The Occupational Therapist Approved Baby Product - Unlocking 6 Benefits for Baby Development

As a pediatric occupational therapist specializing in baby development, you know I LOVE to nerd out on all things development. Enter Busy Baby products .

Their Busy Baby Mat is an awesome invention. I give it a 10 out of 10! It’s very well-made, super useful, and great for helping kids develop properly.

What is the Busy Baby Mat?

In a world filled with SO MANY baby products, it’s sometimes hard to sift through the noise to find the best - items that are both practical & functional.

We all want a product that stimulates our infant and toddler’s learning & development, but finding that one special item both super functional and convenient for our lifestyle is rare..

One product I have LOVED since James (my first born) was a tiny baby, is the Busy Baby Mat.

This mat sticks to tons of different surfaces like windows, high chairs, and shopping carts.

This way, your baby can play without you having to keep picking their toys up from the ground. It's a total GAME CHANGER.

The Busy Baby also has many other great baby products like bungees for bottles, toys, or teethers, a bib that has utensils attached, and more.

All of these products are seriously AMAZING and SUPER practical.

What are the Developmental Benefits of Busy Baby Mat from an OT’s viewpoint?

Babies go through rapid development in their first year of life, with some very significant changes in areas of cognition, motor skills, and sensory integration.

In a fast paced world, it’s especially important to understand how to support your baby’s development not only at home, but also on the go!

1. Encourage Independent Play

One way I used the Busy Baby Mat to support my first born’s development was taking the toys out with us when we’d leave the house to encourage independent play.

Everyone wants their baby to play by themselves sometimes, right!? I found that bringing his toys encouraged him to be a part of family mealtime, but also kept him busy when he was bored with us!

Busy Baby Mat encourages independent play

I started bringing the Busy Baby Mat along with us whenever we'd go out to restaurants and immediately fell in love. It allowed my son to entertain himself. I could actually enjoy my meal uninterrupted without having to constantly pick up toys off the floor.

And an added bonus, it was screen free!! My desire has always been for James to learn independent play, but also develop skills like exploration, problem solving, and motor skills.

The Busy Baby Mat helped us do that even while traveling, during times when I couldn’t prioritize structured play.

James learned very early that he would actively participate in our meals, but also entertain himself at times.

We still prioritize this now as he has become a toddler. And I am so thankful we learned these skills early on.

Learning these skills is helping him build confidence and autonomy, while also giving me a small window of time to enjoy my meal 🤪

2. Fine Motor Development

The Busy Baby Mat can also encourage fine motor development as our baby engages play and mealtime activities using these products.

By picking up small foods by themselves on the mat using utensils connected to the Busy Baby bib - fine motor skills are being isolated and achieved.

At home and while at restaurants, I could place safe-sized foods, like smashed blueberries, peas, or rice grains, on James’ Busy Baby Mini Mat and encourage him to grasp them using a pincer grasp (grasping with thumb and index finger).

Busy Baby Mat encourages fine motor development

A pincer grasp usually emerges around the 9-12 month mark and this mat definitely encouraged him to develop these types of skills.

I would also hook this fine-motor-based toy onto his mat so he could engage in play with this during mealtime. To this day he loves playing with this toy, which is great because it includes so many fine motor components.

Busy Baby Mini Mat encourages fine motor development

The Busy Baby Bib has also helped James become much more proficient with his utensils, which takes a lot of fine motor precision and coordination.

These products have really helped our family seamlessly continue to encourage his fine motor skills even while out and about!!

3. Encourage Self Feeding Skills

The Busy Baby Mat is also wonderful in encouraging self feeding skills from an early age. As discussed above, having your baby learn to finger feed themselves is HUGE for fine motor development as well as independence in mealtime.

The Busy Baby Mat encourages independent feeding when using the bib + utensils products because you don't have to worry about your baby dropping the spoon on the floor, which results in children using their hands to eat (at least this is the case for my child!).

Busy Baby Mat encourages self feeding

Utensil usage requires ALOT of skills - including precision, motor coordination, processing and sequencing, motor planning and more.

When you eliminate the likelihood for the utensil to fall on the ground, the child has more opportunity to practice these skills repetitively during mealtime.

