Outdoor play is important for younger children. It gives them a valuable opportunity to explore their environment, free and unencumbered from the constraints of furniture. All children love to be outside on a warm day. There is a whole new world of sensory stimulation out there, from grass and flowers, to birds, insects and even the wind.

One thing to be aware of when taking babies and toddlers outside is their safety. Younger children have no sense of danger and can soon find their way into perilous situations if you don’t watch them like a hawk. One solution is to create a safe and secure outside kids play area where they can enjoy their toys or simply lie back and watch the clouds floating by.

Older children can’t be corralled outdoors, so you will need to supervise play, but with toddlers and babies, you can use playpens and soft mats to keep them safe, so everyone can relax. Here are our top eight choices for outdoor kids play area playpens and play mats.

Kids Play Area Mats and Playpens

1. North States Superyard Colorplay Eight Panel Playard

North States Superyard Colorplay Eight Panel Playard - Kids Play Area

The North States Superyard play enclosure is comprised of eight brightly colored panels that fit together in a loop. Once fixed together the play yard encloses up to 34.45 square feet, so there is plenty of room for babies and toddlers to get busy with their toys. It is 26 inches high, so no baby will be able to escape without a wing man to give them a helping hand! This kids play area is weather resistant and sturdy enough to be used outdoors, but if you want to use it indoors, there are non-slip pads included to protect wooden floors.

2. Best Choice Products Eight Panel Safety Play Center

Best Choice Products Eight Panel Safety Play Centre

The Best Choice Products eight panel baby playpen and toddler safety play center is perfect for babies and toddlers up to the age of 4 years. There are eight panels that fit securely together in a loop. One of the panels contains an activity board to stimulate curious babies with ball spinners and a pretend telephone. There is a hinged gate for parental access, which is fitted with a secure lock to keep your child safe.

3. Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play Portable Playard

Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play Portable Playard

If you are looking for a portable playpen for your child, the Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play playard is a great choice. This is a freestanding play pen for a kids play area. The metal frame is lightweight and can be stored easily, which makes it great for travel, especially as it also comes with a handy travel bag. It is also simple to assemble for it unfolds in seconds. The sides of the playpen are made from mesh and there is a weather resistant canvas floor mat. When unfolded, the play pen measures square feet and is 26 inches high.

4. Edushape Solid Play Mat

Edushape Solid Play Mat - Kids Play Area

The Edushape Solid Play Mat is ideal for using inside a kids play area. It is made of tough foam pieces, which interlock together to form safe, secure mats for babies and toddlers to play on. Each piece is a bright color, so your baby will have plenty of visual stimulation while she plays with her toys. The Edushape mat can be added to with extra sets if you need more play space.

5. North States Superyard 3-in-1 Metal Gate

North States Superyard 3-in-1 Metal Gate

The North States Superyard 3-in-1 metal gate is a simple yet effective, secure play area for babies and toddlers. There are six removable and adjustable panels that lock together to form a safe enclosure up to 10 square feet. The swinging walk-through door provides easy access for parents and carers, but it has a child proof double locking system to ensure kids can’t escape on your watch. Extra panel extensions are available if your child needs extra play room.

6. MOTA Alphabet ABC Floor Play Mat

MOTA Alphabet ABC Floor Play Mat

Stimulate your child’s learning and keep him safe with the MOTA Alphabet ABC Floor Play Mat. This kids play area is a bright, colorful and educational foam puzzle mat for toddlers aged 2 years and above. The set comes with 26 interlocking foam tiles with removable alphabet pieces. You can use the set inside a secure play area, where it will provide lots of fun for toddlers. The tiles are durable, easy to clean, and water resistant, so they can be used outdoors.

7. Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard Totbloc

Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard Totbloc

The Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard Totblock comes with a carry bag and cute bugs quilt. It’s the perfect space for babies to play with their toys while mom gets on with tasks nearby. The playard can be set up in less than a minute, and folds down just as easily, so it is ideal for vacations and trips to visit family and friends. The frame is padded for safety and the mesh sides allow for lots of ventilation. Once packed up, the playard is light enough to carry indoors or between rooms.

8. North States Superyard Ultimate Play Yard

North States Superyard Ultimate Play Yard

The North States Superyard Ultimate Play Yard is a stylish playpen for discerning parents of babies aged 6 months to 2 years. There are six removable and fully adjustable panels in an ivory color. Once each panel has been clicked into place, the playpen covers 18.5 square feet and is 26 inches high, although there are optional panel extensions available if you need more room (this increases the play space to 34 square feet). The Ultimate Superyard is ideal for use outside – it has skid resistant pads to prevent the playpen from slipping on a smooth surface. The quick access door can be opened with one hand, which is useful for busy parents.

Kids play area playpens and enclosures create a safe environment for young toddlers and babies to play, but you do still need to supervise your kids at all times to ensure they stay out of trouble. And if you set up a playpen outdoors, do make sure you keep it out of the sun, so your baby doesn’t overheat.


Feature image courtesy of Flickr, donnierayjones.

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