When giving baby gifts, I like to try to find something practical and something that others don't often think of. That is exactly what the Monkey Mat gives you. The Monkey Mat is a large, portable piece of cloth that fulfills a variety of functions. Originally designed as a picnic and playmat, the Monkey Mat goes far beyond its stated functionality to become useful for every member of the family. This is definitely a product that you will want to own multiple of. The material is soft and lightweight. It comes packaged in its own attached carrying case, which zips closed and has a strong tether and buckle system. This hooks onto any diaper bag or stroller. I found that hooking it onto the headrest in my car meant that the Monkey Mat was always with me. The mat is 5x5 which means there is plenty of room for multiple family members to sit on the mat or multiple children to play on it. Each of the four corners has a small weight in it so that the mat doesn't go flying around outside. Additionally, each corner has a loop that can be used with an anchoring system if you need extra security. Despite my toddler and I roughly using the mat for months of testing, the weights and tethers all stayed secure, and the fabric looks brand new.
The product is machine washable and dryable, which is important to me. Other picnic blankets that I've used had to be hand wiped down, which is something that this mama of three does not have time for. I loved throwing the Monkey Mat in the washing machine and knowing that it would come out exactly as it went in. My initial concern with the fabric was how I was going to get so much fabric back in the little attached storage pouch after using it. I simply folded it as I would a bed sheet, and surprisingly it slipped back in the pouch with ease!
The middle of the Monkey Mat has four loops so that you can attach baby toys to it. This became my go-to item at the mom's group I frequent. We meet in a public space and let the babies play on the floor, and the Monkey Mat made it so that multiple moms and babies could play on a clean surface and the toys stayed in the middle of the mat. After one baby fell asleep, one of my mom friends used the silky fabric to cover her baby. Every mom agreed that this was so nice to have the mat and the small size of the folded mat and pouch meant that it wasn't a hassle to carry a large baby blanket with you to the group.
Once my husband saw me using our Monkey Mat at the park, he decided he needed to use it, as well. He has taken it with him to outdoor concerts and loved that the water repellent fabric meant that he wasn't sitting in wet grass. The manufacturers also suggest that it can be used as a yoga mat, at the airport and at the beach, among other places. I would say that the fabric is so soft that it is a bit slick, so be careful if you are doing athletic activities on the mat. This product could be used anywhere that you would like a clean, dry place to sit.
The Monkey Mat is available in several colors: blue, dark khaki, orange and pink. I love that there are so many gender neutral offerings in their color selection, which helps put this at the top of my recommended baby shower gifts. You can buy the mat online or in select boutiques. The price point of the mat is higher than other picnic blankets but what you are paying for is quality, and after many uses and washes, I found it justified.
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Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy