Best Toddler Nap Mats 2023
After a long day, the last thing parents want to deal with is a fussy, overtired kid who’s fighting bedtime. That’s why daytime naps are so important—it not only gives little ones the opportunity to recharge, but can also help them to fall asleep faster at night (if they truly still need a nap, of course). Sending in one of the best toddler nap mats to daycare, preschool or the sitter’s house is all part of creating that soothing, safe environment for sleeping on-the-go success. At home, you might be able to treat them to blackout shades, a comfortable mattress and a white noise machine, but away from the comfort of their room, you’ll need to rely on a just-right toddler nap mat to create the ideal sleeping conditions for your child.
The best toddler nap mats are cushioned, easy to clean and simple enough that kids can handle them ... [+] by themselves.
Much like a sleeping bag, a toddler nap mat is designed for on-the-go resting. Most of the cocoon-like mats have a blanket attached and sometimes even a pillow. They’re designed to make napping comfortable no matter where the kids go. More importantly, it creates a sense of place and personal space for small children, who—as most parents know—thrive on familiarity and routine.
There are a few key features to look for when shopping for the right toddler nap mat, which is generally recommended for ages 2 to 5. For starters, it should offer cushioning since they’ll likely be placed on the floor or over a simple cot. Ease of cleaning is, of course, essential (because runny noses and potty accidents are inevitable). Plus, they should be simple enough for kids to handle by themselves.
“As an early childhood educator and the mom of a preschooler, the most important factor when selecting a nap mat—or truly anything (lunch box, shoes, jacket)— is independence,” says Mikaela Martinez, teacher and founder of Project Based Primary. “Always remember that your child isn’t the only one getting ready for a nap. There are multiple children needing that assistance at the same time, so selecting a mat that your child can set up and clean up independently is a great way to allow your child to be set up for a smoother transition, which will lead to a more restful nap time.”
With all this in mind, we’ve selected the best toddler nap mats to help make the move from napping at home to napping at school (or anywhere else, for that matter) as seamless as possible.
A trusted naptime companion, the Wildkin Original Nap Mat is one that parents have relied on for years. Made with a machine-washable blend of cotton and polyester, this nap mat ensures a snuggly sleep experience, while also being easy to clean (a removable pillow slips out for laundering). Kid-friendly hook and loop closure tabs keep the mat secure once it’s rolled up, and there’s a handle that’s short enough for kids to carry. The mat comes in a variety of fun designs, from playful dinosaurs to colorful construction vehicles, that makes choosing one a fun experience. Or if your kid already has a Wildkin backpack or lunchbox, they can get a nap mat to match it.
Toddlers seem to quickly outgrow everything, including naps. If your little one’s starting to drop their midday snooze and you don’t want to spend a lot on a mat, consider this option from JumpOff Jo. It has many of the same great qualities as pricier nap mats—an attached blanket, removable pillow, machine-washable material—but at a more affordable price tag. However, at 43-inches long, it’s shorter than many others (the Wildkin, in comparison, measures 50 inches), so don’t be surprised if it's just a one-school-year kind of purchase. But if you have a shorter kid who's swimming in other nap mats, then definitely consider this one.
This super-cozy toddler nap mat from kids furniture maker Delta Children is perfect for little ones who love that tucked-in feeling. The exterior fabric is sturdy, which means it holds up well in the wash, plus there’s a plush, removable pillow insert. It boasts cushy, 1-inch thick padding to provide extra support, and the attached oversized blanket has a soft, minky interior. This might help kids, as one reviewer said, “sleep like a baby,” no matter where they are. It’s available in a handful of colors and prints and comes with a personalization option so you can get your kid’s name stitched right onto the cover.
These cute animal-themed nap mats will no doubt fill the classroom with smiles. It’s sized to fit younger toddlers or petite kids, but its unique detachable design also allows the pillow and blanket to come apart for separate use when they’re older or bigger. The breathable pillow can be taken out, and there’s a wraparound zipper that you can close to make little ones feel extra snug. The interior is made of lightweight cotton jersey so kids who run hot don’t wake up a sticky mess.
If your preschooler, like mine, sleeps on a cot at daycare and you’re looking for bedding that’ll actually stay in place, look no further than this Urban Infant nap mat. Elastic corner straps loop around the cot’s edges, and they’re straightforward enough to use that even kids can handle the task. The quilted mat is thinner than other nap mats, making it far less bulky to tote between home and school. That doesn’t mean it’s any less comfortable—it contains a removable pillow and attached blanket made from no-pill fleece. Because it’s designed especially for school environments, this nap mat is less versatile and won’t work as well for sleepovers and vacations.
Lovevery is beloved for its award-winning play gym and stage-based, subscription kits, so it’s no surprise the brand makes a parent-approved nap mat, too. Not only is it crafted from Oeko-Tex certified organic cotton, but the set is easy for kids to manage on their own. “We chose this because it is all one piece that can easily be unrolled and rolled up by a child. It has two child-friendly buckles to keep it together and save space,” says Martinez. “It also has a small handle with the buckles so she could carry it to and from her nap space without dragging it along the floor.”
If you have a toddler who’s tall for their age—or if you’re one of those very lucky parents whose older kid still naps—Wake In Cloud’s nap mat is available in an extra long 60-inch length, along with a more standard 50-inch length. Parents who prefer natural fibers and non-polyester options also love that the outer shell is made from quality fabric. “They’re 100 percent cotton, come with a removable pillow and there are lots of designs to choose from,” says one mom. Buying a longer nap mat makes it useful beyond preschool—at 5-feet long, kids can use this as an indoor sleeping bag for future sleepovers.
Finding the best kids products always requires a lot of research and tapping into my parenting network. To whittle down this list of best toddler nap mats, I not only read countless reviews and articles, but also gathered recommendations from other parents and reached out to Martinez, an early childhood educator and fellow mom.
As the parent of a 4-year-old, I’ve done a lot of shopping for both sleep- and school-friendly products. I included the nap mat that I’ve tested firsthand with my child here, too. I’m also an experienced journalist and product reviewer and contribute regularly to Forbes Vetted, especially in the home and kitchen vertical.Best Toddler Nap Mat Overall: Best Value Toddler Nap Mat: Best Cozy Toddler Nap Mat: Best Cute Toddler Nap Mat: Best Toddler Nap Mat For Cots: Best Organic Toddler Nap Mat: Best Long Toddler Nap Mat: How We Chose The Best Toddler Nap Mats