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12 best tummy time toys for babies

Tummy time can be great for your baby’s development, helping build the strength to sit up and crawl. We've rounded up the best tummy time toys you can buy to help your baby.

By Lucy Cotterill | Last updated Jul 20, 2023

Tummy time

Some babies take to it with ease, whilst others will squirm and squeal, but love or hate it, tummy time is important for your baby. Quite simply, tummy time is the time your baby spends on their tummy whilst they’re awake. Whether you set them up for this in the best playpen or on a baby mat, it is considered important for your baby’s development, strengthening the muscles required for crawling and sitting up without assistance.

You can start tummy time as early as you like with your newborn, carefully placing them on their tummy or resting them on your chest or stomach. If your little one protests when you place them on their front – believe us, many do! – choosing the best tummy time toy for your child can really help. Think of them as aids to help engage your child, much like you would use the best bath toys to distract and entertain a fussy baby in the tub.

Products such as tummy time play mats and tummy time floor mirrors can entertain and distract, while baby gyms and rollers can also encourage safe tummy time play. You’ll find a variety of products on the market – including tummy time prop pillows and tummy time water mats – so it’s worth considering what will suit you and your baby. They might prefer an interactive light-up toy or a simpler fold-away, baby-safe floor mirror.

Here are the 12 best tummy time toys to buy right now. We hope they bring your baby lots of fun on their tum.

Read next: How to do tummy time with your baby

Best tummy time toys at a glance

1. Best overall tummy time toy: Nuby Animal Adventures Tummy Time Pillow

Nuby Animal Adventures Tummy Time Pillow

Price: RRP £19.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age: From birth (supervised)

What we love

  • Cute, soft and engaging character

  • Tactile and sensory features including a mirror

  • Portable

What to know

  • Not the easiest fabric to clean

What Mumsnet users say

“I think my son could only tolerate it for a really short period of time at that age. What made it better for him was a tummy time pillow.”  (Type of tummy time toy tried and tested by Mumsnet user Letsallscreamatthesistene)

“I remember panicking about this - I eventually got a tummy time pillow which helped a lot.” (Type of tummy time toy recommended by Mumsnet user Rossaloony)

Our verdict

Offering comfort and support for your baby as they lie on their front, many Mumsnet users found tummy time pillows to be a complete ‘game changer’ improving their baby’s willingness to lie on their front without tears or frustration. They’re a compact option too, portable enough to take with you when visiting family or friends.

This cute plush koala tummy time pillow from the Nuby Animal Adventures Collection forms a soft and comfortable prop to help strengthen your baby's upper body. Not only does it lift your baby's neck and shoulders off the floor, but the fluffy crinkle ears, sensory rattle and baby-safe mirror encourage your baby to lift their neck as they explore and discover their new toy.

Looking for more baby essentials? Our in-depth guide to the best baby thermometer includes recommendations that have been tried, tested and loved by real parents.

2. Best budget tummy time toy: Wendergo Tummy Time Inflatable Water Mat

Wendergo Tummy Time Mat Inflatable Water Mat

Price: RRP £10.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age: 3 months plus

What we love

  • Encourages babies to push up and move their necks to locate sea creatures

  • Characters and water hold their attention allowing extended tummy time duration without tears

  • Can be used inside and outside with both warm or cold water

What to know

  • Recommended to wash and dry and ventilate for two days before use

  • May need to add vinegar to prevent trapped water or mould

What Mumsnet users say

With my youngest, we had a sensory ocean-themed tummy time mat you filled with water. Was great fun hitting it and fishes swimming across and something a little different.”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Bobcatinthewild)

Our verdict

By far one of the biggest challenges of tummy time is keeping your baby comfortable and distracted. If you fail to do so, your baby may quickly become irritable and tired.

A budget-friendly choice, this soft inflatable tummy time mat is definitely one to hold their attention. Made from BPA-free PVC, it can be filled with cold or warm water to enable sea creatures inside to float and move. Lie your baby on top and watch in awe as they start to push themselves up and extend their neck to follow the characters inside.

Toys like this help to strengthen a baby's muscles, helping them to eventually move about more. It may be a few months down the line yet, but when they're a little older, you may want to consider researching the best baby walker for your child – our in-depth guide covers the pros and cons and features the top Mumsnetter-approved walkers.

