If you have only $50 or $60 to spend on infant entertainment and stimulation, this is where I would spend it. Newborns and infants seem to derive a lot of pleasure looking at these toys endlessly and try to hit them with their hands and feet. No doubt the bright colors and interesting toys encourage them to move their hands and feet and get their exercise – hence they are called gyms – also known as playmats but I prefer to use the word gyms.
Between the bouncy seat and the gym, you should be able to get a little bit of hands-free time. Once you remove all the toys and use just the mat it can be used to give your baby some very important “tummy time.”
Here are my favorites
- Fisher Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym – This is the best seller in this category and is a very good buy at $48.Some features
- Two modes of play: Lay & play or Tummy time
- Responds to baby’s movement with music, sounds & colorful, dancing lights
- Plays up to 20 minutes of lively music or rainforest sounds
- 10 activities & linkable toys for lay & play or tummy time
- Satiny butterflies spin at baby’s touch, activating lights, music or sounds
I also like the Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym which is cheaper at $34 but not quite as rich in features as the one I have shown.
2. Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym – really cute one with thicker cushion but more expensive since it is an upscale model. Cotton-poly fabric makes wiping down more difficult. It is definitely more classy than any of the others. Here is another great looking one.
3. Tiny Love Lights and Music Gymini Activity Gym, Super Deluxe Lights and Music – Not very hideous looking like many of the others. Very lightweight for storage and transport and can be easily wiped down. Toys can be adjusted in their proximity to the baby.
As the baby begins to crawl, you might find that the concrete or wooden floors are too hard on her knees and during falls. If you have a carpet it is generally ok but even a carpet is sometimes too rough on the baby’s skin. I purchased a couple of play mats to cover an extended area so that they could crawl and lie on a soft eco-friendly mat.
There are several options but this one was a no brainer for me – just look at the reviews. Having used it myself I know why parents are raving about it. It is tested according to European standards and I can say it really is the best.
- Baby Care Play Mat – Pingko Friends
- Perfect for reducing noise and impact, and a great insulator on all floor surfaces
- The cushioned surface ensures a soft landing for rolling, tumbling, and falls
I also liked these to cover areas which were too narrow for the larger mat.
The best organic option is as follows