The 10 Best Baby Gyms

Updated May 03, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Your precious child will believe she's just having lots of fun with one of these baby gyms. Meanwhile, you'll know that they are loaded with stimulating activities that also help to develop fine motor skills, coordination, balance, sound recognition, and more. Oh, and they allow you to get a few minutes of much-needed relaxation in, too. Whichever model you choose, you can't go wrong. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best baby gym on Amazon.

10. Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo

Start your baby's learning of the ABCs early with the Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo. It features a charming display of bold letters and animal graphics, which you can move around to hang high or low, though the mirror feels cheaply made.
  • different tactile fabrics
  • holds up well in the wash
  • mat is a bit thin
Brand Skip Hop
Model 307300-CNSZP
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Skip Hop Camping Cubs

A unusual teepee-style design will certainly draw crawling adventurers towards the Skip Hop Camping Cubs, while the precious forest creatures and prints will add plenty of charm to any nursery. It's a must-have for outdoor-loving families.
  • adorable bear-shaped pillow
  • adorned with several textures
  • toys hang at awkward heights
Brand Skip Hop
Model 307900-CNSZP
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Infantino Grow-With-Me

The Infantino Grow-With-Me is a 2-in-1 playground that will keep your baby stimulated for hours. Not only is it a fully loaded gym, but it also transforms into a fun ball pit, with 40 multicolored balls that can be stored in the turtle's head when not in use.
  • teaches tidiness
  • also great for toddlers
  • isn't machine washable
Brand Infantino
Model 206-747
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

7. Skip Hop Treetop Friends

The Skip Hop Treetop Friends boasts a beautiful gender-neutral forest theme with loads of activities for developing a baby's body and mind. Its extra-large mat offers plenty of room for little ones to explore, plus it comes with a tummy time pillow.
  • helps teach cause and effect
  • quick and easy to assemble
  • encourages batting and grasping
Brand Skip Hop
Model 307275
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

6. Bright Starts 5-in-1

Parents of curious children who have a tendency to wander off will appreciate the Bright Starts 5-in-1. Its walls can stand erect to contain your adventurous angel, but you can also lie it flat for a larger play and tummy time area.
  • expands and grows with youngsters
  • highly customizable
  • may not hold up in the wash
Brand Bright Starts
Model 10754
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Baby Einstein Caterpillar and Friends

Every parent wants their kiddo to be a genius, and the Baby Einstein Caterpillar and Friends is an investment in the right direction. It includes flash cards with real-world imagery and a motion-activated plush toy star that flashes to the beat of eight classical tunes.
  • lots of toy attachment links
  • plays music for 20 minutes
  • great at helping improve dexterity
Brand Baby Einstein
Model 90575
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Fisher-Price Kick & Play Piano

If you think you may have a musical prodigy in the making, take a look at the Fisher-Price Kick & Play Piano. As your infant wriggles, he'll be rewarded for his movement as his feet activate cheerful tunes from the keyboard.
  • keyboard is removable to take along
  • lots of different songs
  • well-cushioned pad
Brand Fisher-Price
Model FGG45
Weight 4.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. Fisher-Price Rainforest Deluxe

The Fisher-Price Rainforest Deluxe is a real crowd-pleaser for babies and parents alike, featuring over 10 activities with attention grabbing lights and sounds. The toucan toy can be removed easily for interactive, on-the-go entertainment.
  • two modes of play
  • beautiful satin border
  • mirror for tummy time fun
Brand Fisher-Price
Model DFP08
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Bright Starts Charming Chirps

The Bright Starts Charming Chirps is a good choice for parents on a budget. It comes in three different styles to suit your taste and folds up in a snap for portability. The teether will come in handy, too, for munchkins who are eating up things they shouldn't.
  • includes a cute rattle
  • lightweight and easy to carry
  • benefits breast cancer charities
Brand Bright Starts
Model 52170
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Skip Hop Explore-and-More

The Skip Hop Explore-and-More will keep both you and your cooing cutie entertained for a long time — and might be a source of some of his embarrassment when he grows up and brings friends home, as a hidden cell phone pouch lets you photograph your munchkin secretly.
  • all toys are held securely in place
  • extra-large activity arch
  • the plush fox dances
Brand Skip Hop
Model 303300-CNSZP
Weight 7.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Your Baby Needs to Play

You might think your baby is an immobile blob in those first few months of his life, but he's actually taking in his environment and learning everything that he can. The right activity gym can help your baby interact with his environment.

A baby's activity gym activates all five of his senses. When your baby is grabbing for the toys hanging above his head, he's developing his motor skills. When he's hanging out on the tummy time pillow, he's improving his head and neck strength and preparing his body for crawling.

When he touches the different textures and looks at the vibrant colors, he learns about the environment around him. If his activity gym plays music or has crinkling material, he is exploring the sounds in his surroundings.

In addition to the physical benefits and the improvement of the senses, activity gyms are developed so that they stimulate brain activity and imaginative play. The varying colors, textures, and shapes allow them to explore and learn about their surroundings.

Play and interaction are crucial to your little one's development. It's important to choose a toy like the activity gym that is going to encourage him to interact with his environment.

Activity gyms have the added benefit of keeping babies entertained for several minutes at a time. If you're a new parent, you will not only want a baby activity gym for the intellectual and physical benefits, but you'll be ecstatic to have a few moments to put your baby down so you can eat a meal (hopefully while it's hot) or head to the bathroom.

Your Baby Needs to Move Around

Scientifically speaking, it is crucial to your baby's physical development that he be moved into different positions throughout the day. Babies who are left to lay on their backs for extended periods of time can develop flat head syndrome which is difficult to correct (and good luck finding a hat that fits).

Health care professionals often recommend that babies be moved from back to tummy to side positions during their waking hours. This helps to avoid physical complications and improve physical development.

That's why baby activity gyms are such great inventions. Even if your baby is laying on his back during play, the toys hanging above his head are going to encourage him to move his head side to side as he shifts his focus. This can happen just by hanging the toys to the side instead of directly above his head.

Activity gyms that come with a tummy time pillow can give babies who despise tummy time a little extra encouragement and comfort. Who wants to lay flat on the floor for several minutes a day with nothing soft underneath? I know I don't.

If your baby needs some time on his side, the activity gyms that come with the attachable mirrors that are great for getting baby to focus on something other than the wall.

Baby activity gyms are especially beneficial in the first three months when your little one is hitting those milestones one right after the other. Many are designed to grow with your baby, so you'll get a lot of use in that first year.

Oh, How Times Have Changed

The exact history of the baby activity gym is unclear, but what is clear is our ever-increasing knowledge of the benefits of toys for babies and children.

Since the earliest documented history, children have been playing with toys. Sometimes those toys were just sticks and rocks. Sometimes they were fortunate enough to have hand-crafted toys made specifically for play.

Around the 18th century, children were beginning to be recognized as separate human beings. This means that more focus was placed on their happiness in childhood rather than how their presence benefited their families. This was known as the Enlightenment Era for toy development. This is the era when rocking horses, puzzles, toy wagons, and other popular toys were developed.

The 20th century saw a rise in the middle class resulting in more families being able to afford toys for their children. Some popular toys (like Silly Putty) were even created by accident during the second World War. Toys that enhance creativity in babies and children grew in popularity and became staples in American homes with children.

Today's parents fully recognize the benefits of toys from an early age, sparking the creation of toys such as the baby activity gym. The colors, textures, and sometimes sounds found with an activity gym are beneficial for a baby's physical and cognitive development.

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Last updated on May 03, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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