We first dicovered the Munchkin and Bear brand the Baby Show in Birmingham.
We were taken back by its sponginess and the fact that Alana said we could walk on the mat, even with shoes on.
Their mats and the brand really stuck with us and low and behold, about 7 months later, we bought a Munchkin and Bear mat for our little girl.
Munchkin and Bear playmats are not cheap, (though absolutely worth the price in our opinion). But with a high price tag, they do warrant a bit of though before you commit to buying one..
So I thought I would give you a thorough and honest review of out mat, including all aspects of its use, value, design and the overall purchase.
I hope that this review will reassure you in deciding if you need a Munchkin and Bear mat in your life.
Our little Cece is rolling about on her tummy and babbling wildly on her mat as I write this post!
So here we go..
We bought the ‘Medium Hamptons Play Mat – in Peony Pink’
It has a pastel pink shade on one side and a medium grey colour on the other side.
The design is a geometric white circle design which is simple but chic and stylish.
We debated for a while whether to go for the large mat as this means we could fully lie on it with baby. Or a round one, as they are a little more versatile in terms of fitting into spaces.
However, after deliberating, we decided that the medium mat would be best for moving it into different rooms when we are done using it in the living room.
How does the mat feel?
The mat is the comfiest most unbelievably cushioning mat ever. We absolutely love it, it also makes getting down to play with baby a lot easier and getting up again afterwards is easier too.
(Much easier than getting up and down from the hard floor!)
It is very comfortable to sit on, and I often lie on the floor with Cece on the mat.
It has a slightly bumpy surface, which I think adds durability. and extra softness.
It is equally soft on both sides and the nice thing is that you can’t see the under side of the mat when it it one the floor – I was worried that with the depth, you would be able to see the colour underneath poking out, but you can’t.
Style and Design
I absolutely love the style of the mat.
Munchkin and Bear say they try to design mats that fit in with your grown up decor and they’re specifically not brightly colour or multi coloured so as not to look like an eyesore like so many baby toys.
The grey design side works really well in our living room neutral decor, whilst the pink is a little more playful and looks beautiful on the nursery floor.
The mat comes with two long velcro pieces so you can roll it up and secure it – for storage or for travelling.
To be honest we don’t bother with the straps, we’ve only tied it shut a couple of times.
In between of use we normal just fold it in half loosely and wedge it between a chair and the wall for quick and easy one handed access whilst holding the child!
The mat works very well for playtime. Makes tummy time more comfortable and I’m sure will be more reassuring as a landing ground for falls and tumbles from sitting and standing. (Although thankfully we’re not at that stage yet.)
Cece plays on her mat every day, multiple times a day. And we lie or sit down on it too.
I also find it useful for those times when I am rocking baby in my arms to get her to sleep for what seems like hours.. I stand on the mat and rock side to side, foot to foot.
The cushioning feel takes away some of the tiresomeness and frustration when you just can’t get her to fall asleep. Its also really nice on your feet and adds a nice bounce to your swaying.
The other really great use is for exercising and yoga.
(Although I must confess, I haven’t exactly done much of either since Cece was born…)
But a few times, I have tried a few yoga poses, stretches and I tried to hold the plank position with just my arms on the mat for cushioning.
(Which I can say definitely made it a little more bearable!)
It is also excellent for Gruffalo reading parties…
Does it have a memory foam smell?
Some items that utilise memory foam have a smell, sometimes faint and sometimes strong.
I am pleased to say that there was zero smell from our mat that I remember from when it was first opened.
The mat is extremely high quality, we have been using it for a few months now, everyday, including walking on it and I am pleased to say that it still looks brand new.
We loved the fact that the materials are all non toxic – baby likes to suck and lick the mat!
It can easily be cleaned with just a damp cloth using water.
The mat is also waterproof – so for any accidents, or milk sick explosions, you are absolutely fine.
First Impression vs Now
I would say that we are both absolutely in love with our mat.
It still looks as good as day one and we both agree that it has been one of the best purchases we made for our little Cece.
It looks amazing in the background for lots and lots of photographs and videos taken on the mat too!
Although trying to get her to keep still and on her back for a photograph these days is near impossible…
Our mat has also had a lot of milky sick and dribble on its surface and having wiped and cleaned it, still looks spotless.
There is no smell, there was no smell at the start either.
There are some creases that appear towards the centre of the mat, when it has been folded in half and stored over night.
But this isn’t a big deal anymore and the creases do come out if you bend the mat the other way. The best way I have found they come out is if the mat gets a bit warm in the beaming sunlight, the heat totally flattens the mat out.
I absolutely love our Munchkin and Bear mat and think that it was worth every penny.
What about pets?