Practice makes perfect! And uninterrupted practice is even better! The bib + utensil set also comes with a fork which is GREAT for fine motor precision and dexterity.

Have you ever tried to stab one pea on your plate with a fork!? It’s tough even for adults, but an AWESOME activity for a toddler to encourage fine motor skills that will support future independent feeding mastery.

This also will encourage other future competencies, like self care (operating buttons and tying shoes), and even handwriting skills developed later in toddler-hood and early childhood.

4. Independent Drinking Skills

Busy Baby also makes a product called the Bottle Bungee which is AMAZING in helping our babies and toddlers learn independent drinking skills.

One common occurrence with our toddler is tossing the cup on the floor when completed. 

Busy baby Mat with Bungee help with independent drinking skills

Instead, with the bottle bungee, he has to learn to place the cup back on his tray and if he does throw it, the cup will not fall onto the floor and roll away.

So, the throwing game is out of the question because it doesn't work with the bottle bungee.

YAY! This allows baby to continue to practice the sequence of independent cup usage with no added interruptions, much like that of practicing with the utensils.

5. Encourage Gross Motor Skills

The Busy Baby Mat can also be used to encourage gross motor skills like sitting and standing! This mat can come in handy when you are encouraging your baby to acquire skills required for independent sitting and standing.

Busy Baby Mat encourages gross motor skills

Gross Motor Skill 1 - Baby Sitting

For example, you may suction the mat onto a window or smooth surface and encourage your baby to play at eye level.

This activity of playing at eye level encourages proper posture, protective responses, core engagement, balance and more for independent sitting skills.

This purposeful isolation of skills is important in promoting this milestone with your baby.

When using the busy baby mat to encourage sitting - place the mat on a window and hook various toys to the bungees.

Place pillows around your baby for security and entice your baby to reach and play at eye level with the toys attached to the mat. This will encourage many skills required in sitting which is AMAZING.

Gross Motor Skill 2 - Baby Standing

You can also place the mat on the same window or surface and encourage standing with your child.

Standing is a precursor skill to walking and placing toys at eye level and encouraging your baby to play in this position is GREAT.

You can encourage your baby to attempt reaching once they're good at standing. This is great for building core strength and stability.

It also boosts their confidence and helps with balance. These skills are important for your baby's first steps on their own.

Place the Busy Baby Mat on a surface with toys attached and encourage your baby to reach above head making sure their feet stay facing forward and hip width apart.

Gross Motor Skill 3 - Dynamic Balancing

You can also have your baby reach to the sides of their body, outside of their base of support, to encourage more dynamic balance in this standing position.

Is reaching too hard for your baby? Try having them stand with the mat + toys at eye level and encourage in play while placing a hand on a surface for stability.

You can also support your baby at their shoulders or hips when they are standing at the vertical surface to help your baby balance and reduce falls.

6. Parent-Child Bonding

The last developmental consideration of the Busy Baby Mat that I want to discuss is parent-child bonding.

When you engage in play with your baby, whether that be at mealtime or at home during more structured play, your baby is feeling loved and seen.

While the Busy Baby Mat promotes independent play, it also serves as a tool for bonding with your child.

Through interactive play sessions, you can engage with their babies by offering encouragement, support, and affection.

My favorite way to show affection to my kids while I play with them is looking them in their eyes and giving them tiny little kisses on their noses.

I want them to know I see them and love them SO much. These shared experiences create opportunities for emotional connection and communication, strengthening our bonds with our babies and children.


The Busy Baby Mat and other Busy Baby accessories are more than just a functional and practical baby products.

They have SO many developmental considerations not only for young infants, but toddlers too.

As a pediatric occupational therapist specializing in infant development, I give Busy Baby a 10/10 for product quality, practicality, and most importantly developmental appropriateness.

Seriously, every family needs one of these mats!

Brooke, OTR/L

Brooke, OTR/L

Brooke, an occupational therapist and mom, runs Infant Insights in Georgia. She's experienced in treating infants with conditions like developmental delays and plagiocephaly. Motivated by her personal journey as a concerned parent, Brook aims to empower and educate parents on nurturing their infants' development.

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