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What is a Play Mat?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Play mats are simple floor coverings designed to create a safe and clean place for young children to play. Generally, the mats are constructed with materials that are lightweight, provide cushioning, and have a pattern or design that is likely to engage the attention of the infant or young child for extended periods of time. Less expensive than conventional carpeting, the play mat can often hold up to several years of active use.

In general, the play mat is made of some type of foam padding that is faced with non-skid backing and a felt top layer. The mats are lightweight, making it very easy to take them along on trips. Parents love the play mats because they are easy to care for; children love the mats because they provide a great place to settle down on the floor and enjoy playing with toys and various types of games.

There are a number of different designs for a child’s play mat. One popular design is somewhat similar to a puzzle. This type of interlocking play mat often includes pieces that snap together like a puzzle and are of different colors. The pieces are usually easy to wash by hand or in the gentle cycle of a washing machine, making it very easy to remove one or two pieces when a spill of some sort takes place.

A solid floor mat is often likely to follow some sort of theme. This makes it easy to choose a play mat that works well with children’s furniture and the prevailing color scheme in the room. Infants and younger children may be delighted with flooring mats that are decorated with a variety of farm animals, colorful balloon shapes, or dinosaurs. Older children may enjoy a play mat that includes the letters of the alphabet or a design featuring their favorite super hero or cartoon character.

Purchasing a play mat is very easy to accomplish. Just about any toy department in major discount retails stores will offer at last a few basic mat designs. Toy stores are likely to carry a wider range of mats, in terms of size, configuration, and design. Mail order and online retailers are also excellent sources for different types of play mats.

While it is possible to spend a significant amount of money for a play mat, many designs and styles are inexpensive. This makes it possible to purchase one or more mats for use in the child’s room. Having an extra mat makes it possible to immediately place a fresh mat on the floor while cleaning the other mat, which means that your child does not have to find another comfortable place to play while you clean the mat.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

By anon141659 — On Jan 11, 2011

I had to write 300 words about how to clean an indoor gym or playmat. Basically, you wipe it down with a cloth, and you can't get 300 words out of that.

So I went on about how the first indoor gym was built in Hesse, Germany, from whence came one quarter of the soldiers Britain employed in the American Revolutionary War.

By anon140916 — On Jan 09, 2011

@Sarariman: With difficulty.

By Sarariman — On Jun 19, 2009

I don't suppose anyone could comment on how to clean a playmat or indoor gym?

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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