in size, both when the ‘walls’ are up (80cm x 80cm as per the box) and when it is spread open (110cm x 110cm)
> Perfect for an energetic active rolling big baby
> High quality, in terms of material, stitch and design (It’s still completely intact after 3.5 months of play and wash)
> Fun toys, comes with a flat rubber tiger (for chewing), a large-ish round baby-safe mirror, a crinkly bright little ‘book,’ a plush ball with whistle inside… and a weird musical monkey
> The elephant on the play mat has a crinkly ear that baby LOVES to chew on during tummy time
> Weird musical monkey has satanic red glowing eyes when the music is on. I just hid it away and pretend it never existed.
> A bit of a task to wash it (I wash by hand)
> The padding feels thin – I use an Ikea rug and a foam play mat for extra padding below, since I have tiled flooring
> The arches are not very secure – baby has wiggled them free on several occasions (luckily it hasn’t hit him at any time) (it’s possible to tape the clasp to make it more secure)
It’s only available on UK websites. I purchased mine for £20 in June, but the price has gone up to £30 now…. and it’s still less than half the price compared to alternative large play mats! International shipping seems limited at the moment, you can use a service like Shop and Ship to get it delivered to you.
Full review of Bebe Style 4-in-1 Animal World Play Mat
Since the walls of the play mat go up, it’s suitable for fairly young babies. I started using it when baby was 3.5 months old. He had already begun to roll from back to belly at this point, and I anticipated he would keep needing more space to move around. I also wanted to establish a baby area in our living room, so that I could spend more time outside the bedrooms!
When the walls were up, my baby enjoyed kicking the walls and using them to wiggle around. The walls gradually started coming down, two at a time, to give him more space to wiggle. He spent a lot of time on his tummy ‘eating’ the play mat and would whine every few minutes to be lifted up and placed on his back. Easily the most annoying phase of mobility (from about 3.5-4.5 months)!
That’s when the elephant ear became a lifesaver. Baby enjoyed chewing it so much, he’d play independently for longer if it was in easy reach. I intentionally kept him by the ear, especially for bathroom breaks and while cooking.
At that age, the orange book was his absolute favorite toy. While on his back, he would play with it for minutes on end. As the weeks passed by, the mirror became his favorite chew toy, and at 6.5 months he finally started chewing on the green rubber tiger. It’s ideal in size, flat enough to be easy to bend ‘n chew and big enough that baby can’t get too much inside his mouth. He also loves bouncing of the arches and trying to chew the arches when on his tummy.
The arches have come out a few times and luckily missed baby’s head every time. I change the angle of the clasp to reduce it’s chances of coming out, and will be taping the clasp with masking tape to hold the arches in place.
The play mat is technically ‘water proof’ – you can wipe off baby spit and spit up. But it does stain and you would want to hand wash it after particularly bad spit up incidents.
At 7 months now, baby is rolling around, army crawling backwards, sitting up by himself and basically all over the place. I still place him on the play mat, but it no longer ‘contains’ him. Within a minute of placing him in the center, he shuffles out on to the tiled floor. I usually sit nearby and keep moving his upper body back on to the play mat. With the extra padding from the Ikea rug and the foam mat, it’s a safe space for him to bop his head around. (He dives head first so many times, both by accident and by intent!)
The Bebe Style play mat has helped us establish a sizable baby space in our living room. My husband and I plop down next to him to play / read to him all the time. Now that baby can sit up by himself, the play mat *has been* transformed into a ball pen. He’s too tall for the arches, but they offer additional support to the sides of the mat, so I’ll keep the arches for a few more days.
A jumbo play mat comes in really handy if you have an active baby who loves to move. This one by Bebe Style can be used from a young age (from 2 months on) and offers the best value for money overall compared to other large play mats.
Available on UK sites only, including Amazon UK: Bebe Style 4-in-1 Animal World Play Mat (Large).