Best Baby Gym | Baby Journey

Top 11 Best Baby Gyms for 2021: Picky Mom Guide

I got an infant activity gym for my baby shower, and my daughter also inherited one from my friend’s kids. There was a huge difference in my baby’s interest in playing on the mats- She didn’t want to spend over five minutes on the first but for the second gym, she absolutely loved it! 

The first one had so many toys, but the second one made sounds. However, it doesn’t always mean your baby will prefer music over toys like mine did.

Are you looking for the best baby gym for your kid? Keep reading my list for recommendations and buying tips from a picky mom!

My top pick is Lovevery play gym, but you can read on to see what the alternatives are and why having a baby gym is important!

Should I Get a Play Gym for My Baby?

Infants’ play gyms are popular for a reason, as they promote development. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that activity is important from an early age for a healthy and happy baby. [1] The AAP also advises against the use of TV for entertaining infants, but what to do when you need to make a meal for the baby or complete an important task? 

Play mats for babies can give a much-needed break and induce curiosity in your baby. Baby gyms on the other hand, help babies develop different motor skills from the earliest age and are a great way to keep them entertained. 

Bright colors and toys of different textures hanging from the arches encourage the baby to practice grip. Source: Hape.com

Benefits of A Baby Gym 

Gyms for babies have many benefits, but here are the essential ones. 

Building Strength. When your baby is on the back, he or she will try to reach hanging toys, roll and crawl or move around to grab desired things. The movements work as a baby workout and help your kid build strength.

Improving Coordination. At an early age, babies aren’t aware of space and distance. If your baby spends time on the play mat, it can help your kid develop eye-hand coordination.

Developing Visual Skills. Your little angel will slowly improve visual tracking skills as he or she observes the hanging objects from the mat. 

Improving Curiosity. The best baby play gyms have specially designed toys, sensory areas, and sound-making toys to promote curiosity and make infants explore the world around them.

The ideal place to put the mat is the floor, away from the furniture. If you put it on the sofa, you risk the baby rolling over and getting injured. Source: Evoke.ie

When Should You Introduce a Play Gym?

Baby activity mats are safe for use when you notice that your baby can lay comfortably on the back without swaddling. However, don’t expect your kid to be thrilled with the mat from the first moment, give your baby time to interact with toys and textures slowly. 

Once you can introduce tummy time, usually at three months, you can expect the baby to respond to the mat. A few sessions with several minutes a day are an excellent way to start. 

How to Choose The Right Baby Gym?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the best activity gym.

Comfort

The mat needs to be padded enough to provide the necessary comfort and warmth for the baby while laying on the back or tummy.

Size/Foldability

If you live in a small apartment, get a compact mat and ensure distance from furniture so the baby can safely explore the surroundings once he or she starts to crawl.

Customizable Toy Selection and Colors

Check what kind of hanging toys are included and if there is a way to switch toys or remove them for cleaning. Mats in bright colors might be more interesting to the baby.

You can make or put whatever toys you want in the baby gym, as long as the toys are soft, don’t have tiny parts and are easy to clean. Source: Pinterest.com

Sensory Areas

Modern activity mats include sensory areas of different textures that can play sounds or flap. They are a great sensory stimulation.

Simple Maintenance

Because babies are messy, choose a mat that is quick and easy to wash and remove milk spits and dirt. 

Best Baby Gyms- In-Depth Reviews

Here is everything you need to know about the best play gyms! I included options for every budget and wood/plastic/sound preferences! I’ve also made a summary of my 5 top picks for you!

