Looking for a safe place for your baby to play both in and out of doors? How about a portable crib to take to grandma and grandpa’s house? What about both?
That’s where a playard can really come in handy to have around the house. They are highly versatile, giving your little one an enclosed place to play as well as a place to sleep when the crib isn’t accessible.
Some playards come with special attachments for newborn bassinets. Others are adjustable according to your child’s current development level.
But how do you go about choosing the right playard for you and your little one, especially since there are so many available on the market today?
We have put together this guide for you in order to help you find the right playard overall as well as break down the best ones for each stage of development through toddlerhood.
Best Playards for Babies
Here you will find a quick summary rounding up our top playard category choices for newborns, infants, and toddlers.
How to Choose the Right Playard for Your Baby
One of the best features of playards is the fact that they are portable. You can take them to a family sleepover, move them from room to room in your home, or take them outside for a playdate in the fresh air.
A playard that is easily collapsible and/or includes wheels is ideal for the best means of portability.
Playards are aptly named: an enclosed and safe area for your little one to play both in and out of doors.
However, it’s always nice to get more than one use out of a large piece of furniture like that. It’s ideal if the playard can be converted into a place for your little one to sleep or for you to change a diaper.
Everything that your baby interacts with should be safe, but it is most important to make sure anything they will be sleeping or lying down on is very safe.
There shouldn’t be any hazardous or irritating materials used, no suffocation risks, and the structure should be very sturdy.
In addition to safe materials, there should also be additional safety measures taken with the playard’s wheels and folding mechanisms.
Make sure any existing wheels have locking mechanisms and that the joints fully lock out so there is no risk of collapsing on your little one.
It is important to know when and for how long you will want to use your playard. Do some research and be aware of the age and weight limits for each model you are considering.
If you are moving the playard on a regular basis – whether it is just in your home or taking it on the go – it should be very easy to setup and take down.
Easy to Clean
Babies are notoriously messy. There will be episodes of spit up, diaper blowouts, and loads of drool that are sure to leave your playard a mess.
A waterproof coating on the mattress (if applicable) and machine washable materials will be your best bet for easy clean up.
Further Read:15 Best Play Mat & Play Gym for Baby we have put together for you.
Best Playard for Newborns
Our Top Pick:Ingenuity Smart and Simple Packable Playard
The Ingenuity Smart and Simple Packable Playard checks on the boxes on our must-have list for a newborn playard.
You can always have your little one close within reach thanks to the bassinet attachment. There is also a changing table, which will save you space without the need for an extra piece of furniture.
The inner bed platform is also adjustable, so you can lower it as your child gets older and keep them within arm’s length during the newborn stage.
On the side, you have 3 storage pockets, perfect for diapers, wipes, and everything else you need to keep close by during diaper changes and bedtime routines.
This playard is highly portable, both within the house and on the go. It folds easily and fits into the travel bag that is included. You can also roll is around the house easily with the attached wheels.
- Includes attachable bassinet and changing table
- checkAdjustable bed height
- Side storage pockets
- Folds easily and has wheels
- Machine washable fabrics
- Changing table is low
- Adjustable bed surface bends easily
- Size is only good for newborn and early infancy stages
- Low price means lower quality
- A bit difficult to set up
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2. HALO 3-in-1 DreamNest Rocking Bassinet, Portable Crib, and Travel Cot
- Breathable mesh mattress surrounds your baby with open airflow for better, more comfortable sleep and helps avoid overheating. Breathable mesh mattress is removable and machine washable for easy care.
- 3-in-1 sleep system grows with your child from rocking bassinet, portable crib to travel cot. EasySway rocker attachment allows you to gently soothe your baby to sleep. Rockers are removable.
- DreamNest model includes portable crib frame, breathable mesh mattress, rocker attachment, bassinet, cot legs, and portable travel bag
The HALO DreamNest is very expensive, considering it only comes with the playard. However, the quality of this product speaks for itself.
The sides are completely mesh, making them breathable and safe in case your little one rolls into the sides.
It is very easy to set up and it still includes an adjustable bed surface, making is suitable for the newborn stage and onward.
3. Babymoov Babyni Premium Baby Dome
- MULTIFUNCTIONAL: Playard, activity center and portable bassinet, gives baby the fun and comfort of home, while out at the beach, park or just the backyard. 100% polyester
- ULTIMATE SAFETY AND COMFORT: The dome tent material has an anti-UV rating of 50+ keeping your child's skin protected from 99% of harmful UV-A and UV-B rays. The tent canopy blocks sand, wind and also features a mosquito net built for the outdoors.
- EASY TO USE POP-UP SYSTEM: Canopy tent folds and unfolds in seconds. Portable and lightweight (2.75lbs), place the Babyni in its included carrying bag for easy transport when you and baby are on the go
The Babymoov Babyni isn’t much of a portable crib, but it is a nice, safe area for your newborn to play and practice some tummy time.
There is a canopy that fully extends to include a net dome, making it ideal for use outside to keep the bugs off your little one. There are also a couple of hanging toys to keep them entertained.
