Right from birth, babies will try to move their hands, heads, mouths, and legs. These movements are usually quick and jerky and may seem odd when compared to the smoother movements of older children and adults. Nonetheless, these are the small attempts of a baby to move and interact with the world around them. It is, therefore, critical to encourage these movements, and one of the best ways to do that is to get the best baby gym for development.
From around the age of three months, babies can reach out for dangling items, grab them, and explore them with their fingers and mouths. A play gym or baby play mat is one of the best ways to encourage your baby to play with their hands and arms. This will facilitate their physical development from gross motor skills to fine motor skills. A baby play mat can also help in assessing a child’s physical development to ensure they are on track
Best Baby Gym For Development
1. Best Overall Developmental Playmat
- Easy to assemble and disassemble
- Easy to wash
- Safe and sustainable materials
- Five Montessori-inspired developmental zones
- Suitable from birth
Play is a critical part of a child’s development, right from birth. Knowing this, child development experts designed the best developmental playmat: The Play Gym by Lovevery. The research-based design of this baby play mat grows with your child right from infancy to their first year. It comes with a guide to help you choose age-appropriate activities to develop your child’s cognitive and motor skills.
Overstimulation can be a challenge when it comes to playmats. The Play Gym by Lovevery has five Montessori-inspired zones that can be revealed or concealed to help your child focus and learn as they explore. The gym also has removable accessories that can be used appropriately to promote cognitive and motor development. This way, your child can truly learn and play without being overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of the play mat.
The Play Gym is easy to put up and take down, requiring no tools. It has sustainably sourced wooden legs, a batting ring, and an organic cotton ball and teether. It also has a water-based finish, making it a safe and sustainable option. The playmat, ball, and teether can be easily washed in a machine. The Play Gym also comes with three adjustable clips to which 14 unique learning cards can be attached using three different angles to engage the baby and prevent the occurrence of flat spots on the baby’s head.
2. Best Baby Gym for Newborns
- Ultra-plush reversible duvet play mat
- Collapsible toy bars for self-storage
- Six removable toys
- Machine washable
Newborns are quite delicate, and so when we lay them down, they must be on the softest possible surface to keep them comfortable. This is exactly what you get with the Ingenuity Cozy Spot Reversible Duvet Activity Gym and Play Mat. Their duvet is so plush that your infant will feel like they are lying on a cloud. This way, you can safely put down your baby even on the hardest floor without any extra padding.
This baby gym & playmat comes with six removable toys, including a rattle, wooden ring, and tummy time pillow. All these toys are made in gender-neutral designs that make this baby gym a perfect gift for boys and girls. They are also made from natural materials that are safe for your baby. The neutral colors and natural materials also ensure that this baby playmat blends seamlessly with your home decor.
The reversible duvet play mat can be washed in a machine for easy cleaning. The removable toys and collapsible SlimFold toy bar allow for easy assembly and disassembly. The mat can be folded in half, transforming it into a self-storage bag. And, it comes with handles so you can easily carry it to a different room or during a trip. Soft, safe, portable, and easy to clean, the Ingenuity Cozy Spot Reversible Duvet Activity Gym and Play Mat is the perfect choice for your newborn.
3. Best Baby Gym & Play Mat for Multiples (Twins)
- Infant to toddler use
- Multiple modes of play
- Machine washable jumbo mat
- Easy to clean detachable toys
- Mesh canopy with window holes and 40 balls
If you are looking for a baby gym & playmat to grow with your twins and provide endless developmental fun from infancy to toddler years, then this Bright Starts 5-in-1 Your Way Ball Play Activity Gym & Ball Pit is your best option. With a variety of colors and design options, you can pick what will suit your children and family. The machine-washable jumbo playmat measures 48”x48”, large enough for you and your twins to play on for fun family time.
This 5-in-1 activity gym offers multiple ways for you and your twins to have fun. You can either keep the jumbo mat flat or fold up the sides to create a ball pit. You could set up the toy canopy or remove it to allow sitting or crawling playtime. The canopy has a meshed section with window holes where your children can practice their motor skills by passing the balls through the holes.