Best Overall
The Play Gym by Lovevery
Best Budget
Bright Starts Zig Zag Safari
Best Learning
Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym & Maracas
Best Value
Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin' Tunes
Best Neutral
Ingenuity Cozy Spot Reversible Duvet Activity Gym
10 Best Newborn Pack and Play & Playard for your Baby 2021 | Baby Journey
10 Best Newborn Pack and Play & Playard for your Baby 2021 | Baby Journey
Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym & Maracas
Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin' Tunes Music and Language Play Gym and Piano Tummy Time Activity Mat
10 Best Newborn Pack and Play & Playard for your Baby 2021 | Baby Journey
Material
Organic cotton/wood
Cotton/plastic
Plastic
Fabric/plastic
Organic cotton/wood
Removable toys
Included toys
  • Teether
  • cotton ball
  • batting ring
  • cars
  • mirror
  • Zebra chime
  • Baby-safe mirror
  • Ring rattle & Leaf shaped toy
  • Piano
  • maracas
  • plastic animals
  • Piano
  • pillow
  • plastic toys
  • Teether
  • mirror
  • stuffed animals
  • pillow
Machine washable mat
Artwork on the mat
Neutral pattern on the central part, colorful ends
Animals and patterns
Animals and notes
Animals and shapes
No artwork, solid color
Sound making
Best Overall
The Play Gym by Lovevery
10 Best Newborn Pack and Play & Playard for your Baby 2021 | Baby Journey
Material
Organic cotton/wood
Removable toys
Included toys
  • Teether
  • cotton ball
  • batting ring
  • cars
  • mirror
Machine washable mat
Artwork on the mat
Neutral pattern on the central part, colorful ends
Sound making
Check Latest Price
Best Budget
Bright Starts Zig Zag Safari
10 Best Newborn Pack and Play & Playard for your Baby 2021 | Baby Journey
Material
Cotton/plastic
Removable toys
Included toys
  • Zebra chime
  • Baby-safe mirror
  • Ring rattle & Leaf shaped toy
Machine washable mat
Artwork on the mat
Animals and patterns
Sound making
Check Latest Price
Best Learning
Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym & Maracas
Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym & Maracas
Material
Plastic
Removable toys
Included toys
  • Piano
  • maracas
  • plastic animals
Machine washable mat
Artwork on the mat
Animals and notes
Sound making
Check Latest Price
Best Value
Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin' Tunes
Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin' Tunes Music and Language Play Gym and Piano Tummy Time Activity Mat
Material
Fabric/plastic
Removable toys
Included toys
  • Piano
  • pillow
  • plastic toys
Machine washable mat
Artwork on the mat
Animals and shapes
Sound making
Check Latest Price
Best Neutral
Ingenuity Cozy Spot Reversible Duvet Activity Gym
10 Best Newborn Pack and Play & Playard for your Baby 2021 | Baby Journey
Material
Organic cotton/wood
Removable toys
Included toys
  • Teether
  • mirror
  • stuffed animals
  • pillow
Machine washable mat
Artwork on the mat
No artwork, solid color
Sound making
Check Latest Price
Best Baby Gym | Baby Journey
Pick the mat that has a baby-safe mirror, to help your child explore and slowly understand the concept of reflection. Source: Hellomagazine.com

#1 The Play Gym by Lovevery

Lovevery Play Gym | Best Baby Gym | Baby Journey

The Play Gym by Lovevery is suitable for babies zero months all the way up to the toddler stage. It is so versatile it converts from an activity gym for babies to a fun fort for older children. The mat itself has zones that can be covered or uncovered to adapt to your baby’s developmental stage. It also includes hanging removable toys. This best baby gym truly strives to achieve learning through play and is backed by research.

Pros:

  • Accessories are organic and safe for teething babies
  • Includes a 12-month play guide with suggested activities
  • Two-minute set up and takedown
  • Very durable, the frame is made from solid wood
  • Tummy play time mat included

Cons:

  • The wood frame makes it bulky
  • Pricey
  • Not as colorful or bright as other activity gyms
Lovevery Play Gym | Best Baby Gym | Baby Journey

The Play Gym by Lovevery

  • From Tummytime to Play Fort: Lovevery knows nothing is more important than your baby’s physical, cognitive, visual and motor learning; from lifting their head as a newborn to hide-and-seek as a toddler, The Play Gym provides a whole year of play
  • We Grow With Your Baby: 5 Montessori-inspired development zones on the Play Mat reveal or conceal to prevent overstimulation, teach focus, sound making, encourage sensory exploration, hiding and finding, and exploring colors

#2 Best Budget-Friendly – Bright Starts Zig Zag Safari

Bright Starts Zig Zag Safari | Best Baby Gym | Baby Journey

If you are looking for a simple, cheerful, customizable play mat, the Bright Starts Zig Zag Safari is worth your attention. The mat is soft, has animals printed into the mat, along with colorful toys, a baby-safe mirror and a removable frame. 

The mat doesn’t come with too many toys, and the selection of included toys is not very exciting. Luckily, it is easy to detach toys and add other ones that you can buy separately. 

