Once your little one is a few months old, they likely need more than a blanket on the ground to encourage them to get ample tummy time (about 20 to 30 minutes per day starting from birth). When the days of placing them on a blanket and expecting them to stay there starts getting dicey, it’s time to think about an activity gyms come. These brilliant creations allow baby to get in some quality floor time, while also giving them activities that keep them engaged and help their brains develop. They may not know what to do in there at first, but don’t worry—soon enough, they’ll be rolling around and playing with everything.
Each of these gyms comes with a cushy mat for your baby, plus plenty of entertaining activities. And since these toys tend to sit out in our living rooms for a while, we’re generally drawn to styles that are aesthetically pleasing (or at least not hideous!) for both parents and kids alike. (You’re welcome.) Here are a few of our favorites.
Skip Hop Camping Cubs Activity Gym and Playmat
Teach your kid the joys of camping at a very young age with this absolutely adorable tent ($83.99 on Amazon). It is not only beautifully designed, with trees and creatures everywhere your baby turns, but it also has more than 17 developmental activities built right in. It features various textures for baby to explore, a plush teddy bear for snuggling, a light-up firefly, a turtle mirror, a bear rattle and a musical raccoon/wooden teether. Sounds like a good time to us!
Bright Starts Zippy Zoo Activity Gym
This mat ($24.88 on Amazon) lets your baby (err, you) imagine they’re on a mini safari. It is great for tummy time and overhead play, with hanging plush toys, rattles and a baby-safe mirror. The giraffe plays four different songs, too.
Carter’s Shoot for The Moon Baby Activity Gym
Go ahead and give your baby the moon and the stars. This planetary play mat ($59.99 on Amazon) has five hanging astronaut toys, including a rattle and a chiming monkey, features various textures for baby to discover and even comes with a shooting star… pillow.
Baby Einstein 5-in-1 Journey of Discovery Activity Gym
There’s a great big world out there, baby. This amazing mat ($49.49 on Amazon) features a giant map that folds out to 47 inches, plays global-themed music, plus provides rattles, plush toys and a soft mirror for baby to play with. It encourages motor skills, hand-eye coordination and, of course, helps your little one get in that much-coveted tummy time.
Fisher-Price Safari Dreams Music & Lights Gym
Lights, camera, action! This pretty, plush mat ($66.66 on Amazon) is like a trip to the zoo light show. It has eight hook-up toys, including an elephant mirror, butterfly teether, bird clacker, tiger rattle and ladybug rattle, plus a super cool canopy with baby-activated lights. It also provides optional music and soothing vibrations when needed. Nap time for two?
Freelance writer/editor and contributor at MamasUncut. West Coast-based, East Coast-raised. Doubled down on the parenting gig last year, with two kids under the age of 3—plus a 2-year-old black shepherd/lab mix who thinks they’re actually his babies. A good day: run, bake, eat, repeat.
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