3. Best tummy time toy for newborns: Bright Starts 5-in-1 Your Way Ball Play Activity Gym and Ball Pit

Bright Starts 5-in-1 Your Way Ball Play Activity Gym and Ball Pit

Price: RRP £79.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age: From birth/newborn

What we love

  • Grows with your child as five different ways to play

  • Includes balls and seven tropical-themed toys

  • Music and light show

What to know

  • Costly

  • The floor mat is not as padded as some

What Mumsnet users say

“I had the Bright Starts 5-in-1 Play Gym with my daughter.”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Alarae)

“I had the Bright Starts 5-in-1 Play Gym that converts to a little ball pit and has a musical elephant thing that sits on top - thought it was really good.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Kimblebee19)

Our verdict

If you’re looking for a tummy time toy that will grow with your baby, the Bright Starts 5-in-1 Play Gym is an excellent choice. With five different ways to play, this unique wipe-down play gym can transform from the best baby play mat into a ball pit, with forty balls and a variety of take-along toys included.

Ideal for tummy time from birth, the wedge cushion provides a comfortable prop for your baby as they lie on their front, whilst the tactile hanging toys, rattles and a baby-safe mirror will capture their attention and encourage movement. If that’s not enough, the detachable elephant toy lights up and provides up to twenty minutes of captivating music to entertain your baby.

4. Best Montessori tummy time toy: Done by Deer Tummy Time Croco Toy

Done by Deer Tummy Time Croco Toy

Price: RRP £38.95 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Age: From birth/newborn

What we love

  • A neutral design ideal for modern nurseries

  • Comfortable cushion

  • Range of tactile entertainment

What to know

  • Costly

  • Lighter colour may be harder to clean

Our verdict

If you’re not a fan of bright and garish baby toy designs, these neutral and modern tummy time toys from Done by Dear are a great alternative. Available in a choice of dark green or pale pink, these sustainable tummy time toys offer a soft and supportive pillow that props up your baby as they lie on their front.

Fully stimulating their senses, your baby will love listening to the crinkle sounds as they move their arms. They can also explore a range of tactile textures and tags, grab for the teether or peer into the mirror to take a peek at their reflection, making this one of the best sensory toys for babies during tummy time.

5. Best tummy time mirror toy: Bright Starts Sit and See Safari Floor Mirror Tummy Time Activity Toy

Bright Starts Tummy Time Prop and Play Polar Bear

Price: RRP £10.50 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age: From birth/newborn

What we love

  • Colourful crinkly fabric

  • Folds flat for portability

  • Teaches babies about their reflection

What to know

  • No additional features

  • Relatively small size (11cm wide)

What Mumsnet users say

“I found that having some tummy time activities to swap in and out helped to keep my little one engaged and gave him something to focus on/want to look at - I’ve used a tummy time mirror”  (Type of tummy time toy tried and tested by Mumsnet user HedgerowRobin)

“My son’s favourite tummy time is when he’s looking at himself in a mirror” (Type of tummy time toy recommended by Mumsnet user forevercurious)

Our verdict

Mirrors are a great way to hold your baby’s attention during tummy time, and they make one of the best toys for newborns, a stage when they don’t fully understand that they’re looking at their reflection.

This Bright Starts baby safe mirror has a bright, colourful and engaging design, with a simple stand that can be popped up or flattened down as and when required. Whilst some reviewers found it to be a little on the small side, this tummy time mirror can be placed in front of your baby as they lie on their front, spiking their curiosity and encouraging self-awareness as they grow.

6. Best interactive tummy time toy: Baby Einstein Glow & Discover Light Bar Toy

Baby Einstein Glow & Discover Light Bar Toy

Price: RRP £21.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age: 3 months plus

What we love

  • Lights and music can hold their attention

  • Can be used for both tummy time and sitting-up play

  • Educational - teaches colours and animal names

What to know

  • Some parents may prefer a non-musical toy

Our verdict

If you don’t mind the addition of a musical toy in your home, the Baby Einstein Glow & Discover Light Bar Toy is a fun, interactive and educational toy that makes a great tummy time companion.

Simply place in front of your baby as they lie on their tummy and allow them to reach out and touch the light up keys or spin the rattle in the centre. With three different play modes, babies can learn about animals and colours or play the notes on a xylophone, enhancing their fine motor skills whilst strengthening their neck and back. As your baby grows, the toy can even be angled on its stand for entertaining sitting-up play.

7. Best tummy time mat: Bright Starts Totally Tropical Prop & Play Tummy Time Baby Activity Mat

Bright Starts Totally Tropical Prop & Play, Tummy Time Baby Activity Mat

Price: RRP £15 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age: From birth/newborn

What we love

  • Low price point

  • Compact size ideal for smaller spaces

  • Includes toys and tummy time pillow

What to know

  • The tummy time cushion isn’t fixed and reviewers found it can slip on the wipe-down fabric

Our verdict

Full-sized play gyms are great for tummy time, but they can also take up significant floor space too. If you’re after a more compact tummy time mat for smaller homes, this roll up tummy time mat is ideal, with the option to easily tuck away out of sight when not in use.