The mat doesn’t have sensory areas or different textures. Once it gets dirty, you can easily wash the mat and toys in the machine. You can wipe clean plastic toys and mirrors.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Colorful
  • Baby-safe mirror included
  • Arches and toys are detachable
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Poor toy selection
  • Moderate padding
  • No sensory areas
Bright Starts Zig Zag Safari | Best Baby Gym | Baby Journey

Bright Starts Zig Zag Safari

  • 3 ways to play: active discovery, tummy time, and active play
  • Additional toys include: Zebra chime, Baby safe mirror, Ring rattle & Leaf shaped toy
  • Baby safe mirror for self discovery
  • Removable toy bar when only the mat is needed

#3 Best for Language Learning: Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym & Maracas 

Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym & Maracas

The Fisher-Price baby gym has a slightly different design and doesn’t include crossed-arch construction, like other models on the list. Instead, there is one arch that can have two positions. 

That way, you can customize the baby gym, as the baby grows. For example, put the arch in the middle when the baby is young, or move it at the beginning of the mat when your baby can sit.

The Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym & Maracas comes with various toys and sound machines. It also includes a baby-safe mirror and artwork on the mat.

The artwork on the mat includes bright colors and animal shapes that can help your baby learn about colors and animals.

Pros:

  • Adjustable arch
  • Sound toy
  • Gender-neutral
  • Maracas toys included
  • Bright-colored artwork on the mat

Cons:

  • Some songs include lyrics too complex for infants 
  • Side attachments are made of cheap plastic
  • Heavier than a typical baby gym
Sale
Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym & Maracas
  • Includes Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym and Rattle 'n Rock Maracas
  • 4 ways to play as baby grows: Lay & Play, Tummy Time, Sit & Play, and Take-Along
  • Learning content changes with baby's age & stage with Smart Stages technology.Assembly required

#4  Best Value for Money: Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes 

Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin' Tunes Music and Language Play Gym and Piano Tummy Time Activity Mat

The Baby Einstein play gym is one of the most interactive gyms on the market. The gym comes with six detachable toys and a pillow. 

My favorite part is the piano baby gym feature which can play up to 70+ sounds and keep the baby entertained for a long time. It is smartly placed so the baby can explore the piano and improve tactile sense while discovering the world of music.

Plus, the Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes is more than bells and whistles. The mat is moderately padded and machine-washable. The artwork on the mat is cheerful and includes different shapes. 

That way, once the baby overgrows the piano and other toys, you can use the mat to teach your child about circular, triangular and rectangular shapes.

Pros:

  • Music function
  • Various toys included
  • Spacious
  • Machine washable
  • Piano has a language-learning function

Cons:

  • Prop pillow is too large for young babies
  • Batteries aren’t included
  • A lot of plastic parts
Sale
Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin' Tunes Music and Language Play Gym and Piano Tummy Time Activity Mat
  • 4 modes: Laying, Sitting, Tummy Time & Take-Along
  • 70 sounds & activities and 25 plus minutes of music
  • Includes 7 detachable toys, including a Magic Touch piano, and 1 prop pillow

#5 Best Neutral Baby Gym: Ingenuity Cozy Spot Reversible Duvet Activity Gym 

Ingenuity Cozy Spot Reversible Duvet Activity Gym | Best Baby Gym | Baby Journey

The Ingenuity Cozy Spot Reversible Duvet Activity Gym is cozy and the perfect place for your little boy or girl to play and stretch. The mat is well-padded to provide warmth and comfort, even on hard floors such as linoleum or tiles. The toy bar is made from wood and is easy to assemble and disassemble. 

With the foldable mat and toy bar, the Ingenuity baby gym is practical for travel or small rooms because it folds easily into a self-storage bag. Once it gets dirty, you can wash the mat in the washing machine, and wipe clean the toy bar.

The gym comes with six toys, including a tummy time pillow. I also like the apple teether made from rubber. 

Pros:

  • Neutral-gender design makes it versatile
  • Plush mat
  • Easy to fold and pack
  • Teether included
  • Comfortable contoured tummy time pillow

Cons:

  • No sensory areas or symbols
  • Not very spacious
  • Dull design
Ingenuity Cozy Spot Reversible Duvet Activity Gym | Best Baby Gym | Baby Journey

Ingenuity Cozy Spot Reversible Duvet Activity Gym 

  • Made with fire retardant free and naturally flame resistant material.
  • Rear facing infant car seat for babies 5 to 50 pounds and
    front-facing car seat for babies 25 to 65 pounds.
  • Well padded seat for comfort and side-impact protection.
  • Equipped with a removable infant insert that provides ample body positioning support.

#6 Best Customizable: Tiny Love Magical Tales Black & White Gymini

Tiny Love Black & White Gymini | Best Baby Gym | Baby Journey

The Tiny Love Magical Tales Black & White Gymini keeps your baby entertained because of well-chosen contrasts and toys. 

