Best Baby Activity Gyms
Activity gym, play mat, learning blanket, play gym, activity floor mat, call them whatever you want, they serve the same purpose. The activity gym is where your curious kid can explore and have fun while you tackle your daily chores in peace.
If you’re having a baby, you might already have a baby items shopping list and the play gym needs to be on it. Baby activity gyms usually are soft cushioned play areas for the infants where they’re safe from the otherwise unsafe home furniture.
Do You Need an Activity Gym?
Activity mats have exploded onto the scene only recently and you might be wondering if you really need them. Babies who don’t get an activity mat while growing up do just as well as the kids who have one. Or, at least there still isn’t any study to prove the factual benefits of the play mat.
To move is one of the biggest development needs the little monsters have from the moment they exit the womb. The activity gyms are the perfect place for the babies to free their arms and legs. Some of these activity gyms even incentivize the babies to move around.
A baby learns and grows through various sensory inputs like touch, sight, and sound. If you get the right activity mat, it can help your baby develop these sensory inputs. Infant positioners, pillows, and chairs are substitutes to the baby activity gyms but aren’t as effective.
The baby activity mat substitutes can limit and restrict the movement of your baby which can, in turn, limit the sensory inputs he gets. Your baby might not have the freedom to fully move his shoulders, arms, hips, knees, and neck which can curb his growth.
The activity gyms promote your baby to move around by using bright colors, sounds, and lots of stuff to teethe, grab and hold. The play mats also promote ‘tummy time’ which can help your little devil in getting stronger in her neck, shoulders, arms, and legs.
The cool toys and other stuff which come with the activity floor mats can help your kid to develop hand-eye coordination. The activity mats come with stuffed toys which your kid will want to grab and play with, getting stronger in the process.
What to Look for in an Activity Gyms for Babies
Find a Simple Gym
The marketers and designers are getting good with time. Most of the activity gyms are super cute and are designed keeping the parents in mind and not the kids. Babies don’t understand aesthetics and material design elements.
While shopping for a play mat, your priority should be the functionality of the gym and how it can help your baby move and develop her tiny muscles. Don’t give into the temptation of buying a fancy complex learning blanket because it can overwhelm your baby.
Get an Adjustable Activity Gym
Unlike the grown-ups, the toddlers will continue to grow. You want to buy a future proof activity mat which has adjustable toy hangers. These adjustable activity gyms will make your kid move around to get her hands on the toys even as she grows.
With a fixed activity mat, the motor skill development of your kid will be limited as she grows bigger because she won’t have to move as much. If your baby has a favorite toy, you can change its position every day and make her put in extra effort to get it.
Comfort and Size
The activity gym should be comfortable since your baby will be spending a lot of his time in it. Most of the activity mats on the market are cushioned and make sure your baby doesn’t feel the hard floor.
Before getting a baby activity gym, you also need to check where you will put it. Activity gyms come in different shapes and sizes and if you like to have your baby around you, you might need to get an activity mat which can fit in any place in your home.
Babies don’t care about personal hygiene. The cute creatures will spill and litter and you can’t blame them for it. You should buy a learning blanket which is easy to clean because you’ll end up cleaning it more often than you would like.
You should be able to put the activity mat in a washer for a deep clean. Many activity gyms come with fixed accessories. Activity mats like these aren’t the best when it comes to maintaining the cleanliness.
Material and Portability
The activity mats should be made of skin-friendly fabric and all the toys and accessories should be made from baby-friendly materials. Cheap activity gyms can save you some money but they might contain harmful substances which can be hazardous given the teething habits of babies.
If you’re someone who moves around a lot, you might want to get a portable activity mat which you could take with you while you’re on the move. Portable baby activity gyms will also give you the liberty to move the mat around in your house.
