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Move over, alphabet

PlayspotWhen I was growing up, my family had a summer home on Cape Cod. The house had a dining room, but there was plenty of room to eat in the kitchen. So the dining room instead served as a playroom for my (much) younger sister. The centerpiece of the room was a set of interlocking foam tiles with cut-out letters of the alphabet. The squishy mat covered most of the floorspace and provided a soft landing pad for all sorts of toddler antics. Many years later, that set of foam tiles is deservedly still a popular product. But the version we sell looks identical to the one we had in our playroom more than a decade ago.

For parents who lean towards sleek, modern decor, the loud primary colors of the A to Z Mat would stick out like a sore thumb. But thanks to the innovators at Skip Hop, there’s a new alternative. They’ve just released the Playspot, a set of interlocking foam tiles that, like the traditional version, creates an instant padded floor. 14″ square tiles link together via x-shaped connector pieces. Inside each tile is a contrasting cut-out circle that can pop out to mix and match the look. It’s a striking effect that will provide sensory stimulation for babies and a tasteful kick of color to any room in the house.

Aside from the obvious design differences, here are a few more points of comparison. The Playspot is approved for children from birth and up, where the A to Z Mat is recommended for ages 3 and up. Also, the A to Z Mat has a textured surface, while the Playspot is made of smooth EVA foam. The Playspot comes with 20 14″ tiles, while the A to Z Mat has 26 12″ tiles. The A to Z Mat has an irrefutable educational edge, but then again the playroom floor isn’t likely to be any child’s only exposure to the alphabet. Finally, good design always comes at a premium. The A to Z Mat is $44.99, while the Playspot has a suggested retail price of $79.

One last tip: with either one, be sure to leave your Manolos at the door. I’ve heard that high heels can gouge little holes in the foam.

One comment

  1. We want to thank the team at Spilling the Beans for comparing the Playspot vs. the A to Z locking mat. We’re always looking for innovative products to add to our site at http://www.sensoryedge.com. Since we already carry the A to Z mat and other foam flooring, we think adding the Playspot line will enhance our product line even more.

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