Activity gyms provide baby with safe, entertaining sensory stimulus and encourage gross motor development, which is why so many parents choose to make them a part of their home and nursery. There’s a lot of great baby activity gyms available from trusted manufacturers, but keeping track of the features to make a decision can be hard. We’ve compared 9 of the best baby activity gyms for 2019 to help you see how they stack up and understand what features are most important.

Our Top Picks

Editor's Choice Activity Gym

Best Overall

Skip Hop Activity Gym & Playmat

Upgrade Choice

Baby Einstein 5-in-1 Activity Gym

Best budget buy activity gym

Best Budget Buy

Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym

How to Pick the Best Baby Activity Gym

1. Recommended Age

Knowing the age that baby gear is intended for is always important when you’re making your choice. Manufacturers choose age ranges based on safety, and making sure to always heed them ensures that your baby will remain safe and you won’t be disappointed by your purchase.

2. Sounds

A lot of baby activity gyms feature sound and music, but some don’t have any at all. If you want a musical gym, you’ll want to know what it plays, for how long and what batteries are required to make it play. If you don’t, you’ll want to know which gyms have music so that you can avoid those.

3. Lights

Lights are another feature found on some activity gyms. Gyms with sounds sometimes have lights as well, but not always – if you want something that lights up, it’s important to double check rather than assume both are present. Likewise, if you’d prefer to avoid lights, there are plenty of options with no illumination features.

4. Activity Options 

An activity gym should provide baby with a range of developmentally focused physical activities. The gym should offer a wide range of motion and offer baby developmental and sensory stimulation tools. Gyms that don’t, or “loungers” that hold baby in place, are less beneficial to babies.

5. Size and storage

Gyms can take up a lot of room, so easy storage is a great feature. It’s also important to know how much room the gym takes up when it’s in use in order to ensure you have a safe place in your home that can accommodate the device.

6. Washing Instructions

Babies are messy, so their gear needs to be easy to clean. Choosing a gym that’s easy to wash allows you to clean it regularly, keeping it both hygienic and looking great. All options listed here are washable, non-toxic and safe for kids and their messes.

The Winners

#1

Skip Hop Activity Gym and Playmat

Best Overall

The aesthetic of the Skip Hop Activity Gym and Playmat really sets it apart from others, as the camping theme is so cute that it could easily be nursery decor. The interactive play mat features lifting flaps revealing animal friends, and a soft plush bear bolster pillow keeps baby cozy. Overhead, a turtle mirror, wooden teether, light up firefly and musical raccoon – he plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – keep baby reaching upward and striving to improve their senses. The mesh back to the gym truly makes it look like a little pup tent, and it’s super compact to boot.

Recommended age: 0+
Sounds: Yes, 3 LR44 batteries needed(not included)
Lights: Yes
Activity options: Playmat with developmental play tools, overhead sensory toys
Size and storage: Disassembles to store; 36″ x 36″ x 38″
Washing instructions: Machine wash in cold water, gentle cycle, dry flat; all others wipe clean

#2

Baby Einstein 5-in-1 Activity Gym

Upgrade Choice

Providing a dynamic range of activities, the global themed Baby Einstein 5-in-1 Activity Gym features overhead sensory toys like a mirror, rattle and detachable plushes designed to encourage baby to reach, stretch and move. As baby gets older, the gym’s sides fold up and it converts into a ball pit for even more motor skill development and fun. Studies show that listening to music can help babies process new speech sounds, so the 20 minutes of globally inspired music will also boost baby’s learning.

Recommended age: 0+
Sounds: Yes, 3 AAA batteries needed(not included)
Lights: No
Activity options: Playmat with developmental play tools, overhead sensory toys, ball pit functionality, ball drop canopy
Size and storage: Folds to store in suitcase storage bag; 47″ x 40″ x 18″
Washing instructions: Machine wash in cold water, wash separately, gentle cycle, mild soap, dry flat; accessories wipe clean

#3

Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym

Best Budget Buy

Easy to assemble and fold, the classic quilt themed Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym features a playmat with a mirror and a bolster pillow to keep baby comfortable. Overhead, a crinkle fish, leaf themed teether, 4 plush toys and clacker rings keep baby stimulated and developing essential visual and motor skills. It’s a quiet gym you can travel with easily that provides lots of opportunities for baby to refine hand-eye coordination.

Recommended age: 0+
Sounds: No
Lights: No
Activity options: Playmat with mirror and pillow, overhead sensory toys
Size and storage: Folds to store; 30″ x 30″
Washing instructions: Machine wash in cold water, gentle cycle, dry flat; spot clean toys and pillow

#4

Yookidoo Baby Gym Activity Center

Best Baby Playmat and Gym

Playmats with lots of sensory stimulation are great, the the Gymotion Robo Play Land gym shines here. The Yookidoo Baby Gym Activity Center features a magic motion car and tummy time pillow that keeps babies entertained during tummy time, and the overhead rattle, mirror and other sensory toys in a unique and adorable robot theme encourage baby’s development. As your baby gets older, the overhead toy bar adjusts and is eventually removed to provide a playmat for continued use.

Recommended age: Newborn to 12 months
Sounds: Yes, 3 AAA batteries needed(not included)
Lights: No
Activity options: Playmat with developmental play tools, overhead sensory toys, additional accessories
Size and storage: Folds to carry in storage case; 31.5″ x 4″ x 20″
Washing instructions: Machine wash in cold water, wash separately, line dry, do not dry clean; all other parts wipe clean

#5

Fisher-Price Music and Lights Deluxe Gym

Best Fischer-Price Baby Gym

Fisher-Price knows babies, and the rainforest themed Fisher-Price Music and Lights Deluxe Gym helps baby to learn cause and effect through a motion sensor which triggers 20 minutes of music. The giraffe pillow and mirror offer baby entertainment during tummy time, and the overhead animal themed sensory toys are hung from a wide bar, encouraging gross motor development by encouraging head turning and increasing range of motion. The toucan on top, who produces the lights and sounds, can be detached and used as a familiar take-along toy for baby.