Best Baby Activity Gyms
|Product||Price||Photo||Features||Our Ratings||Editor Comments|
|Fisher-Price Music and Lights Deluxe Gym||$$||Movement enabled sound and music, Comes with three modes for playing, Machine-wash friendly, Detachable toys||Your baby will never get bored of this musical activity gym|
|Bright Starts Sunny Safari Baby's Play Place||$$$||5-in-1 convertible design, Teethe-able toys and prop pillow, Big enough for the baby and her mom||Get this activity gym if your baby is an aggressive mover or if you have pets at home|
|Skip Hop Baby Treetop Friends Activity Gym||$$$||Soft linen and patterned arches, Supportive tummy pillow, Inbuilt 17 developmental activities, 5 toys which can be attached to the 13 loops||Comes with 17 developmental activities which will kick start your baby's growth|
|Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym||$$||Includes tummy time bolster, a peek ‘n’ see mirror, brightly colored play mat and four plush play toys, Foldable arches make it portable||The best portable activity gym on the market|
|Fisher-Price Kick & Play Piano Gym||$||Four ways to play, Vertical piano can turn horizontal, Detachable piano with volume controller||The best budget-friendly activity gym which will keep your baby hooked|
The Fisher-Price Music and Lights Deluxe Gym are one of the most equipped baby activity gyms you can find. This activity mat has a host of features like lights, sound, and music which go off when your baby kicks or moves.
The Fisher-Price gym comes with detachable toys which your baby can take with her while you’re on the go or during her bedtime lullabies. This activity mat has three modes: lay & play, tummy time and take-along. This mat is machine-wash friendly and folds for easy storage.
- Bright Colorful mat
- Has 3 Modes: lay & play, tummy time and take-along
- Machine-wash friendly
- Requires AA batteries (not included)
- The toys could be a little bulky for smaller children
Bright Starts Sunny Safari Baby’s Play Place is one of the very few convertible baby activity gyms on the market. This learning blanket has a 5-in-1 design which allows you to convert the activity gym into an enclosed playing area for your kid.
The Bright stars play place also comes with sweet toys and characters on the toy bar which your baby can teethe and grasp. This activity gym also includes a prop pillow to keep babies comfortable during tummy time.
This 47″ baby activity gym is big enough for the baby and her mom to play on. The Play Place comes with detachable toys which can be easily attached to most carries and cribs. This activity gym includes six links for attaching more toys.
- 5-in-1 design
- Includes chewable toys which your baby can teethe
- Electronic bird marquee which attaches to most carriers and cribs
- The Play Place is not a portable activity mat because of its size
- Requires AA batteries (not included)
The Baby Treetop is an adorable activity gym by Skip Hop. It features soft linen and patterned arches and includes a matching supportive tummy time pillow. This activity mat has 17 developmental activities which help in building the sensory inputs of your baby at every stage of development.
The Treetop activity gym comes with five treetop friends which can easily be attached to the 13 easy-to-hang loops. This is a colorful activity gym which will keep your baby engaged and curious for the time she is on the activity mat.
- 17 developmental activities
- 5 playful multi-sensory hanging toys
- Expensive for the basic features it provides
- The arches hang too low
The Infantino Twist and Fold activity gym are loaded with great features including a tummy time bolster, a mirror, brightly colored play mat and four plush play toys. The arches of this learning mat are easy to fold thanks to the twist & fold technology.
The twist and fold activity gym come with a rattling giraffe, click-clack elephant, a jingling lion, and a teether monkey which is enough to keep your baby busy for hours. The foldable arches make this activity gym portable and you could carry it along with you for big adventures or for turning little spaces into big fun.
- Comes with four engaging plush toys
- Easy to fold arches makes this activity gym portable
- Machine-wash friendly
- Small in size
- Cheap materials used in the exercise mat
The Fisher-Price kick & play piano gym has four ways to play. The piano gym grows with your little monster. The four play modes include laying and playing, tummy time, sitting up, and busy activities. The vertical piano turns horizontal so your baby can play it while laying and playing or sitting.
The single removable overhead arch includes a hippo teether, elephant clackers and, rollerball frog toys which encourage batting and grasping. The piano is detachable and you could take it with you while you’re on the move. What more? You can control the volume of the piano for quieter play.
- Four-in-one modes
- Detachable piano which can also be used while laying and playing and sitting
- Includes teether toys, a mirror, and a removable overhead arch
- Small in size
A baby activity gym is indispensable when it comes to the growth of the sensory inputs, development of muscles like the neck, shoulders, arms, and legs. While there are hundreds of baby activity gyms present on the market, the ones on this list will jump-start the growth in your baby.