The gym comes with seven detachable toys that your children can take along for on-the-go fun. These include a crinkle toy, mirror, flashcards, bead rattle, hanging leaf toy, and an elephant musical toy. The elephant musical toy lights up and plays about 20 minutes of music. With all these features, any set of twins would have a ball playing with this play mat.
4. Best Baby Play Mat for Travel
- Extra-large size
- Plush padding
- Fun and engaging features
- Machine washable
For a family on the go, there is no better baby play mat for travel than the Tiny Love Super Play Mat. This extra-large play mat is big enough to fit both baby and parent. It is made of comfortable thick padding that will keep both parent and baby comfortable in the park or on the beach. The mat also folds easily into a compact size, perfectly portable for trips and outdoor events.
This colorful play mat features a variety of fun and engaging developmental activities. It has a removable and adjustable stand-alone padded mirror to aid with cognitive skills and emotional intelligence while enhancing tummy time. It also has a variety of stimuli that facilitate gross and fine motor skills. These include features like a crinkly foxtail, shiny satin ribbon, and peek-a-boo tree. A carrot teether is also attached to the mat to soothe your baby’s itchy gums.
The Tiny Love Super Play Mat can be easily washed in a machine along with all the toys. Be sure to remove the detachable mirror first. All the toys are safe for your baby as they are BPA-free. In fact, the entire mat is certified to have met federal standards for safety. So whether you are going out for a picnic or traveling to visit relatives, this baby play mat is the perfect travel partner for your baby.
5.Best Musical Baby Gym
- Smart stages technology
- Multiple modes of play
- Five activity toys
- Adjustable toy bar
- Machine washable playmat
When it comes to musical baby gyms, few compare to the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick and Play Piano Gym and Maracas. This baby gym comes with a thick and soft playmat that can be washed in a machine. The mat also has loops to which toys can be attached for enhanced lay and play or tummy time sessions. Further, the toy arch that goes over the mat can be repositioned to facilitate effective play even as your child grows. In fact, you can attach five activity toys to it which comes in handy when the baby gets older.
One of the main features of this baby gym is the removable keyboard with five keys that light up. Your child can either step on the keys as they lay on their back or press on them with their hands when they learn to sit up. Eventually, they will likely carry the keyboard with them around the house when they finally learn to walk. In fact, the entire baby gym is designed to facilitate multiple modes of play right from infancy to when your child is a toddler, i.e., from lay & play to ‘take-along’ play.
The gym’s Smart Stages technology provides three levels of fun for your child, depending on their age. This ranges from music, lights, and sound for babies to playful songs and phrases that introduce your toddler to colors, numbers, and shapes. So this gym not only aids in the development of sensory, cognitive, and motor skills but also offers an introduction to early academics and music. An unbeatable purchase for your precious little one.
6. Best Baby Gym & Play Mat for Minimalists
- Stable, foldable frame
- Thick, easy to wash playmat
- Safe and sustainable materials
- Comes in multiple colours
With a baby gym like the Avrsol Infant Activity Gym, you need not worry that your new baby will make it difficult for you to maintain your clutter-free, minimalist lifestyle. It is the perfect minimalist baby gym & playmat featuring just three dangling toys, including a Montessori bell and beads. These toys and beads come in multiple colors and are perfect for helping your baby develop gross motor skills as they try to grab, touch, or hit the toys.
This wooden baby gym is made from pinewood and is covered in non-toxic paints. The rings and beads of the three wooden dangling toys are made from 100% organic beech wood. Further, the teethers are guaranteed 100% BPA-free, food-grade silicone. This makes this baby gym safe for your munchkin as well as sustainable for the environment.
The playmat is thick and soft, with a surrounding cushion that is 3 inches high. The frame is connected to the mat through a hole, further ensuring stability. The frame is also foldable and lightweight, making it portable and easy to store. Finally, you can conveniently wash the mat using your washing machine.
