* Prices may differ from that shown
When the summer finally arrives, we spend most of the time out on the back garden so I am forever buying products for Lauren to use outside. A couple of years ago, when we brought Laurens first slide and I was concerned about falling off so I decided to buy some outdoor mats.
I actually brought when part of three for two offer (and I brought 3 packs) and also they were reduced to half price which I thought was a really good bargain. I brought mine from Mothercare, these are also available in store, online and also on Amazon (normally with free delivery without a minimum spend). The RRP of a pack of 4 is £18, there is also a larger pack size of 12 available which retails at £40.
The mats are advertised as only being suitable for over the age of 36 months, I must admit that Lauren was a little younger than this when we first started to use however I did always ensure that play was supervised.
I really like that that tiles interlock together so I am not having to adjust them when we play on them, once they are interlocked, they have to be twisted and lifted the split which is really good. I like to encourage Lauren to interlock them when we are using them as I believe it helps her motor skills.
Each set consists of 4 coloured mats, one blue, green, red and yellow one. The colours are quite bold, they have faded over time however they have been left in direct sunlight for a period of time and when we aren't using them, we store them in the conservatory so again, they get quite a bit of sunlight on them. Each mat is approximately 1.5cm thick and measure around 62 by 62 cm so does cover quite a nice area, especially when all placed together.
I do like the fact that the mats come in their own bag, which has a zip on so at the end of the day, these can be packed up and stored easily (although I must admit, most times this didn't happen and we just stacked them up and put them in the conservatory. Because of how thin and lightweight the mats are, they are easy to transport around, they also don't take up much storage space either.
In total, we have 12 mats and have lots of fun with them, quite often we like to play hopscotch in the garden, we also like to play made up games such as scatter the mats around the garden and then shout 'first person to stand on a blue mat!' (sounds boring but actually quite fun!). We One of the best uses I have found for these is using under and around the paddling pool, our garden is on quite a slop which meant we used to have a nightmare with larger pools however now, we just the pool on our slabbed patio area, on top of these are this added a layer of protection, and then just place the mats all around the edges so if Lauren was to trip whilst getting in and out the pool, these would break her fall.
The mats can also be connected sideways, we also like to make cubes or shapes with them, creating tunnels to crawl through or little houses to play in.
There is a note in the set to advise that the mats aren't waterproof so I do bring them in every evening, making sure that they have fully dried out before I pack away. When it comes to cleaning, I just have to give them a wipe down with a damp cloth which seems to work a treat.
In my opinion, the mats are very durable and hardwearing, we have had ours for a few years now and apart from a bit of discolouration, they are wearing really well. Overall, I would recommend these but at full price, they are a little expensive compared to other brands on the market and therefore, I would five 4 out of 5 stars.
Thanks for reading.
~*~ Early Learning Center Recreational Mats ~*~
Available from the Early Learning Center or Mothercare , and online the R.R.P of the 4 pack is £18. I bought our pack when on sale and paid around £12 at the time . They have had a few different colour packs over the years . Our pack is in the girls colours of pink and cream and has some flower pictures on .
~*~ The Mats ~*~
The mats come in a pack of 4 , and each is 62 cms square. The interlock together on all sides like a jigsaw.
The mats are made from a thick strong foam and are about half an inch thick.
They come in a clear bag with zip closing ,handles , and are light to carry.
The foam has a coating that makes them very durable and easy to clean . On side is textured and the other side plain .
The locking part that fits together is very strong and stays locked , to separate you need to pull them apart , which is easy enough.
~*~ In Use ~*~
I bought these for when my daughter started sitting up and moving around . We have wooden floors so I wanted something more than a blanket or a rug , to give a little protection should she fall.
I didn't think when I first bough these that we would be still using them now .
Once she has mastered walking and wouldn't sit in the same spot for 2 minutes , the mats were moved and we put them under her toddler table and chairs . They are so easy to wipe and light to move and shake outside making them perfect to use for toddlers eating or painting and crafting.
They have been moved into the garden and used under the slide to stop sore bottoms bumping on the ground. My daughter put them all in a line to make a pathway to her playhouse and they are handy for chucking on the grass if its a bit damp as a quick wipe with a tea towel and they are as good as new.
I store these under the sofa as we are still using them regularly , a friend that visits often with her baby uses them to lie him on and now sit him up on .
And even I am using them now , in a bid to tone up for summer I put them on the floor when doing any exercise dvd's or Wii games .
You can also attach them together to form a square tunnel like shape which is great fun for when playing and making dens . As well as the obvious use outside when doing sports especially on concrete or decking.
~*~ Thoughts ~*~
Absolutely fantastic quality set of mats , I never though they would have been used, and as useful as they have been . I highly recommend these mats to anyone with children . Even at full price they are excellent value for money .
5 out of 5
Four interlocking foam mats. Good for gymnastics, active games, jumping and rolling outdoors or in / Age range: From 3 years.