Pros & Cons
Zippered carrying/storage case
High-end price point
Air dry only
Disclaimer: The following product was sent for free for the purposes of a review. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely that of the writer’s.
When asked what baby brand’s I reach for most often, I easily tell friends “aden + anais.” Since my first baby was born, I have cherished their amazingly soft swaddles and even recently purchased myself one aden + anais’ full size blankets. (Yes, moms deserve a little treat now and then too!)
Their blankets are just that soft—and their perfect snuggly pieces last far beyond the baby years. So, when aden + anais launched a new product, they had my instant attention.
The aden + anais baby bonding playmat combines the cotton muslin I love so dearly with thoughtful accents that help my baby learn and grow. From rattles to removable plush animals to a mirror, the amply-sized aden + anais baby bonding playmat provides a space for tummy time, book reading, parent/child bonding, and more.
What is a Playmat?
The name divulges the main purpose: playmats are basically a floor mat that a baby can “play” on. In the early days, that play time might look like tummy time. As your baby grows, play time can evolve to exploring toys, rolling over and reaching, or checking out the details on the mat itself.
Playmats come in all kinds of shapes, styles, and sizes. They also have different features: some focus on the contrast of black and white while others have a bar with dangling toys that babies can lay on their back and look at/reach for.
There are also different sizes. The aden + anais baby bonding playmat is a larger size, which allows for a parent, caretaker, or big sibling to experience the playmat too and it can be used on the nursery floor as a décor item too. However, if you’re looking for something smaller and portable, you can choose a size that works for your space.
The good news is, there are a lot of customizable features in a playmat, so it’s really up to you to determine which elements are most engaging to you and your baby–and what makes the most sense for your space.
Benefits of a Playmat
In my personal opinion, playmats are not a baby necessity, but are definitely a fun bonus baby item. If you’re a first-time parent, you should definitely consider adding one to your baby gear line up.
The major benefit of a playmat like the aden + anais baby bonding playmat is really in the play experience. Your baby will be able to enhance fine motor, sensory, cognitive, and gross motor skills with various features built right into the playmat, so it’s fun, cozy, and conducive to growth development.
Here are some of the specific development skills this mat will foster:
Fine motor skills
- Bird toy with rattle: Use those little hands to reach for, remove, and shake the darling green bird tucked in the sky.
- Green crinkle leaves: Pinch and move each leaf to see what animal is hiding behind.
- Reversible: As baby matures into toddlerhood, you can practice flipping the mat over to the canvas side for a new look.
- Crinkle leaves: Feel the different textures and listen to the sound of the colorful leaves.
- Crinkle elephant: Touch, move, and hear the elephant’s ear.
- Sun mirror: See baby’s face, mama’s face, and your faces together—it’s a fun way to practice showing emotions too.
- Sun mirror: Facial recognition is key to cognitive development/
- Peek-a-boo leaves: Introduce baby’s first game by covering and uncovering the lion and toucan.
- Word introduction: Use the jungle scene to prompt first words and launch into early conversation.
- Comfy mat: Perfectly cushioned for practicing tummy time, rolling, sitting, and the early stages of crawling.
Aden + Anais Baby Bonding Playmat: My Experience
There were several features of this playmat that I really appreciated:
- Early introduction to tummy time
I have always aimed to introduce tummy time early on with my newborn. It’s such a crucial position in their early days and encourages motor, sensory, and visual development. The aden + anais baby bonding playmat has been the perfect landing space for my baby—seriously, so soft!—as they practice this position and engage their senses with the playmats many features.
The aden + anais baby bonding playmat is one of the biggest I have come across. At 45 x 45 inches, it fits both me and my baby, or my baby and a sibling, making it a precious bonding experience for us all. We play, laugh, and learn together on the 100% cotton muslin front. When not in use, I sometimes flip it to the reverse 100% canvas side for a simpler design. Either way, the 100% hypoallergenic polyester fill offers a plush discovery zone.
- Interactive features
This playmat showcases aden + anais’ Jungle Jam print with interactive animals, including a bird, toucan, monkey, flamingo, lion, elephant, zebra, and a giraffe. Plus, there are leaves that crinkle and a mirror in the shape of the sun.
At two months, my baby’s favorites are the leaves and mirror. They love hearing that crinkle sound, perking up every time I massage the leaf and seeing their face in the mirror when on their tummy. I love seeing their sweet face too. I suspect we’ll even soon be catching that first, true smile.
- Gets the whole family involved
I do love how my older children experience the aden + anais baby bonding playmat with my baby. When it’s on the floor, they gravitate towards this cute square that they call “the jungle.” The practice animal sounds, attempt to teach our newborn how to roar, and practice colors and size orientation as they discuss each animal. Honestly, it’s become the favorite hangout spot in the house and we often gather our favorite jungle-themed books and read them on the playmat.
When not in use, the aden + anais baby bonding playmat easily folds and zips in a carrying case–I loved the option for storage and travel. More than once, we’ve packed our aden + anais baby bonding playmat and taken it on the go. So far, it’s traveled to grandma’s house and a weekend getaway thus far. And when my baby is no longer using it, the carrying case will double as a storage case. That way the aden + anais baby bonding playmat will stay clean, fresh, and dust free while it awaits another baby.
What I Didn’t Love
The one downfall to this playmat is in the cleaning process. I do love that the mat is machine- washable, but it’s air dry only—so it can’t go in the dryer. Additionally, the toys are not machine washable and can only be spot cleaned. This is definitely not ideal for little ones who might chew on toys or be prone to spitting up.
Before You Buy
Before you buy the aden + anais baby bonding playmat, determine where it fits in your baby necessity priorities. Although it is a wonderful all-in-one play station, you can recreate many of the same learning opportunities with a soft blanket and toys you may already have. The beauty of this piece lies in that it is ready to go as it is, without anything else needed.
There is also the price point to consider—it’s definitely a higher end playmat, so you’ll see that reflected in the price tag. With the investment, you do get amazing quality but keep in mind that you may not use the play much beyond your baby’s first year.
All in all, we have loved our experience with the aden + anais baby bonding playmat. This play blanket is a beautiful, heirloom quality piece that has provided hours of safe and interactive fun with many more ahead.
Although I could simply lay my baby on the floor, it’s a relief to have a designated place that I know is always clean and void of any choking hazards. And, it is truly so soft. Nothing beats aden + anais fabric and this play mat is definitely one to consider if you’re looking for a quality piece that will provide a literal soft space for your baby to land. And don’t forget to check out Truly Mama’s other best baby playmats if you’re looking for even more options with different features, price points, and sizes.