A lightly padded play mat in a brightly coloured, engaging design, the Bright Starts Tummy Time Activity Mat includes a small tummy time cushion and two clip-on toys - a baby-safe mirror and a tactile leaf toy. You can also incorporate some of your own best baby toys into play on this mat too. The downside? Whilst it’s great for portability and varied use, some found that the tummy time cushion can slip a little on the surface of the mat.

8. Best tummy time roller: Fisher-Price Grow-With-Me Tummy Time Llama

Fisher-Price Grow-with-Me Tummy Time Llama

Price: RRP £38.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age: From birth/newborn

What we love

  • Adorable soft plush friend

  • Stimulates babies' senses

  • Supportive wedge for tummy time

What to know

  • Not subtle

  • Some reviewers found that the llama tended to flop about during tummy time and may be less supportive than a traditional tummy time pillow

What Mumsnet users say

“My daughter’s 19 weeks tomorrow and she just learned how to roll from tummy to back yesterday (proud mum moment, sent a video of her rolling to everyone) I got her the Fisher Price Llama Pillow that I think improved her a lot on the floor.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Strawberries4days)

Our verdict

Whilst it’s not discreet, the cute plush Tummy Time Llama can quickly become a fun friend for your baby as they strengthen their neck and develop their gross motor skills.

With four different ways to play, the Tummy Time Llama can be used from birth, initially lying on their backs and and looking up at their reflection in the mirror attached to the llama’s mouth. As they grow, the fold out mat can offer substantial entertainment during tummy time, with thirteen sensory elements for your baby to discover. Babies who can sit will love removing the toys from the side pocket, or even taking along their friend with them once they become more mobile.

9. Best musical tummy time toy: Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym

Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym

Price: RRP £59.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age: From birth/newborn

What we love

  • Interactive features and activities

  • Includes sensory elements

  • Allows babies to create music through movement, teaching cause and effect

What to know

  • Noisy

  • Does take up significant floor space so less suited to smaller homes

What Mumsnet users say

“My son loved the Fisher Price Kick & Play Piano Gym. He loved to kick the keys and hear the music and he’d do tummy time on it and watch the lights. He still sits and plays with it now at eight months! Or will stand and play with the piano if I take it off and put it on the sofa or footstool”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user waitingforwinter)

“We got the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick and Play Piano when my son was a newborn. He absolutely loves it still and he’s 11 months now!” (Recommended by Mumsnet user IcedCoffeeAlways)

Our verdict

The Fisher-Price Kick 'n' Play Piano Gym combines a classic gym play with a kick-to-play musical piano. With four different modes of play, it can easily take your baby from newborn through to the toddler years. Five removable toys are provided, including a large sun mirror, a clacker elephant, rollerball frog, soft crinkle tiger with ribbons and a hippo teether.

During tummy time, babies can reach out and grasp the toys in front of them or enjoy some self discovery by looking at their reflection in the mirror. As they move their legs, the notes of the piano will chime, encouraging them to wriggle and bounce.

For other ways to soothe and entertain your baby through movement, we've also compiled a guide to the best baby bouncer, as tried and tested by MNHQ.

10. Best sensory tummy time toy: Infantino Busy Board Mirror & Sensory Discovery Toy Boat

Infantino Busy Board Mirror & Sensory Discovery Toy Boat

Price: RRP £19.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age: From birth/newborn

What we love

  • Interactive elements are great for enhancing fine motor skills

  • Engaging activities and mirror to hold baby’s attention whilst on their tummy

  • Portable size

What to know

  • May want a comfortable play mat or prop in addition to extend their tummy time duration

Our verdict

A small and portable tummy time toy, this pop-out boat with carry handle is packed full of interactive elements that can stimulate your baby’s senses as they play.

From high contrast prints with crinkle flaps, fun moveable gears, bead play and a selfie mirror for self discovery, they’ll also be introduced to animals, objects and numbers as they explore during time on their tummy.

11. Best tummy time book: Taf Toys Koala Infant Tummy time Soft Double Sided Activity Book

Taf Toys Koala Infant Tummy time Soft Double Sided Activity Book

Price: RRP £14.49 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age: From birth/newborn

What we love

  • Contrast colours

  • Crinkling pages

  • Includes baby-safe mirror

What to know

  • Costly for the size

Our verdict

The Taf Toys Koala activity book is a great all rounder. Made from soft and fluffy textured fabric, this delightful little book is packed full of cute engaging characters in contrasting colours, making a fun companion for both tummy time or sit-up play time at home.

