Hardwood floors are a wonderful feature in any home, but they don’t necessarily mix with wobbly babies. When our little one began sitting up rather unsteadily, we knew we needed to pad our hardwood floors to cushion the many tumbles that pepper the path to toddlerhood. We wanted to find a playmat that would be both child-friendly and sophisticated, not one that would turn our small apartment into Pee Wee’s Playhouse.
Initially, I was attracted to the candy-colored and whimsical design of the Skip Hop Playspot shown at the top of this post. After reading a few less than favorable reviews of this mat, I decided to keep looking. Some of the flaws of the Skip Hop Playspot, according to dissatisfied customers, include the fact that the many small parts and pieces can come apart as baby’s dexterity develops, because he can dig into the mat and pull out chunks of the foam. This in turn poses a potential choking hazard. It seemed to me that the Skip Hop Playspot can only tolerate minimal wear and tear, and with our active little guy, that simply wouldn’t suffice.
A friend recommended we look into SoftTiles. SoftTiles are made of non-toxic eva foam and are safe for kids. The tiles come in a wide array of colors. Choices include number and alphabet tiles, which allow the playmat to double as an educational tool. Sizes include 2×2 feet and 1×1 feet. The tiles come in two different thicknesses, 5/8″ and 1″. The 1″ thick mat is double sided and can be flipped over when one side starts to wear out.
After all of our playmat research, we opted to create our own design out of SoftTiles, shown above. We chose gray, white, and orange tiles and arranged them according to our own visual aesthetic. In the end, we were very happy with the result. It not only created a safe play area for baby, but also a visually compelling focal point for the room. The tiles are interlocking and come with optional borders. The price is competitive. The 2×2, 5/5″ thick mat is a reasonable deal at only $5.40 /tile. The 1×1, 5/5″ thick mat costs only $1.45/tile. The 2×2, 1″ thick mat is $10.00/tile. Once configured, the entire playmat was about the same size as the Skip Hop Playspot, and it cost us less money. SoftTiles are waterproof and easy to clean with a damp mop or a broom.
SoftTiles are an appealing choice when deciding on a playmat surface for your babe. Whether you select a bright, educational pattern, or a more grown-up design scheme, this soft landing is sure to please both wavering babes and sure footed adults.