Activity Mats or play gyms are one of baby's first toys in the world of play. Activity gyms provide developmentally appropriate experiences for baby. They promote problem solving, tracking, looking & grabbing, are a good source of entertainment as well as stimulation, (tactile, auditory, and sensory) and are a great way for baby to hone in on those early skills. Activity Gyms are a convenient piece of baby equipment because they can be moved easily and often travel well too. Here are my top picks for activity gyms for baby:
1. Skip Hop Treetop Activity Toy Gym: This soft, plush oval mat is not too busy but still provides plenty of exploring opportunities for your little one. I liked the variety of fabrics and activities on the Skip Hop Treetop Activity Toy Gym mat, making it a good choice for tummy time. Plus it comes with its own pillow to used as a boost for those early days of tummy time. I love the built-in mirror which makes it accessible to baby as well as the soothing colors, graphics and nature inspired theme. It is quick and easy to set up, is machine washable and offers 17 developmental activities. There are many ways to hang the five multi-sensory toys to match baby's needs. The toys are larger than other ones I have seen and they are perfect for doubling as stroller toys.
2. Kushies Zolo Shangrila/Portico Activity Mat: Simple in design but featuring plenty of textures for tactile stimulation as well as developmentally appropriate patterns, and colors to interest even the youngest of babes. I love that the Zolo Shangrila Activity Mat is reversible, one side a bevy of colors, they other a high contrast display of black and white graphics. The orange" shag is super comfy, and provides baby with a smooth surface to play, rub and grasp. It is machine washable, easy to set up and adding additional toys or substitutions is simple. I love that the bottoms of the arches are covered with plush balls baby's foot can push off and not get entangled. I would have liked the toys to be a bit larger and more varied but that is just my preference.
3. Lamaze Sit Up and See Activity Gym: This innovative activity gym has become a household favorite. The Lamaze Sit Up and See Activity Gym allows baby to play either with a supportive tummy time pillow, on her back with an adjustable (love this feature!) arch overhead or supported in a sitting position. Baby girl liked the seated position for the change of scenery but baby needs to have good head and neck control before using the mat in this mode. I love that I can place the movable activity bar close or near to hr in any given position, and she loves to smile at the baby in the center attached mirror. It does come with a musical box but we found it too loud for our liking and felt the activity mat provided plenty of fun and excitement without it.
4. Tiny Love, Gymini Developlace Play Mat: If you are looking for an activity mat that grows with your baby, you will love the Tiny Love, Gymini Developlace Play Mat. Although I would have liked a thicker mat, (a blanket underneath makes it perfect for placing on our hardwood floors) the activity mat has bright colors, toys that can be moved to "just right" positions and plenty of crinkles to delight baby and make her squeal. The Developlace can be used for tummy time, activity time on her back that encourages baby to pull, grab, and kick, or with the peek-a-boo window that fosters interactive play between you and baby. When baby is old enough to sit up and play, she'll get hours of entertainment from the plush toys, mirror and fun prints. I love that I can throw it in the wash (line dry) and that the overhead arches are stabilized and out of baby's way.
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