The best part is that the whole thing folds up nicely into a small, easy to carry size for use on the go.
4. Baby Trend Nursery Center
- Removable full size bassinet
- Handy diaper stacker and mobile
- One hand locking mechanism
If you’re looking for a great bargain for your newborn, the Baby Trend Nursery Center may be the right one for you.
It is portable yet can also be kept in a permanent location thanks to locking wheels.
Though there is no changing table, there is a diaper stacker on the side to keep what you need close by.
5. Chicco Lullaby Baby Playard
- All-in-One: Newborn Lounger, Bassinet, Playard and Changing Station
- Newborn lounger provides a cozy environment and folds for storage
- Infant bassinet can be installed in seconds and folds easily for storage
The Chicco Lullaby playard is very similar to our top newborn choice, but with a few minor differences.
It is quite a bit more expensive, which may be a deal breaker for bargain hunters. It also only has wheels on one side.
However, it does still have an attachable bassinet as well as a changing table with side pocket storage to keep everything close and within reach.
Best Playard for Infants
Our Top Pick: BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light
BABYBJORN is a name all parents know, and their reputation for high quality products is proven in this travel crib.
Its unique design saves space while still giving enough space for your child to spread out when they are sleeping.
No need to worry about sleeping arrangements when you are spending the night elsewhere. This playard folds up nicely and fits in a small, convenient travel bag.
Setup takes no time at all; you just need to unfold the frame and lay the mattress down. From there, you can ensure that your baby is comfortable thanks to the thick (yet firm) mattress included.
Because there are no wheels and this playard sits directly on the floor, you can rest assured knowing that the structure is very sturdy and won’t roll or collapse onto your little one.
- Folds very compact
- checkThick crib-type mattress
- Very stable
- Completely mesh on sides
- Washable fabrics
- No adjustable bed height
- Somewhat small for playing
- Difficult to pick up baby
- Drafty in cold weather
- Small travel crib for a baby or toddler
- Easy to set up in just one move
- Removable and washable fabrics
2. Lotus Travel Crib
- WORRY-FREE AIRPORT TRAVEL - Designed to be easy to fly with the compact, light backpack carrying case. Set up is simple in 15 seconds and only weighs 13 lbs packed.
- CERTIFIED SAFE & NON-TOXIC - The only playard with GreenGuard Gold non-toxic certification (low voc & no lead, phthalates, pvc, heavy metals, etc). Full-height mesh guarantees best, breathable airflow.
- QUIET SIDE ZIPPER DOOR - Nurse or cuddle your little one to sleep, then just zip the lockable access door. Easier on your back, and when it’s time to play & crawl, more fun!
Very similar to the BABYBJORN, the Lotus travel crib has the same basic structure but with a couple of minor differences.
The front mesh netting unzips, making it a bit easy to get your baby in and out without having to reach over the sides.
The travel bag is also different, with the crib packing into a backpack rather than a regular bag.
3. Regalo My Play Portable Playard
- PERFECT FIT: The nylon bottom provides protection from rough surfaces. The My Play 6-panel measures 48 inches wide and 26 inches tall. Patented easy fit, one-time adjustment system.
- PORTABLE AND LIGHTWEIGHT: Designed with a simple fold and go deign. Easy to set up and take down within seconds. Includes a carry case with arm strap for travel, on the go or storage
- INDOOR AND OUTDOOR: Water resistant for indoor and outdoor use.
Going from the newborn stage into infancy means your little one will be a bit more mobile. So, they will need more space to play.
The Regalo My Play portable playard is a great space for them to play in an easily collapsible, airy frame.
It’s not ideal for sleeping, but for the price, you can still afford a separate travel crib if need be.
4. Delta Children Playard
- Recommended for children unable to climb out, less than 30 pounds and up to 35 inches ; Frame with exposed metal edges
- Full size 36 inches x 36 inches playpen; Includes mattress and carrying bag
- Compact fold for easy storage and travel; Dimensions: 38.5 inches L x 38.5 inches W x 28 inches H
This playard design by Delta Children is likely what you typically picture when you think of play pens or playards.
Even folded it can be a bit bulky, but they are very sturdy and not typically too expensive.
This one from Delta Children also has a very cute animal theme, which will be visually stimulating for your little one.
5. Dream on Me Travel Light Play Yard
- Travel ready: The Travel Light sets up and folds down in minutes making it the ideal travel companion for infants & toddlers. It is perfect for vacationing or when you are visiting grandparents. It folds up flat and can be stored in its durable carry bag
- Comfortable for baby: The Travel Light Playard comes with a soft mattress, so your child can play and sleep in it Explore the Dream on Me Range of Playard mattresses for the perfect fit. The Travel Light is available in 4 stylish finishes
- Breathable mesh: The Playard sides are made of soft, airy mesh fabric that allow your baby to breathe easily. The see-through fabric helps you keep an eye on your baby and allows your LO to look out.
Back to the first style we looked at in this category, the Dream on Me Travel Light playard has the same design as the BABYBJORN at over half the price.
