10 Best Activity Centers | April 2017

10 Best Activity Centers | April 2017
Best Mid-Range
Best High-End
Best Inexpensive
We spent 33 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Childcare experts agree that the sooner you start stimulating your baby, the better results he or she will get later in school. Activity centers help with motor skills as well as auditory and visual development, yet it still feels like playtime! Skip to the best activity center on Amazon.
The Kolcraft Tiny Steps converts from a seated to a walk-behind activity center, making it good for infants and toddlers. It includes a number of developmental activities to improve motor skills.
  • height adjusts for growing babies
  • can fit under a bed when folded up
  • wheels don't always turn well
Brand Kolcraft
Model KW029-JBL1
Weight 9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
The Sassy Inspire the Senses allows baby to bounce and play in a safe place while having tons of fun. The innovative pod system allows parents to swap toys in and out, so your baby will never get bored.
  • legs are removable for easy portability
  • lots of bright and colorful bug toys
  • seat is hard for younger babies to spin
Brand Sassy
Model 70018
Weight 18.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
The Manhattan Toy Tree Top is best for older toddlers between 12 months and 5 years old. It is a beautifully crafted solid wood play table that offers hours of exploratory fun and learning using a colorful tree theme.
  • bead runs and gliders
  • looks good in any nursery
  • assembly can be difficult
Brand Manhattan Toy
Model 212280
Weight 9.9 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0
The Taf Toys Toe Time will make car time fun again. It keeps baby safely occupied in the backseat, so you can focus on driving. It includes 3 hanging toys with a variety of textures and sounds, and attaches to most car headrests.
  • easy to adjust the height and angle
  • has soft lights and plays gentle music
  • suitable to use from birth
Brand Taf Toys
Model pending
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
The Evenflo Triple Fun offers versatile use that grows with your baby. It converts from an exersaucer to a playmat, and opens up to become a toddler activity table, plus it has 3 height positions and multiple seat positions.
  • machine-washable seat pad
  • folds down for travel and storage
  • 11 age appropriate toys
Brand Evenflo
Model 62311422
Weight 10.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
The Fisher-Price Woodland Friends is designed with baby's safety in mind. It has a soft-sided overhead toy bar that won't hurt even if your baby bumps their head while jumping. Plus lots of moving toys keep them occupied.
  • has 3 fun woodland friends
  • wiggly froggy teether for chewing
  • 4 height settings
Brand Fisher-Price
Model CBV62
Weight 12 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
The Fisher-Price Rainforest has colorful toys and fun music to stimulate baby's visual and auditory development, while jumping develops large motor skills and builds muscle. It also easily folds up for storage and travel.
  • comfortable rotating seat
  • helps teach cause and effect
  • only requires 3 aa batteries
Brand Fisher-Price
Model K6070
Weight 16.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
The Fisher-Price Step N' Play is a truly interactive experience for your little one. It rewards baby for stepping on four keys with fun music and lights, and the seat spins and slides so baby can practice walking.
  • seat can be removed for toddler play
  • foot piano can be turned off
  • keeps kids entertained for hours
Brand Fisher-Price
Model V4357
Weight 23.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
The Summer Infant Superseat is the ideal choice for parents on a tight budget. It is a seated activity center that doubles as a booster, and it has a soft foam insert that helps smaller babies sit upright.
  • two cup holders and snack tray
  • adjustable toy bar
  • chair straps included
Brand Summer Infant
Model 13290
Weight 6.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
The Evenflo Jam Session has a unique base that provides 2 times the bounce, making it more fun and offering more exercise, plus a soft landing pad that promotes stability and ensures a safe landing every time.
  • smart toys that interact with baby
  • plays 3 different genres of music
  • removable toys to customize play area
Brand Evenflo
Model 61731199
Weight 21.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

...and the Cow Jumped Over the Moon?

Designed to teach children under one year old to respond to different types of sensory stimuli, stationary activity centers come in many shapes and sizes, each with its own special theme. There are island themes and insect themes and music themes. And all for good reason.

You see, it's not about which toy is cheapest or strongest or cutest. It's about which toy is best for learning.

Take another look at #2, the Summer Infant Superseat. A monkey hangs from a tree. A toucan perches in a tree. A giraffe stands on the play tray. All of these animals are precisely where they should be.

Now take a closer look at #5, the Fisher-Price Woodland Jumperoo. Why is there a fox floating overhead? Why is there a raccoon in the sky?

One may argue that babies don't care about such things, but think about this: What's the point in learning something if you're just going to unlearn it later?

No, You May NOT Drop Yourself on Your Head!

Remember those baby walkers we used to cruise around in, back when we still wore wooden shoes and had to walk a hundred miles in the snow just to find out that school was closed for the day because the teacher broke her yard stick whipping Bobby's bottom for the umpteenth time?

Well, the times are finally changing.

In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Academy of Pediatrics have both issued warnings against the use of baby walkers.

Not only that, but as of April 7th, 2004, baby walkers are officially banned in Canada, complete with hefty fines and jail time for anyone caught owning or selling one, bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase "possession with intent to distribute."

Lo and behold, parents in the eighties and nineties suddenly realized that enabling a baby to self-stroll its developing skull straight into the corner of a dining room table or down a flight of hardwood stairs was, indeed, not a good idea, so parents stopped buying them and retailers voluntarily stopped carrying them.

Why it took hundreds of years of baby-walker popularity for parents to arrive at this conclusion, I have no idea. What matters is that now we know, and knowing is half the battle.

So take note of the lack of wheels on the Top Five activity centers featured above.

Regardless of which activity center you choose, you're in the clear!

From Baby Cribs to College Dorms

Just like Jeffrey McGill says in his book, White Darkness, "From the time a person leaves its mother's womb, its every effort is directed towards building, maintaining, and withdrawing into artificial wombs, various sorts of substitute protective devices or shells." Be they sleeping bags or cubicles, the intent remains the same.

And so it comes as no surprise that we take it upon ourselves as caring parents to manufacture artificial wombs for children who are little more than four months out of their mothers' wombs.

From swaddling clothes and cribs, to car seats and college dorms, this is what we parents do: we reinsert our children every chance we can possibly get.

Thus, as far back as the 1440's, even baby Jesus is depicted in a baby walker courtesy of an anonymous Dutch artist we know only as Master of Catherine of Cleves.

It wasn't until 1910 when Susan Olivia Poole of Ontario, Canada, had her first child and invented the Jolly Jumper, a bouncing swing she made with a cloth diaper, an iron spring, and an axe handle. Originally designed to hang from a tree branch, the Jolly Jumper's widespread distribution in 1957 eventually led to the addition of door clamps and musical mats.

Since then, the Jolly Jumper has evolved into the kind of immobile activity center we know and love today: a 15-minute standing crib the likes of which can only be compared to 15 minutes at work before we feel the need to surf the internet again, or crawl around on the floor, if that's your thing.

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Last updated on April 29 2017 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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