We do not own a dog, so I can’t speak as a dog owner. However, we do own a very cheeky and naughty house cat.
He loves to do everything he shouldn’t and we did worry at first about him tearing or piercing the mat with his super sharp claws. He loves to scratch and pull the antique rug we have and just will not stop trying his luck on that one!
Surprisingly he not even attempted this once with our Munchkin and Bear mat… Thankfully!
I am not sure if that is because the mat smells of Cece and he really doesn’t like her yet, or the feel of the foam is just not enticing enough to try to scratch.
He has walked over the mat hundreds of times though without even stopping to think about scratching it. This could however just be down to individual cats and their unique ways.
One thing is certain, Munchkin and Bear would not fair well against a cat using the mat as a scratching post, the claws would easily puncture the surface.
We also own a boisterous but friendly large tortoise, and he very much likes walking across the mat. So I can comfortably say the mat is tortoise friendly!
Are there any negatives?
I suppose you could say the cost is a slight downside, as not everyone could afford one of these mats.
But to counter this, the mat really is a premium product. And compared to other items available on the market, Munchkin and Bear really do excel and their price isn’t that high when you compare to other items such as a a £300 highchair or £1000 travel system or £70 a month on Sky TV!
Rolling up the mat
Until you get used to doing it, the mat can be quite difficult to roll up and secure with the velcro straps.
I tried to roll ours up the other day as we were taking it over to the grandparents house for a visit and I was surprised how difficult I found it – it took me a few times and Cece was sitting there laughing at me.
It can be done, its just a bit difficult to keep the tension and get the straps round.
When we first received the mat, obviously the mat had been rolled tightly and stored in its box for a period of time.
On unrolling our new mat, we discovered that the crease lines were quite bad. Following the Munchkin and Bear advice, we rolled the mat in the opposite direction and stored overnight.
Unfortunately this didn’t solve the problem and we tried numerous things to try to get the very noticeable creases out of the mat.
After a couple of weeks, we contacted Sophie at Munchkin and Bear who advised us on what to do next. Their customer service was very good.
They were willing to replace the mat, as they had put the problem down to us having a particularly stubborn mat.
However, as these emails took place, the Corona virus has just started to take its toll on the country and Sophie explained that they were trying to limit the number of deliveries at that particular time. She asked would we be willing to keep the mat for a couple of months to see if the problem got any better.
We agreed to this, and moved the mat to a different location (into our bay window area.)
Over the next few days, the bright and warm sun shining through the bay windows and beaming onto the mat actually rectified the crease problem! The heat must have helped the foam to fully expand, thus erasing the creases.
So, problem solved. This was really the only downside to the mat purchase, as it was a bit of a faff to get it looking its best. However, a simple solution solved the problem in the end.
Who would this mat be perfect for? / Who would it not be ideal for?
Literally any busy family, with one, two or ten children.
If you can be bothered to roll it up, you can easily store it away to use the floor for other activities.
If you have wooden, laminate or even tiled or a stone floor, this mat would be perfect as it turns an unwelcoming floor space into a comfortable and safe zone – especially if used in conjunction with a safely play pen placed around the mat.
The Munchkin and Bear mat was extremely useful to us because although we have carpet, we also run a business that involves tiny watch parts that can get literally everywhere.
They can also be very sharp too – not a good mix with a 6 month old!
No matter how much you hoover, there is still aways that danger that a tiny spiky watch part will have been carried in on your sock or clothing.
This was one of the original reasons why we were so keen to buy a Munchkin and Bear mat, so that we can easily see that the play area is safe and a watch part free zone before we place Cece down on the floor.
Not great for:
Anyone with a cat who scratches and gets his claws into literally everything.
This may sound weird, but if you wear heels a lot in the house, say that you would be wearing heels to get ready to go out – if your play mat fills the floorspace in your living room you may accidentally stand on the mat – This could damage this mat depending on how sharp they are.
If you don’t have a space to store the mat in between of use.
I mean, you may choose to keep the mat down permanently, but obviously it has to be moved occasionally for hoovering etc. it could become a bit of an annoyance if you have nowhere to store it.
If you have dogs who like to chew everything including toys made of foam – they may confuse the mat with a chew toy and well, try to eat it.
We both love out Munchkin and Bear mat, it has been a gem to own and a real pleasure.
We have had hours of pleasure out of it already (as has Cece our little girl) and I’m sure we will have many, many more hours of fun out of it as she starts to sit unaided, crawl and eventually walk!
I would seriously recommend a Munchkin and Bear to anyone and have done to family members and friends.
If you have any questions about our Munchkin and Bear experience, leave a comment or send me an email.
I hope you found this review helpful.