A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine contacted me asking if I had heard of The Monkey Mat as she had noticed one in a local Denver store and was contemplating buying it for her little boy. I have not seen them anywhere in our local baby gear stores, so I emailed the company and asked if they would be willing to donate a Monkey Mat for review. They were just as excited as I was to send one out to Little Brim for review!
One of the founders, Courtney, reached out to me and said that they are a new company which just recently launched in June. She said that her and her business partner were, “initially inspired by watching little kids play around on dirty airport floors and realized there was a need for a clean, portable surface you could easily take everywhere (not only kids but adults too!).” This is definitely a mat that is useful for both babies and adults.
The Monkey Mat arrived wrapped in the cutest packaging.
I was initially surprised at how super portable and compact this mat is, with a handy clip to attach to your diaper bag, stroller handle, picnic basket, cooler, or wherever. It weighs around 10 ounces and is 6″x6″–which means to me that it is a bit larger than a computer mouse or a couple of seven-month-old baby hands.
And you can see it easily fits inside my diaper bag (Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack), which is no easy feat.
Earlier this year, when the weather became warmer, I had purchased a JJ Cole Blanket for travel picnics and outings. While I do like this blanket, it is huge folded-up in comparison to the Monkey Mat. It is also bulky and takes up at least half of the basket in our larger stroller (BOB) while wedged in. It is great if you are traveling by car, but it’s definitely not at all as portable I would like, and you surely can’t fit it in your diaper bag.
When my friend and I were at the park the other week with our infants, I laid out both mats for area comparison–they are pretty much exactly the same size (5’x5′). (The JJ Cole blanket is underneath and has the grey flap which velcros shut when folded. The Monkey Mat is on top and stuffs in the pouch at the top right and zips shut.)
A fun thing about the Monkey Mat is that there are loops at the center logo for hooking your toys–this serves well to keep the attention focused at the center versus the edges of the mat. That is, if you have Gentle Baby who enjoys sitting and playing nicely. Though the corners are weighted, the material is still loose and flow-y. There are loops at each of the four corners as well for tying down with tent stakes, sticks, etc. to keep the mat taunt.
Awww, look at Little Brim entertain himself peacefully.
–5 seconds later–
Awww, look at Gentle Baby sit and play nicely. You will notice that Little Brim has decided to ditch the toys, gather up the material, shove it in his mouth, and then try and eat the exposed grass. So we’re in that phase now, I suppose. Staking the corners of the mat down would have avoided this situation!
I also have photos of my friend and I sitting with them enjoying ourselves nicely (not eating grass), but who wants to see those when there are cute babies to show off? This mat is definitely for adults too! Travel picnics, adult vineyard outings, the beach, sporting events, or, as stated above, airport layovers hanging out on the floor would all be great places to use the Monkey Mat.
Also to note, here are some Monkey Mat Fun Tips–the most exciting of which is that the mat is water-repellant and the whole thing can be thrown in the wash!
Pros: Compact size, Zippered Pouch, Carrying Clip, Attached Toy Loops, Machine-washable, Ease of Use
Cons: Need stakes to make material taunt, Cost is about $10 more than other popular blankets (but again, the compact size makes it worth the money–such as ultralight camping gear also cost more, you pay for quality and portability!)
Bottom line: I think you need to scoop one of these mats up! While I do see the benefits of having a heavier mat like the JJ Cole blanket, I think you should have one of each. The Monkey Mat portability, size, and function make this product stand out among other travel blankets/mats. Did I mention it’s portability and size?
The Monkey Mat retails for $39.99 and you can purchase one online through their website.
***The Monkey Mat supplied the product for this review. I have not been monetarily compensated and all opinions are my own.***