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Best Daycare Flooring Ideas

What is important when considering daycare flooring options?

Anyone involved in caring for children - from preschool operators to daycare providers - knows how important it is to create a safe learning environment. All preschools, from the national chains like Kindercare and Bright Horizons, to ''Grandma Lois's Learning Center'' down the street, want the little ones in their care to be safe. Creating a kid-safe environment requires thought and planning surrounding everything from building location to snacks.

One of the more major safety considerations, however, is the choice of flooring. Flooring can either help create a protected and safe environment, or it can actually cause harm to kids. If you are in the process of outfitting a new or existing preschool or daycare with flooring, you will want to familiarize yourself with the attributes needed in a floor to make sure it is safe for small children. We'll also talk about other issues like comfort, cleanliness, and appearance.


Children fall down all of the time, it is just a part of growing up. Kids are likely to run around and roughhouse both indoors and out, which increases contact time with the ground. For the younger ones still getting comfortable with walking, spills are just an everyday occurrence.

You need to protect kiddos from injuries with safe, comfortable flooring that will cushion their falls. Concrete and hard tile are simply too hard and can end up causing bruises, bumps, abrasions and even broken bones if big spills are taken on them. Cushioning the floor with foam mats, rubber flooring, or carpet is the way to go.

For playgrounds and outside play areas, cushioning is equally as important. Make sure to choose an outdoor floor with a fall height rating compatible with the type of equipment and toys children will be playing with. Rubber playground mats and tiles are a popular, safe playground surface choice.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Kids are built in mess makers. Every daycare or preschool needs a floor that is easy to clean. Kids are going to spill drinks, knock over paint pots, drop food, make crumbs, draw off the paper, splatter fingerpaint, and the list goes on. Wherever food or arts and crafts are used, you want and need a floor that is easy to clean, doesn't hold water and can be regularly mopped.

Having a low maintenance floor is also vital for health and sanitation. Children have weaker immune systems and are more susceptible to getting sick. It is inevitable that some kind of ickiness will be brought into the classroom. You can minimize transmission of colds, pink eye, and other illnesses by maintaining a clean environment, including the floor.

According to the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Childcare and Early Education, ''Only smooth, nonporous surfaces should be permitted in areas that are likely to be contaminated by body fluids or in areas used for activities involving food.'' Tile, vinyl or linoleum is fine in the bathroom, but in areas where kids spend more time, rubber and foam flooring is the way to go.


In addition to keeping kids safe and healthy, you want to make sure they are comfortable. Children spend a lot of time playing on the floor - racing cars, building with blocks, setting up dolls, or just reading and coloring. Kiddos will be far happier if they can do so on a cushioned and inviting flooring surface. This is especially important for napping and quiet areas where kids are certain to make full body contact with the floor.


You want your kids stimulated and happy in an environment both they and the teachers find pleasant and comfortable. Colors are appealing to children, and can even stimulate brain development. Choosing colorful flooring will help create a vibrant and energizing environment for kids to learn in.

Too much noise, on the other hand, acts as an over-stimulate. Flooring can also help to provide sound insulation and minimize noise. Little voices can be loud voices, and toys dropped on a hard surface can rattle the eardrums as well. Keep the noise level at a minimum by choosing a floor with sound-dampening properties, like carpet, foam or rubber.

Best Daycare Flooring Ideas

Now that the general attributes are covered, let's talk specifics.

What are the best foam options?

Foam interlocking puzzle mats satisfy many of the criteria listed above. One popular option is 5/8 inch thick foam mats from specialty retailer Gymrubberfloor.com. 5/8 Premium Foam Floor Tiles come in fifteen brilliant colors that can be mix and matched into fun and creative patterns. These tiles also come with border strips for a finished edge. Used over concrete, wood, or hard tile, these mats create a safe, cheerful, warm environment. The EVA foam mats are lead-free, latex free, waterproof and stain resistant.

A thicker, 7/8 inch mat, Home Sport and Play Mats offer more cushion and durability and are available in three double-colored options.

How about rubber?

Though not as soft, rubber flooring, available in rolls or mats is another option. Rubber is resistant to stains and spills, extremely durable and easy to clean. However, rubber is not available in as many colors as foam, and one must shop carefully to avoid a product with a high odor.

What about PVC flooring?

Sometimes foam flooring is not durable enough to stand up to intense foot traffic or heavy furniture. On the other hand, rubber may be too rugged. PVC tiles are a nice compromise, which makes it one of the best daycare flooring ideas. Gym Rubber by Greatmats offers modular PVC tiles that offer cushion and limited fall height protection. They will not absorb moisture and are stain resistant. You can find PVC tiles for both indoor and outdoor preschool applications. The PVC is much sturdier than foam and can withstand heavier furniture without indenting. It also offers numerous color opportunities and has little to no odor.

Learn More

For more the best daycare flooring ideas, spend some time at trustworthy specialty flooring retailer like Gymrubberfloor.com. Take the opportunity to speak with a knowledgeable customer service representative to understand more about the types and costs of flooring appropriate for children's learning centers. Free samples can also help you understand the flooring material that will work best for you.
For more on this topic please review our Foam Floor Mats for Kids product page.