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Name of product: M Sanmersen Piano mat
Age: 12 months and up
Dimensions: 39.37 x 14.2 inches
Weight: 8 ounces
Price Range: $18.98
Description of Product
The M Sanmersen Piano mat is a foldable musical dance mat that is a great educational toy for toddlers because of its various functions and versatility.
It consists of 8 piano keys with each key having piano sound, color, and with a touch of the switch button on the mat, different songs are played on each key. The mat also has pictures of animals and once pressed, each animal produces a sound. Additionally, when any part of the mat is pressed, the lights surrounding the speaker is illuminated.
Children are able to press on the mat using both hands and feet and it is safe for babies because it made from soft, non woven fabric that is tasteless and non-toxic.
Lastly, the mat requires 3 double AA batteries that are not included with the package. However, it shuts off after 2 minutes of idle use.
Is this the ideal educational toy for toddlers?
The mat is bright and colorful and noisy, making it ideal for children between 1 and 5 as it stimulates most of their senses. The bright colors and flashing lights appeal to their sight; the music that is played through the mat appeals to their hearing and the need to touch/dance/hit the mat appeal to their tactile needs.
The mat also encourages sensory-motor activity because when the child learns that sound is produced once parts of the mats are touched, then they are encouraged to move more. This also stimulates their logical abilities because of the same previous reason.
However, there are some qualms that I have gathered from this mat.
Firstly, there is a note underneath the product on amazon which states that they would advise parents to place the mat on carpet or ceramic tiles and place non-slip socks on the kids (such as those located on the left). They also warn parents to not allow babies and toddlers on the mat without supervision so that the children can avoid falling on the mat. The latter goes without saying: you can’t leave babies and toddlers unattended for a second. However, it worries me that the mat can be slippery by itself.
There may be those who do not have carpets (for allergy reasons) nor ceramic tiles in their homes so how can they prevent slippage? The non-slip socks are not going to suffice by themselves as the entire mat can move. It would be nice if the creators added something to the bottom of the mat that gripped onto whatever floors it was on to minimize movement and slippage. I do believe that the reason why the mat is slippery is because the material used is to make clean-ups easier, among other things. Which is fine, but something underneath the mat to grip the floors would be ideal.
Secondly, I would have liked to see more functionality with the mat in terms of voice. There are 8 numbers and colors on the mat located on each piano key but they don’t really receive recognition as the children are more interested in pressing the keys and hearing the sounds that come out of them.
I would have liked to hear a voice that noted each color, number and the names of each animal upon pressing the “switch” key at the end of the piano. That way, they are learning about everything on the piano, rather than just listening to the sounds. Otherwise, the colors and numbers are just decoration for toddlers who haven’t learned their colors or numbers as yet.
This also puts pressure on the parent/s to teach the child the colors and numbers that are located on the mat, and Let’s face it, most children don’t really listen to parents when they speak.
Lastly, if you thought that this product was an introduction to piano, you better think again! It does introduce the child to piano sounds but the child is unable to really relate the sound to anything because the mat doesn’t teach how the sound matches with a color and/or number (as per my previous point). Again, that voice that indicated, “1-red, 2-orange, 3-green” etc, for example, would have helped the child match a piano sound to a particular color on the mat.
Additionally, the colors of the keys should have been in sequential order, using all 7 colors of the rainbow (or any seven colors for that matter). This is to match the sound of each key on the piano to each color of the rainbow because the piano has 7 main keys (C-D-E-F-G-A-B). After the 7th key, the cycle of letters starts with C again and continues. This mat should have ensured to represent this same pattern using the colors. For example, the first key would be red-then orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet. After Violet, the next color would indicate the start of the cycle again to red (if this doesn’t make any sense, leave a comment and I will explain this in more detail). The mat does not do this.
- It is a multi-sensory mat that stimulates sight, touch, and sound through its flashing lights, tactile functions, and music.
- It promotes movement of crawling, hitting, dancing and the like.
- its foldable, small and lightweight so it’s easy to put away
- The material is non-toxic and tasteless which makes it safe for a baby to use.
- There is an instant standby mode that kicks in after 2 minutes to conserve battery.
- Children are exposed to different sounds and music
- The mat is slippery by itself so there needs to be careful consideration into where to place the mat
- There isn’t enough functionality with the toy: the child hears animal and piano sounds but is unable to relate them to the pictures and colors that are located on the mat.
- Not ideal for teaching or introducing a child to piano
- Not ideal for learning numbers and colors or songs (as the songs played don’t have lyrics). The makers of the mat leave the job to parents, siblings and anyone else who can teach the child what everything means.
So is this a winner?!
Not necessarily. It is a great toy for its engagement with the child because of its bright colors, flashing lights, and sounds, however, it lacks the educational tools needed to push this product into a realm of efficiency at a quality price. This could have been such a great educational toy if not for its setbacks because, without them, it’s just a toy.
None-the-less, the M Samnerson Piano mat is a great Christmas gift for any toddler which should distract them for quite some time. So if that is your aim, go ahead and check it out!