The sides are completely breathable mesh so no worries about suffocation hazards. There are also no wheels to worry about locking or rolling away.
Best Playard for Toddlers
Our Top Pick: Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Portable Playard
By the time your little reaches toddler stage, they will start to outgrow the typical playard or play pen design, spending more time playing and less time sleeping.
At this point, it is best to find a rather large playard that will mainly be used for playtime inside and outside. The Summer Infant Pop N’ Play playard is a great option.
It collapses easily and stows into the travel bag for easy use on the go. It gives your little one a large area to play and a nice sturdy structure to keep them safe, even as they tug and pull on the sides.
The mesh sides are breathable, giving you the ability to see your little one easily and allow a breeze to blow through.
There is also a canvas-type floor that is water resistant to keep your baby dry when you take them to play outside.
- Folds compactly into storage bag for travel
- Lightweight design
- Large play area
- Water resistant floor and breathable sides
- Very easy set up
- Can’t be used for sleeping
- Canopy sold separately
- Metal bars are exposed
- Bag wears out quickly
- Screws are known to fall out after heavy use
- INDOOR/OUTDOOR USE – Whether playtime is indoors or out, keeping your little one in one place is essential! The Summer Pop ‘n Play Portable Play Yard provides 14 square feet of contained playing area, and the folding metal frame weighs only 12lbs.
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE – The ultra-lightweight and compact play yard for baby and toddler is perfect for use at home inside or out, a day at the park or even a vacation at the beach.
- COMPACT FOLD – With a lightweight, innovative pop and fold design that sets up and comes down in seconds, plus an easy and compact fold, you can have a travel toddler and space saver baby playpen to bring with you on all your adventures.
2. 4moms Breeze GO Portable Travel Playard
- Opens or closes in one step
- Quick setup. For use from birth until 30 pounds
- Convenient travel bag
The 4moms Breeze GO portable playard is a great option for a travel crib for your toddler. It is easily collapsible and stows away in the travel bag for easy use on the go.
It doesn’t give a lot of space for toddlers to play, but if they are content to sit with some toys or lie down to color for a bit, it is still a good option.
3. North States Superyard Colorplay Ultimate Playard
- NEW NAME - SAME GREAT BRAND YOU TRUST: Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, the Toddleroo by North States Superyard Ultimate is an excellent solution for creating a safe playpen for your child. Plus, the convenient Folding ABC Play Mat (sold separately) works great with this play yard. It provides extra comfort and sensory stimulation during tummy time or any time!
- SAFETY & CONVENIENCE: The Superyard Ultimate features an easy access door that opens easily with one hand. Just slide the latch back, lift the door up and out to open. Simply reverse this motion to close.
- VERSATILE & EXPANDABLE: This durable plastic six-panel colorful play yard creates up to 18.5 square feet of protected play space. Want to increase the size of the Superyard Ultimate? Just add a Two-Panel Extension (sold separately) to create up to 34.4 square feet of play space!
If you simply need an enclosed play space for your toddler, this Playard from North States is a great choice.
It definitely cannot be used for sleeping since there is no floor, but it is perfect for use in the house and outside.
The side collapse easily as well making it easy to stow away when not in use.
4. Foldable Playpen Kids Activity Centre
- Exquisite buckle design, Easy to assemble.
- Foldable & Easy Packing: Designed with a simple fold and go design. Easy to set up and takedown within seconds.
- Sturdy holding: Specially designed rubber feet underneath of the yard so the parts don't go sliding around.
Similar to the previous playard, this activity center features plastic walls only with no floor for sleeping.
It creates a nice big space for your toddler to play and is easy to collapse into a nice compact stack to shove in a closet when you are not using it.
5. GrowthPic Baby Playpen
- Baby playard: (Balls Padding Not included.) A baby playpen creates an ample space:25.8" x 49" (65.5 cm* 125 cm). A 6-panel baby protective fence, a wonderful world for your little adventurer. The lightweight playard for kid is ideal for at home or a day at park.
- Protective and controllable ：As a playpen for kids, there is no automatic trigger or sharp edge on it, you cannot control the automatic things. The sturdy bases with rounded corners won't scratch the hardwood floor or your carpet. Every joint is a safety-lock that meet safety standards.
- Keep an eye on baby's action：ventilating mesh walls won't block your eye contact.The waterproof fabric can keep baby dry even on damp place. Hand wash and wipe down with a damp cloth and mild soap can keep the fabric and 6-panel fresh and sanitary.
This GrowthPic playard uses the same concept as the Summer Infant one, but it takes it to the next level by including a ball pit feature.
It is also much easier to get your child in and out of this playard with the zippered door on the side.
While there are great playard choices for every stage of your baby’s development, our top overall pick would have to be the Chicco Lullaby Baby Playard.
It will take you through all three phases of your child’s development that we have covered, with a bassinet for newborn stage, adjustable bed height for infancy, and extra large space for toddler stage.
Overall, for the price you would pay, you would get plenty of use out of this playard for your baby.
Last update on 2020-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API