Not only does the black/white combination look stylish, but it also improves the baby’s eyesight. At an early age, babies cannot distinguish colors like adults, but they may recognize contrast. Additionally, the hedgehog plays sounds, which is another excellent stimulation. 

The Tiny Love gym is very interactive and the arches are adjustable. Therefore, the gym can grow alongside your baby.

The toys are soft to touch, and the gym comes with an included book and baby-safe mirror. 

All accessories are detachable, so once the baby overgrows the toys and arches, you can save the mat for playing.

On the downside, it is light-colored, so the mat gets dirty frequently. But you can always wash it on the low program with mild detergent. 

Pros:

  • Lots of toys and ways to use the gym
  • Bright colors
  • Comfortable 
  • Easy to fold 
  • Arch work as a growth chart

Cons:

  • Toys are not machine-washable
  • Certain toys aren’t suitable for babies of early age
  • Mat is a bit thin
Tiny Love Black & White Gymini | Best Baby Gym | Baby Journey

Tiny Love Magical Tales Black & White Gymini

  • STIMULATES SIGHT from day one with contrasting black & white colors.
  • 18 DEVELOPMENTAL ACTIVITIES AND INTERACTIVE TOYS develop your baby’s skills.
  • ULTIMATE TUMMY TIME – Adjust the arches to create the open arches mode, which offers the ultimate tummy time experience, boosting baby’s development.
  • ENCOURAGES BONDING with the soft black & white take-along book, which is a great toy for babies and parents to enjoy together and excellent for tummy time

#7 Best Wooden Gym: B. toys Starry Sky Baby Gym 

B. toys – Wooden Baby Play Gym – Activity Mat – Starry Sky – 3 Hanging Sensory Toys – Organic Cotton – Natural Wood – Babies, Infants

If you are looking for an eco-friendly baby gym, and a safe choice when a baby mouths things around, check the B. toys Starry Sky Baby Gym. The wooden play gym is soft and made from organic cotton. The wooden frames are an excellent touch for the baby to learn differences in textures. 

This gym for kids is easy to wash, fold and take with you on your trips. The three toys are included, and easy to clean as well. However, the toys aren’t exciting and don’t make sounds. Still, your baby can squeeze and pull them while playing to develop motor skills. 

Apart from eco-friendliness, the best part of the B.toys baby gym is its comfortable mat – soft, plush and gentle on your baby’s skin.

Pros:

  • Organic cotton mat
  • Eco-friendly
  • Easy to fold and pack
  • Simple maintenance
  • Cloud toy is also a baby mirror

Cons:

  • Sliding toys across the wooden bar might cause wood to chip
  • Gets dirty easily
  • Lacks interesting toys
B. toys – Wooden Baby Play Gym – Activity Mat – Starry Sky – 3 Hanging Sensory Toys – Organic Cotton – Natural Wood – Babies, Infants
  • Play & nap: This comfy wooden baby gym comes with 3 removable accessories to play with and a thick mat to lie on. A great activity mat for giggles, games, naps, and dreams!
  • Look up: explore 3 Touchable, squeezable, and sensory toys that magically float above! This activity Gym for infants includes friendly fabric stars, a cloud-shaped mirror, and some fun beads.
  • Travel-friendly: easy to assemble and disassemble, The Starry sky playmat sets up in an instant in the nursery, the playroom, or anywhere you want!

#8 Best Versatile: Skip Hop Farmstand Grow & Play

Skip Hop Baby Gym, Farmstand Grow & Play, Green

The Skip Hop activity gym is a comprehensive piece of baby gear. It includes five toys and a well-designed mat with different symbols for plants, animals, numbers and bright colors. 

Therefore, once the baby overgrows the toys and the arches, you can keep the mat to teach your child about fruits and vegetables and animal names.  

Moreover, one arch of the Skip Hop Farmstand Grow & Play serves as a growth meter when you disassemble it. 

The included bunny toy plays music at squeak, which encourages the baby to make different hand movements. Also, there is a pocket for the toy carrot, which is practical to help the baby improve precise movement. 

