Product Type: ELC baby toys
Newest Review: ... really fully mastered walking so I think he really liked this to show off his walking skills as walking and running was still a novelty for... more
Member Name: firasha
ELC Funky Footprints Play Mat
Advantages: Active play, learning numbers, good to play with 2 children together
I originally got this play mat when my eldest son was just over one year old so we have had it for quite a long time now. I initially got it to see if it would encourage him to start walking, but found it did not really make a difference with that although it is still quite fun for crawling babies but the sounds are not activated as effectively by crawling as by walking.
Once he was walking confidently he enjoyed it more as he could run down the mat and activate the sounds quickly, however he only had a limited interest in it as he would play for a few minutes and then move on to something else but not really ask for this toy a lot.
However, my second son really took a liking to this once he was able to walk. He was a late walker, being 18 months when he started out and 20 months by the time he really fully mastered walking so I think he really liked this to show off his walking skills as walking and running was still a novelty for him. He is now 2 years 4 months and still likes this mat. I keep it up on top of a storage unit so that it is tidied and out of the way, but even though it is stored out of sight he will point up to the basket where it is kept and indicate that he wants the mat (he can't talk still otherwise I'm sure he would have asked, but when he points and gestures up there it's very clear what he wants!) and when I get this down he gets very excited, so I can see he gets a lot of enjoyment from this toy.
When I put the mat out my 2 and 3 year old play with it together which I think adds a bit more fun for both of them, it seems to be a toy which is a bit boring to play on your own but much more fun with a sibling or friend, which is maybe why my eldest did not bother with it as much when he was younger.
They also like me to play on it too as they find that funny, and I am happy to do so as it is a fun way for active play all together. To make different games I try to show them ideas like hopping down the mat on one leg or going down the mat slowwwllyyyy then very quickly, just to make things a bit more interesting. It's also good for numbers and counting as you can count as you go, which is something my 3 year old enjoys.
The quality of the mat is good, as we have had it for a couple of years now and still looks as good as new. The plastic is very easy to clean as it is totally wipeable and comes up like new every time, which is useful if you ever play with it outside in the garden as you would want to give it a good clean afterwards when bringing it back in the house.
When we first had it the batteries would last ages because it was not being used that much, but when my 2nd son started getting interested in asking for it all the time the batteries were finished in about 3 months so I think that varies how much use its getting and maybe on the quality of the batteries but I was surprised how quickly I have to replace them after that, but they are easy to replace and takes normal AA batteries.
I would recommend this, not really as an aid to encourage children to start walking but more for the 18months+ age group, or at least for those who have mastered walking already. The retail price of 20 pounds is quite expensive but ours was 2nd hand, so better value. As these clean so well it may be worth getting it second hand as its likely to still look absolutely like new anyway.
I have to give it 5 stars seeing how much my 2nd boy's little face lights up when this mat is put out for him!
Summary: Fun and worth having
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