What is a Child Yoga Mat?

wiseGEEK Writer

Yoga practice can be fun and excellent for the body at any age, and there are now a number of kids who have become enthralled with yoga. The one trouble of practicing this discipline is that most mats made for adults may seem overwhelmingly large to kids. For this reason, a number of companies now manufacture child yoga mat types that come in smaller sizes with some kid friendly features.

Many companies make smaller yoga mats specifically for kids.
Many companies make smaller yoga mats specifically for kids.

The biggest difference between the child yoga mat and one made for adults is size. Some of the smallest mats suitable for toddlers and those in early grammar school are about four feet (1.22 m) long by about two feet (.61 m) wide. Longer and wider mats are made for older kids, and some are suitable for children that are in later grammar school grades and don’t exceed about 65 inches (1.65 m). Once a kid has reached this height, an adult size yoga mat is probably more suitable. Since many kids grow well past this height, it may be a better investment to buy an adult mat for kids who are likely to exceed height requirements on a child yoga mat quickly.

In addition to coming in smaller sizes, different types of child yoga mats may be attractive to kids because of other features. Some are printed with renderings of cartoon characters or with super bright color mixes. These may be best suited to those kids who need a little incentive to keep practicing yoga. Other mats are simpler and may simply come in bright or muted colors.

Choice of material in a child yoga mat can vary. Many are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is flexible and soft. However, there are concerns that exist about this material and especially about kid exposure to it. There are a number of environmental and consumer groups that assert PVC has a significant amount of carcinogens, and in general poses hazard to the environment and its human and animal inhabitants. Despite the fact that PVC is used in a number of products designed for children, many question its use, and want alternatives.

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Fortunately, when it comes to selecting a child yoga mat, alternative materials can be found, and parents may feel better about using them, though they’re like to pay more for non-PVC mats. One popular mat is made of thermoplastic elastomer, and sells for slightly over $50 US Dollars (USD), which is a much higher price than most PVC mats. Other alternatives include organic yoga mats, which made be made out of materials like 100% cotton. The one disadvantage to cotton mats is that they usually have little to no padding, and may not provide enough cushioning for floor work, especially when used on hard surfaces.

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