Pros:

  • Lots of toys and ways to use the gym
  • Bright colors
  • Comfortable 
  • Easy to fold 
  • Arch work as a growth chart

Cons:

  • Toys are not machine-washable
  • Certain toys aren’t suitable for babies of early age
  • Mat is a bit thin
Skip Hop Baby Gym, Farmstand Grow & Play, Green
  • Playing with food is a good thing! A colorful garden of fun fruits, veggies and more, our Farmstand Grow & Play Activity Gym stimulates baby’s senses and continues to teach as they grow. Packed with lots of engaging textures and sounds for baby to explore, the soft playmat features cheerful farm graphics and numbers.
  • Fold-up sides create an enclosed playspace that’s perfect for tummy time play. A bright watermelon wedge pillow with plush texture, and a cute side pocket let baby “pick” their own veggie. Five hanging toys include an avocado rattle, a beet squeaker and a musical bunny to keep baby busy and happy. When little ones sprout up, the removable arches convert to a growth chart.
  • Three ways to play: overhead, tummy time, seated play

#9 Best for Tummy Time: Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Activity Gym 

Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym

The Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Activity Gym features an interesting mat, with structured pieces, and a built-in baby-safe mirror in the mat. It can promote baby tummy time and encourage the baby to crawl. 

The mat is moderately comfortable, and the toys are excellent. There are five toys in different colors, patterns, and materials, and a small pillow. All toys are soft, and the mat allows you to customize toys and attach new ones.

Overall, the Skip Hop mat gives a lot of opportunities to customize and entertain the baby.

Pros:

  • Quilted mat for comfort
  • Excellent for tummy time
  • Impressive toy selection
  • Includes different patterns 
  • Easy to assemble

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Animals hang low, so the baby will overgrow the mat soon
  • Arches are a bit flimsy
Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym
  • 17 developmental activities
  • Mat surface is quilted for softness
  • Playful patterns & linen details

#10 Fisher-Price Rainforest Music & Lights Deluxe Gym

Fisher-Price Rainforest Music Lights Deluxe Gym Amazon Exclusive, Multicolor

The Fisher-Price Rainforest Music & Lights Deluxe Gym really is “deluxe” in the world of best baby gym. The setup is pretty standard, a square base with two suspension poles, but it also has over ten toys. One is a large light-up toucan that plays sounds and is removable so you can take it along with you!

There are many ways to play on this mat that provides it all, lights, sounds, and textures. This is quite a colorful activity gym which your little one will likely love.

Pros:

  • Each toy has an interactive component
  • Multiple loops on the bar so toys can be high or low
  • Keeps little ones entertained
  • Easy access for babies
  • Unisex attractive colors

Cons:

  • Very difficult to store, poles don’t detach from one another
  • Toucan on top is very heavy, causing the structure to lean
Fisher-Price Rainforest Music Lights Deluxe Gym Amazon Exclusive, Multicolor
  • Deluxe newborn gym with 10+ toys and activities and a removable, take-along toucan with music and dancing lights
  • Three ways to play: Lay & play, tummy time and take-along
  • Responds to baby’s movement with music and lights in short-play setting

#11 Infantino 4-in-1 Twist & Fold Activity Gym & Play Mat

Infantino 4-in-1 Twist & Fold Activity Gym & Play Mat, Tropical

The Infantino 4-in-1 Twist & Fold Activity Gym & Play Mat is an awesome mat and best baby gym for families who are always on the go! The twist and fold technology makes storage and transport a breeze. By rotating a lock on the top, the poles fold and become streamline so that you can tuck it under your arm and head out! The toys can even be removed and attached to a car seat or stroller.

Like other gyms, this one has many ways to play at each stage, but its portability can’t be surpassed!

Pros:

  • Includes a tummy time bolster
  • Very lightweight
  • Decent mat padding for bare floors
  • Soft fabrics for baby’s sensitive skin
  • Keeps babies entertained and comfortable

Cons:

  • Shows stains easily
  • Music doesn’t play for very long
Sale
Infantino 4-in-1 Twist & Fold Activity Gym & Play Mat, Tropical
  • Infantino 4-in-1 Twist & Fold Activity Gym & Play Mat, Tropical
  • The Gym folds up, making it very easy to take on-the-go.
  • The monkey plays music as it slow turns around

A Baby Gym That Goes Beyond the Baby Stage

The competition was fierce, but The Play Gym by Lovevery is a tad better than the competitors. The materials used for the mat are gentle, and the toys and design of the mat guarantees endless playtime, development, and education. 

The gym is well-rounded with a foldable design, simple maintenance and plenty of ways to use it. I like the colors, the patterns, individual toys and cards. Therefore, you can use it long after your baby overgrows the infant toys

Which baby gym seems most appealing to you? Do you prefer plastic or wood arches? Share your thoughts about my list in the comments, and state which baby gym your children love!

Best Baby Gym | Baby Journey

Last update on 2021-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *