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10 best baby play mats to entertain and educate your little one from home

These play mats can help develop sensory skills as well as hand-eye coordination

If you're a parent looking for ways to keep your little one entertained at home, whilst also helping to develop their sensory skills, hand-eye coordination and reaching and grasping skills - a play mat or play 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

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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?

Lovevery Play Gym

Lovevery Play Gym, £140, Lovevery

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The ultimate complete play gym that really does have everything, Lovevery's hero product offers a whole year of play with its five sensory zones, to take your baby from tummy time to teething. Created with the help of child development experts, it promotes learning, prevents overstimulation and also comes with The Play Guide, which provides playtime ideas for a whole year to keep parents inspired. 

Just some of the accessories included are a high contrast Montessori ball, a wooden batting ring, an organic cotton teether and silicone teething rings. The play gym also comes with a cover to create a cosy den for your baby and their friends to play in.

Infantino 4-in-1 Milestones and Memories Twist and Fold Gym

Infantino 4-in-1 Milestones and Memories Twist and Fold Gym, £49.55, Amazon

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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.

Jungle Jam Baby Playmat

Jungle Jam baby playmat, £85, aden + anais

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Made by a brand loved by the Duchess of Cambridge, aden + anais' jungle jam playmat is perfect for an animal-inspired nursery. The mat features more than 30 developmental benefits to encourage baby's sensory and cognitive development, including a sun mirror, rattles and removable plush toys.

Snugglenest & Gym Ellery Elephant

Snugglenest & Gym Ellery Elephant, £75, Mamas & Papas

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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

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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, £59.99, Smyths Toys

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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, £89.95, JoJo Maman Bebe

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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.

Lamaze Freddie the Firefly Activity Gym

Lamaze Freddie the Firefly Activity Gym, £34.99, John Lewis

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This top-rated activity gym has lots of brightly coloured pictures and patterns that your baby will love. They can reach for the detachable toys and even play peekaboo with the large discovery mirror, helping them to recognise themselves and you. There is also a soft apple teether and a pillow to help when your baby begins to sit. 

Baby Gyms and Activity Play Mat Kick and Play Piano Gym

Baby Kick and Play Piano Gym, £38.24, Amazon

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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.

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