Recommended age: 0+
Sounds: Yes, 3 AA batteries needed(not included)
Lights: Yes
Activity options: Playmat with developmental play tools, overhead sensory toys
Size and storage: Folds to store; 30.3″ x 32.3″ x 27.2″
Washing instructions: Machine wash in cold water, gentle cycle, no bleach, tumble dry on low; all other accessories wipe clean

#6

Bright Starts 5-in-1 Activity Gym

Lots of large overhead sensory toys, like crinkles, rattles, and mirrors, make this Bright Starts 5-in-1 Activity Gym great for developing hands. The Your Way Ball Play gym’s soft playmat also folds easily into a ball pit for when baby gets bigger, adding a new dimension of play that they’ll love. The balls for the jungle themed pit come in an adorable lion carrying case, which is great for ensuring they all stay in one place – always a challenge when toys and gear have multiple pieces.

Recommended age: 0+
Sounds: Yes, 3 AA batteries needed(not included)
Lights: No
Activity options: Playmat, overhead sensory toys
Size and storage: Folds to store; 21″ x 44.5″
Washing instructions: Machine wash in cold water, gentle cycle, dry flat; toys wipe clean

#7

Lovevery Play Gym

Featuring a play mat with five developmental zones, the Lovevery Play Gym offers baby room to spread out. Motor, visual and cognitive development opportunities also are offered through a soft Montessori ball and safe wooden teether as well as four interchangeable sets of learning cards printed with safe soy ink. The play mat zones can be concealed to prevent over stimulation, and a space cover converts the gym into a fun fort. With no lights and sounds, it’s very unobtrusive and great for quiet and relaxing playtime.

Recommended age: 0+
Sounds: No
Lights: No
Activity options: Playmat with developmental play tools, overhead sensory toys, additional accessories
Size and storage: Disassembles to store, 24″ x 50″ x 57″
Washing instructions: Machine wash in cold water, wash separately, gentle cycle, mild soap, dry flat; 100% cotton and wood accessories can be spot cleaned

#8

Funny Supply Wood Play Gym

Best Wooden Baby Gym

Small, simple and unobtrusive, you might mistake this for a piece of modern art – but that doesn’t mean the Funny Supply Wood Play Gym isn’t good for baby. It’s a great simple gym, offering overhead stimulation through three hanging wooden toys. The gym is very compact, so it’s good for travel, and it works on any flat, firm surface. Because it’s small and simple, it’s better for younger babies – as they get older, babies have more complex developmental needs.

Recommended age: 0+
Sounds: No
Lights: No
Activity options: Overhead sensory toys
Size and storage: Folds to store; 19.7″ x 19.7″ x 17.7″
Washing instructions: Wooden gym wipes clean

#9

Disney Baby Mr. Ray Ocean Lights Activity Gym

Perfect for Disney fanatics, the Disney Baby Mr. Ray Ocean Lights Activity Gym features beloved characters like Nemo, Dory, Pearl, Mr. Ray and Crush the sea turtle in the form of overhead sensory stimulation items like a mirror, rattles and a counting toy. A canopy provides a light and music show that will fascinate baby, and the Dory finger puppet is perfect for great for parent and child interaction. It’s bright, cheerful and a nice pick for an oceanic or a Disney themed nursery.

Recommended age: 0+
Sounds: Yes, 3 AA batteries needed(not included)
Lights: Yes
Activity options: Playmat, overhead sensory toys, overhead canopy light show
Size and storage: Folds to store; 36″ x 32″
Washing instructions: Machine wash in cold water, gentle cycle, mild soap, no bleach, air dry flat; other toys wipe clean

bouncing activity castle

FAQs: All you need to know

Q How do activity gyms benefit my baby? 

Activity gyms provide an environment that is specifically tailored to meet baby’s physical and sensory development needs and levels. Babies are able to stretch their growing joints and develop range of motion, build hand eye coordination and develop gross motor skills while having fun and remaining entertained

Q Why is tummy time a good thing, and how much does baby need per day? 

A Activity gyms provide an environment that is specifically tailored to meet baby’s physical and sensory development needs and levels. Babies are able to stretch their growing joints and develop range of motion, build hand eye coordination and develop gross motor skills while having fun and remaining entertained. 

Q What are some ‘problem features’ to avoid? 

ADon’t pick a gym that’s a “lounger” where baby is forced to sit still! Movement is essential to development, and those don’t facilitate movement. Look for wide arches for overhead toys, so baby really has room to spread out. 

Quick Decision

Skip Hop Activity Gym and Playmat – Best Overall
It’s compact, the theme is adorable and the lights, sounds, playmat and sensory toys are all great for baby’s development.

Baby Einstein 5-in-1 Activity Gym – Upgrade Choice
The ball pit feature ensures this gym stays lots of fun as babies get older, and the global theme and music are educational and fun.

Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym – Best Budget Buy
The overhead sensory toys are plentiful, the mirror and pillow make tummy time enjoyable, and it won’t break the bank.

Three rainbow kites for kids

Telling your kids to go fly a kite isn’t an insult – it’s the start of a good time, physical activity, coordination building, cooperative play and improved confidence. Give them these awesome selection of amazing kites

Hannah H.

Hannah H.

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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