When you’re having a baby, an activity mat is not included on the baby essentials list but if you can, buy (or be gifted with) a play/activity mat and a bouncing chair and they will be your lifesavers for the first few months when you need to occupy your baby and free up your hands to eat or do chores etc.
We checked out a lot of playmats but I did hear a lot of positive things being said about Baby Einstein’s Discovering Water Activity Mat . Once you get over the price (RRP is around Â£75), it’s well worth every pound.
The underwater theme is totally brought to life in what could only be described as this garish playmat. There are shells and starfish hanging from the net, plush little sea animals like the blowfish that my 28 year old brother loves hanging from the arches, a water filled aquarium with lights, music and characters, tri-lingual discovery cards, a pillow, different textured and coloured edges and much more.
The first few times we put the bambino on it, she seemed a bit scared of it but she was only two weeks old. I put her on it again when she was almost 4 weeks old and she LOVED it. She started making lots of different sounds and talking to herself for ages. There is a mirror dangling from it where she discovered her new best friend. She was filled with glee everytime she spotted her pal but on the downside, she doesn’t like her reflection when she starts to cry!
I could talk about this playmat all day. It really is fantastic as it totally engages babies of various ages. The aquarium can be set to its motion sensor so when your baby is kicking the crap out of the arches, it will start playing a tune and change with each kick, which is funny, but also irritating when you’re gagging for sleep, but you can always turn it off or set it just to play once.
The plastic and plush toys are fun and engaging and as your baby gets a bit more active, they test themselves to reach up and grab things, or if they’re like my baby, attempt to wrestle and rip them off.
The colours aren’t everyones cup of tea but after trying my baby on other playmats where the colours are quite mute, I realise garish is what babies like! I have spoken to numerous mums about playmats and they all agree that the louder the colours and patterns, the more likely the baby is to love it. The mat is washable and wipeable and whilst you can dismantle it to take somewhere, it’s not particularly bulky to take out with you. It also comes with a few extra plastic loops so that you can hang additional toys from it.
Updated 1/3/9 – We’re struggling to locate this online at the moment and have removed the link to the original store we featured. We’ll update when we find a new stockist. We actually paid Â£49 for ours on a different site which seems to have disappeared but it’s worth shopping around and keeping an eye out for deals.
5/5 I haven’t got a bad thing to say about this toy and I highly recommend it. If you want something that occupies, entertains, and educates your baby, this is it! And I actually credit this toy with getting my baby to be very vocal from an early age.