“ Brand: Baby's Only / „
Having worked in health centres for several years now, I have repeatedly seen and heard the advice for positioning babies 'Sleep on the Back, Play on the Front'. However, when it comes to following this advice with Baby Frank we have encountered some difficulties. The 'Sleep on the Back' bit is fine; it's the 'Play on the Front' that we are not so fond of, although Baby Frank is now getting more used to having 'tummy time'.
I looked far and wide for advice to help Baby Frank get used to and actually enjoy spending time on her tummy, but found no magic solution. Basically, all the pearls of wisdom I gathered were 'Make tummy time fun and exciting' and 'Don't do tummy time when your child is tired or hungry', and I had already sussed these things out!
Recently I was at a nearly new sale and came across this bus pat mat. I had seem something similar at our local children's centre and Baby Frank had enjoyed playing with it whilst on her tummy. The Bus Pat Mat is a flat, plastic, flexible bus which can be half-filled with water via a valve on the underside of the bus. The top layer of the bus is transparent and in between it and the underside, there are several air-filled transport motifs (a car, van, stop sign and 20mph sign) which float around in the water. The name 'pat mat' is given because the bus can be placed in front of a child while they are sitting or on their tummies and entices them to look at the items floating around inside and push them and watch the water slosh around.
I bought the pat mat for £2 which I thought was a bargain. Once I got home, I checked on the ELC website and they are selling for £8 so I was pleased with what I paid. Unfortunately, in the excitement of the nearly new sale, I hadn't checked the condition of the pat mat and was disappointed to find lots of black slime in it once I took it out of the box. Undeterred, I found a little brush which I squeezed through the valve whilst holding it open with one finger. This was a bit tricky, but soon it had cleaned up well and I filled it with water ready for Baby Frank to play with.
Baby Frank is a very placid baby, and generally does not show any great emotions about her toys. The bus pat mat was no exception. She looked at it and patted it a bit, but to be honest I think it was Mr Frank and me who were more excited! It provided an opportunity to sing some transport related songs and talk about cars and buses. It did encourage her to hold her head up for a little while, but she soon required a different toy to keep her interested.
Sadly, the bus pat mat now has a puncture in the join of the upper and lower plastic, where the wheel of the bus is. I am intending to mend this with a bit of gaffer tape (the answer to a lot of life's problems) but currently the bus pat mat is out of action having only performed a brief stint in tummy time fun.
I would recommend this product with reservations; the obvious design flaw being that with babies, water-filled toys won't last long. I certainly wouldn't pay full price for it. However, it's something a bit different which I have enjoyed playing with, and I think Baby Frank has too.
Early Learning Centre / Water filled activity mat to stimulate hand eye coordination and senses.