Activity gyms, or playmats, are great to have around from pretty early on. Even before babies can play with the activity gyms, I had it out to lay him on when I had to put him down to do something (like use the bathroom!). Since we moved around a lot during Charlie’s first 6 months (6 houses in 6 months!), I actually had the opportunity to try a bunch of playmats. Here are my favorites:
- Lovevery Play Gym – This Play Gym was designed by child development experts and is definitely a favorite for most NYC moms. The colors are pleasant to look at in your home, which definitely counts for something, considering this could be in your house for a while. It is designed to engage your baby through his first year. The black and white card holders are a really nice touch – I always thought it was funny how obsessed babies are with black and white cards. There is a cowbell, but one thing it is missing is a musical element.
- Baby Einstein 5-in-1 World of Discovery Learning Gym – This option isn’t as pretty as the Lovevery Play Gym, but your baby will love it. There are great hanging toys, interesting things to look at during tummy time, 20 minutes of different music, and when your baby is ready, it can become a ball pit. This is a really great option.
- Bright Starts Hug-n-Cuddle Activity Gym – This is a nice option under $40. It is soft, great for tummy time, has over 20 minutes of sounds and music, and has lots of soft toys for the baby to play with. Charlie always seemed to like this mat, even though it is not as large as the other ones.
- Fischer-Price Deluxe Kick and Play Piano Gym – This is a great pick under $40 and also if you are short on space. It is small and can be folded up and taken apart easily, making it great for travel. It has different features for different stages of development and babies seem to really love it.