7. Best Budget Baby Play Mat
- High contrast patterns
- Light-weight and portable
- High-quality materials
- Variety of functions
- Multiple usages
When you are rather strapped for cash, but you still want to get a quality play mat, you should definitely get the teytoy Tummy Time Activity Mat. This double-sided activity mat comes in four pieces that can either be used separately or be bundled together to form an extra-large play mat. The mat is made of high-quality cotton fabric that is hypoallergenic and non-toxic. It is easily washable in a machine making it an excellent choice for messy toddlers.
Each individual piece of this mat has a variety of fun developmental play activities. These include a hidden mirror, multiple BPA-free teething aids, squeaker, and hidden crinkle paper that can catch the attention of your baby. The mat’s double-sided design means that one side of the mat is black and white with high contrast colors, while the other side has bright colors, both of which are eye-catching for your baby.
The mat offers eight themes, including animals, sea world, food, fruits, vegetables, shapes, alphabet, and vehicles. These will act as teaching aids as your child grows up. The attractive design and colors will remain interesting to the child from infancy to toddlers years where they will likely carry the mat, or some features, around the house.
What to Check While buying the Best Baby Gym for Development
A baby gym is one of the major purchases for your baby especially if they are not ready for a baby walker yet. Your child will likely spend quite a lot of time on their play mat and will ideally learn a lot by playing in their little gym. What exactly they learn and how well they learn will partially be determined by the design of the baby gym and play mat. Here are some factors you could look into when choosing your baby’s gym.
1. Removable/Adjustable Activity Toys
Right from infancy, children will be attracted to the various toys in their baby gym. When purchasing a baby gym or a baby play mat, check to see whether these toys are removable to adjustable. The idea here is to ensure that the baby is not fixated in just one position due to a specific toy. The toy should be adjustable to allow the baby to turn their attention in a different direction.
This is especially problematic for infants who can not yet independently turn their heads or rollover. If they are attracted to a specific toy and therefore remain fixated in a particular position, it could result in the baby developing flat head syndrome. This is a condition where a flat spot occurs on the back or on either side of the baby’s head.
2. Detachable and washable play mat
This is obvious to any parent, but it is worth mentioning. Babies are messy and get messier as they get older. Because they spend so much of their time on the play mat, it is bound to get dirty from all manner of spills and ‘accidents’. As such, it is important that the mat be detachable from the baby gym and that it be washable.
Machine washable play mats are preferable due to the ease of cleaning and drying, but if you prefer to hand wash, that is also fine. Just remember to use gentle detergents. The mat should also be relatively easy to dry, so make sure to choose natural materials that dry well to avoid harboring bacteria and mold growth. Natural materials are also often hypoallergenic, which is great for a baby’s sensitive skin.
Best Baby Gym For Development FAQ
1. Does my child really need a baby gym?
Your child may not need a baby gym, but you certainly will. While you may enjoy holding your babies, you are also busy with other things like washing and cleaning. Besides, you only have two hands. Luckily, a baby gym is like an extra pair of hands for a parent or guardian that keeps the child safe and engaged while you get some other work done.
2. How will a baby gym help my child’s development?
Baby gyms are great developmental aids for your child. They are often designed to include a variety of activity toys that aid in the development of sensory, cognitive, and motor skills. If the parent or guardian gets down to play with the baby, the gym can aid in developing communication and language skills, as well as emotional intelligence. They are also an asset in aiding your child’s physical and mental development.
3. When will my baby need a baby gym?
As soon as they are born. There are baby gyms and playmats designed for newborns that can grow with your child. However, you will notice your baby is more interested in their play gym from about three months of age as that is when their hand-eye coordination is developing. This development makes it easy for them to grab at the activity toys and enjoy the gym.
4. Why are light-up mobiles bad for a baby gym?
Light-up mobiles are fixed in one position, usually right above where the baby’s head would be. While they stimulate the baby’s visual senses, they keep the baby fixated on one position. This could cause a flat spot to develop on the back of your baby’s head. As such, adjustable toys are recommended rather than fixed light-up mobiles.