5 Of The Coolest Play Gyms For Your Active Infant
Here’s the thing about a new baby – no matter if it’s your first, second, or sixth – it can be hard not to shop for him or her!
When I first found out that I was pregnant with my second son, I naively thought of all the money I’d save on baby stuff. Then I went online and poked around what new toys were out there. Big mistake. Even in the three years since I had my first baby, there have been so many cool updates and upgrades to baby gear, especially play gyms!
The first question people often ask is – what is a play gym? It’s the same thing as a play mat or an activity mat or gym. It’s a designated activity center and overall nifty sensory experience for your infant – usually designed for little ones from birth or three months to up to a year. They’re convenient when you need to put your baby down but you want to keep them occupied with something developmentally appropriate.
Do you have to have a play gym? No, of course not, but are they pretty handy and often designed with different colors, visuals, and textures for your little one to enjoy. It’s also a fun place for that all-important tummy time.
Below is a list of several of the most innovative, stylish and just plain entertaining play mats available today (in a range of prices, of course!).
Fisher-Price Rainforest Music & Lights Deluxe Gym (image)
I have seen the Fisher-Price Rainforest play gym all over the place the past few years and the newest version won’t disappoint. This one is popular for several reasons. First, it’s bright and colorful, which makes it visually stimulating for babies.
It has more than 10 toys and activities, including hanging animals at different levels so all arms can reach and touch. Your baby will not get bored with all of the activities on this mat. And the music and nature sound react to the baby’s movement so they’re constantly learning.
One of the nicest things for parents is that the mat part is easily detachable from the arches and machine washable and dryer-friendly (because spit up happens!). Unlike some other play gyms, the plastic tubing that creates the archway over this mat is lightweight and folds easily for storage or travel.
Infantino Grow-With-Me Activity Gym & Ball Pit
No matter how hard you try, babies and their toys can get take over your living room in an instant. Instead of putting a baby gate around your play gym to keep your baby and his or her toys contained, this Infantino play gym takes care of it for you with its pop up mesh lining and ball pit feature! And if you’re worried about little plastic ball pit balls everywhere, there is a nifty storage area in the shape of a turtle head on the play gym.
One thing I love about the Infantino Grow-With-Me is that it has a really nice mix of black and white contrast as well as more colorful features, which makes it work for all ages. The bottom portion (the mat part) has a lot going on so tummy time won’t be a bore but there are plenty of dangling toys for when babies end up on their backs.
The last thing I will say about it is that it’s affordable and that’s not something to be left out – $60 is worth it for the time your baby will spend playing in it!
The Baby Play Gym by Lovevery
Full disclosure, I totally have this play gym. That being said, I also see it on top lists for 2018 baby gear so I know I’m not the only one who has high marks for it. Not only is it super ‘gram worthy, but it’s also made with baby-safe materials like sustainably sourced wood, organic cotton, and the plastic and silicone components are free of BPA and phthalates.
What I like the most about the play gym is that it has grown with my son. The washable mat has sections that can be unfolded or folded to bring out different sensory experiences and there is another section of the mat that has little cards you can change in and out depending on what your infant is learning.
You won’t have to guess what you should be using with your child at each stage of his or her development because there is a lovely “play guide” that is full of a year’s worth of ideas of how to use your play gym based on your child’s age.
Yes, it’s priced slightly higher than the others on this list, it is one that will grow with your child through his or her entire first year. It’s made with safe, high-quality and durable materials so it’s not going anywhere (and future babies will get a lot of enjoyment out of it as well!).
Fisher-Price Kick & Play Piano Gym
The Kick & Play Piano Gym is all about the music (naturally). There is fun in every direction with this play gym. When your baby is laying on his or her back they can stretch their little legs out and kick the piano. Don’t worry – you can adjust the length of time the music plays (for those of us who can only handle a shorter baby concert!). There are also toys overhead as well as a fun mat below for tummy time just like more traditional play gyms.
What’s great about this play gym is that it’s super easy to take with you. The piano is removable and the whole thing folds up so it’s ideal for family trips when you know you’ll need a place to keep your baby active and happy for a little while! And what grandparents don’t love a little concert from their grandbaby?
Yookidoo Gymotion Robo Playland Play Gym
I couldn’t leave this futuristic activity gym off the list. It’s the only one I’ve ever seen that has a “Magic Motion Track” that basically lets the little robot figures ride back and forth across the floor of the play mat or overhead on the padded arches. This is an amazing way to help your baby learn to track objects as they develop!
The colors are bright and contrasting and it has more than 20 activities for your infant to do, including options for music and a large mirror so your babe can chat with that cute face he or she seems smiling back!
The inventors of this pay mat must be parents because they know you want things to be as easy as possible to travel with. The whole play gym folds up into a self-contained carrying case. The Robo Playland gym is designed to be used in three stages that cover your baby’s first year of life. So your baby will never get bored as you introduce new features and accessories with each developmental stage!