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I bought my son his Silver Cross 'Boat' Play Mat and Gym soon after he was born, I liked the idea of getting him something he could lay on that would catch his attention and the fact that this one from Silver Cross was suitable for Newborns upwards meant that he could use it almost straight away. I have to point out here that the picture Dooyoo has supplied for this item doesn't really do it justice as there are elements missing here, there is the blue mat as shown and a semi-circular, padded head/tummy rest but surrounding the mat is a thickly padded red 'wall' which has a couple of holes for the play gym to slot in. The overhead gym has brightly coloured bunting stitched to it and hung from it are a couple of colourful soft animals (though to my adult eye they looks as if they've been tied and hung from the neck which is a bit disconcerting really but obviously a baby wouldn't make this connection thankfully) The thick red wall - as I refer to it as being- holds in place by a couple of pieces of velcro which grips well and Silver Cross say that it has been designed in this way so that it's something that will grow with your child as he or she gets older.
The picture here shows the mat as it is intended for newborns, it's a simplistic affair, not very well padded at all I must admit and rather basic in appearance. it's nicely stitched and colourful but it's not terribly exciting which is just as well as newborn babies aren't that interested in things other than sleeping and feeding so they don't need anything too visually stimulating. I wouldn't suggest putting the mat onto a hard floor as it simply isn't padded enough and I would suspect that any young baby would find it quite uncomfortable. When my son first used his a few weeks after he was born I made sure that I had mine on my living room rug which gave it an extra layer of padding and he was quite happy to lay on it and take a few naps. Now he has reached a little over 4 months old he's much more aware of the things around him so I recently put the wall back into place and rigged up the gym part for him (it only needs slotting in to the two holes at each end so nothing complicated) and he's quite happy to lay there looking at the swinging animals whilst attempting to roll over.
It's a good mat for 'tummy time' as the blue padded semi-circle can be held under his midriff which allows him to raise his head off the floor and he enjoys flailing his arms and legs around whilst being laid on his tummy. Again I would stress that the mat is better off used on top of a rug or carpet rather than any sort of hard flooring as any accidents or mishaps could result in a very grumpy and potentially hurt baby so don't buy this if you only have laminate or wooden floors as there are better mats around which have a lot more padding to them. Other than the thin mat I would say that overall this has been very well put together with brightly coloured soft fabrics that have a variety of textures so that it is interesting to the touch and allows a baby to experience new touch sensations. One of the hanging animals is made from a crinkly fabric which rustles, the other is plush and soft to the touch, similarly the wall is made from a thick corded material and overall I don't think it could ever be described as being boring as it is eye-catching and visually stimulating with some very nice primary colours.
Because the hanging gym can easily be removed once a baby gets to the age where they can sit unaided I think the mat will come in useful for my son to use as something to play on as the red cord wall can act as a back rest so I do agree with Silver Cross that this is something that will grow with a child as they develop. For the moment my son is happy to either lay on his back and watch the animals whilst trying to grab at them or laid on his front for a bit of tummy time and all in all I would say that this has been well worth the money it cost me when I bought it a few months ago.
It's made by Silver Cross who should be a recognisable name to most parents and I do think that this has been very well made even if I do think the mat could have been a bit more padded than it is. For £19.99 though I have very few complaints, I paid that price instore at my local Smyths toy shop and looking around on the internet I can see that it is available in other places too. It's not quite a five star product as far as my rating goes simply because of the mat itself which I have mentioned in this review but it still gets a very good 4 star rating from me and a recommendation too. Thanks for reading my review.