Parents can get down on the floor with their babies and help turn the pages, whilst your baby reaches out to touch the crinkling pages or look back at their reflection in the mirror. Once sitting, babies will love lifting the flaps and turning pages as they grow in confidence.

12. Best soft tummy time toy: Mamas & Papas Tummy Time Snugglerug

Mamas and Papas Tummy Time Snugglerug

Price: RRP £39 | Buy now from Mamas & Papas

Key specs

Age: From birth/newborn

What we love

  • Neutral design ideal for modern nursery settings

  • Super soft and comfortable

  • Curved shape helps support neck, upper arms and shoulders

What to know

  • Not the easiest to clean

Our verdict

Uniquely shaped to support your baby’s entire upper body during tummy time, this super soft and cosy elephant will soon become a firm favourite for your baby. With no bright colours in sight, it’s also a subtle and stylish addition to your baby’s nursery.

Creating a soft and comfortable wedge that supports them as they lie on their front, the  Mamas & Papas Snugglerug also includes a small interactive rattle to reach out and grab, helping babies enhance their fine motor skills and start to learn about cause and effect.

What is tummy time?

As the name suggests, tummy time is the time your baby spends on their tummy. It is recommended that from birth, babies spend brief periods of their waking time lying on their tummies to help strengthen the muscles in their neck, shoulders, back and core. Tummy time can help their gross motor development as the stronger your baby's muscles, the easier they should find the progression to crawling and sitting unaided.

When should you start tummy time?

Tummy time should be encouraged from birth, initially by placing them on their tummy across your lap or chest. As your baby grows, you can extend the frequency and duration of tummy time sessions.

How long should tummy time last?

Initially, tummy time can be incredibly tiring for your baby, physically challenging for them as they try and support their own weight and lift their neck. For that reason, tummy time should be done for just a few minutes at a time, extending the duration when they become more confident and calm.

What’s the best surface for tummy time?

For very young infants, you can start tummy time on your chest or lap. As they get bigger, however, tummy time is best done on any flat and firm surface, such as using a play mat on the floor.

You should avoid doing tummy time at height such as on a mattress or sofa as this can introduce the risk of rolling. It’s also important that your baby is comfortable, which is where padded props, cushions and pillows can really help.

How do I keep my baby entertained during tummy time?

From mirrors to sensory toys and books, tactile fabrics, engaging characters or even sounds, lights and music, there are plenty of ways to keep your baby entertained during tummy time.

The more stimulating elements your baby has to explore and discover, the more distracted they will be, making them far more likely to sustain longer periods on their tummy.

What’s the best tummy time toy to buy?

Tummy time toys can be a very personal choice and preferences may vary from one parent (and child) to the next. That said, we feel the Nuby Animal Adventures Tummy Time Toy is the best you can buy today. Soft and comfortable, it creates a supportive prop for your baby as they lie on their front, whilst also providing a range of play elements to stimulate their senses.

How we chose our recommendations

Recommendations from real Mumsnet users

First, we sought out the trusted opinions of Mumsnet users, to get their feedback on their experiences of tummy time, including the highs, lows, challenges and tummy time toys that have helped. We looked for their verdict on the tummy time toys they have tried and tested in their own homes.

We also looked out for any negative reviews, where Mumsetters highlighted products that they felt were poor quality, hard to clean, overpriced, uncomfortable for their baby or simply took up too much space in the home.

Expert opinions

Next up, we considered reviews and feedback from trusted industry experts. We want to be confident that the products we recommend are fit for purpose, so we looked out for award-winning products or those that were well regarded in the marketplace, including those recommended by nursery experts.

Authentic consumer reviews

Finally, to bring you our definitive list of the best tummy time toys on the market, we thoroughly investigated genuine, in-depth customer reviews on retailer sites such as Amazon, Mamas and Papas and Argos to get wider consumer experiences regarding the products on our shortlist.

About the author

Lucy Cotterill is a mum of two to a now six- and 10-year-old as well as a Content Writer at Mumsnet, specialising in baby/child and lifestyle product reviews and round-ups.

Having written product reviews on her own blog Real Mum Reviews since 2012, Lucy loves to research and explore the pros and cons of baby products, scrutinising reviews and consumer feedback to help parents make confident purchases that benefit their families.

Originally from a HR background with a degree in Business Studies, Lucy developed a real passion for blogging and writing when her children were young, going on to write for several online publications including US parenting site Pregistry and the Evening Standard.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate to make your life easier – everything from the best baby nasal aspirator to the best baby shampoo.

Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.