The 10 Best Baby Mobiles

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This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in July of 2015. The right mobile will aid your baby in getting some shuteye and provide visual stimulation for early development. These soothing and colorful options include models that hang from the crib and the ceiling. They're available in a wide variety of styles to brighten up your nursery and match different types of decor. As a rule, these should always be hung safely out of an infant's reach. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Fisher-Price Butterfly Dreams

2. Lambs & Ivy Jungle Safari

3. Shiloh Baby Car & Plane

Editor's Notes

April 16, 2020:

Many a parent considers a baby mobile a must-have for their infant's nursery, since they can add to the decor while providing visual stimulation and some soothing at bedtime. Some conveniently match baby bedding sets from the same manufacturer, while others are handmade by skilled artisans, like the Flensted Shoal of Fish and the IGE Birds of a Feather.

In today’s update, we added in the Fisher-Price Butterfly Dreams, which features three plush bears in costumes with wings. It boasts a soft pastel color scheme and unlike many others, can be set to play lullabies for up to a whole 30 minutes. It also projects a calming starry light show on the ceiling or wall. It offers three audio modes and comes with a convenient remote control. It replaces the Fisher-Price Precious Planet, which we removed amidst various complaints regarding the quality, including the volume not getting loud enough and the projected images being blurry.

Another new addition is the Lambs & Ivy Jungle Safari, which treats your bundle of joy to "Brahms' Lullaby," "Rock-A-Bye Baby," and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" as they watch twirling plush elephants, a giraffe, and a lion. This one comes with a dedicated on-off switch, and matching bedding is also available from the manufacturer. The Trend Lab Baby Barnyard also warranted a spot on our list, with four endearing and friendly farm friends that dangle from a green leafy canopy and move along with a soothing song. For a model with both colorful and black and white elements, look to the Tiny Love Into The Forest, which has a lot to offer, including 2 volume settings, a calming nightlight, and the sounds of nature or classical melodies – but you’ll need to purchase the required batteries separately.

We also replaced the portable Manhattan Toy To Go with the Manhattan Toy Stim, its counterpart that’s made for use in a nursery. What makes this one stand out from the rest is it comes with 10 interchangeable cards that feature graphics of varying complexity. It comes with directions on swapping them out in the mobile based on your child’s age.

Keep your baby safe by making sure the mobile does not hang within arm’s reach, and remove the mobile from the crib area as soon as your child is able to push himself or herself up on the hands and knees. These rules are important to follow, since small pieces and strings can present a danger. Whichever one you purchase, register it with the manufacturer so they can keep you apprised of any product recalls or potential safety hazards.

Special Honors

Baby Jives Luxe Star and Cloud Mobile Bring an eye-catching rendition of the night sky to your little one’s nursery with this mobile that features a hand-made fluffy cloud and hanging metallic leather stars. It makes for a great shower gift, as it’s packed in an organza drawstring bag with a removable hang tag, and it comes with extra mono-filament string for installation. Manufactured in the United States, it goes nicely above a crib or a changing table.

Felted Pink Roses Musical Mobile This whimsical mobile consists of rows of hanging roses to help entice your baby to sleep. It’s equipped with a sound box that plays "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" for three-and-a-half minutes straight. It’s made with a bamboo frame and polyester felt flowers. A compatible hanging arm is sold separately in gray, white, or espresso.

4. Trend Lab Baby Barnyard

5. Tiny Love Into The Forest

6. Manhattan Toy Stim

7. IGE Birds of a Feather

8. Tiny Love Princess

9. I Love Bub Toy

10. Flensted Shoal of Fish

Slumber And Stimulation At The Same Time

Mobiles can also attach to either the crib's headboard or foot board, which some consider safer than having the device suspended directly over the infant's body.

As a growing baby's mind is like a sponge at such an early age; proper stimulation and relaxation is integral to forming their personality and experiences. Since eyesight and recognition of visual cues and sounds are part of this early stimulation, a crib mobile is an excellent way to both fascinate your little one and soothe them into a gentle slumber. But before we delve into the product from a baby's perspective, we must first define exactly what a mobile is.

From a creative point of view, a mobile is a type of kinetic sculpture consisting of several rods from which weighted objects are hung to create a sense of balance. Each rod of a mobile typically hangs from just one string, which allows it to spin or rotate freely on its axis. All of the objects built into the mobile are designed to balance one another horizontally so that the entire device is free to move as the objects remain suspended in the air. One of the advantages to a baby mobile in a nursery is that it's very easy to theme with respect to colors, objects, and symbols. The most popular themes include colored animals, clowns, and even licensed Disney characters like Mickey Mouse or Winnie the Pooh.

Baby mobiles come in two functional forms, ceiling-mounted and crib-mounted. Ceiling-mounted mobiles are hung from a screw hook drilled into the ceiling of a baby's room, while the crib-mounted variety are attached directly to the rail or frame of a baby's crib. Crib-mounted mobiles tend to have more elaborate objects on them because they can support additional weight when attached to a sturdy crib frame, as opposed to being suspended from a single point on a ceiling. Mobiles can also attach to either the crib's headboard or foot board, which some consider safer than having the device suspended directly over the infant's body.

Regardless of how the device is placed, it should be well out of a baby's reach to prevent choking or injury. Some mobiles are wind operated, meaning that a natural slight breeze from an open window will allow the device to spin. However, these have become less popular in favor of mechanical, battery-operated mobiles powered by an electric motor. Many mechanical mobiles also feature built-in musical themes that can include wind-up operation for playing lullabies or licensed music from children's films. Additional features for mobiles include flashing lights, removable toys that baby can play with when not in the crib, glow-in-the-dark objects, and even the ability to remotely control the devices.

In addition to visual stimulation for an infant, baby mobiles offer several other advantages. They will liven up most any nursery while enhancing the appearance of a crib itself. This also serves to fuel a baby's learning and mental stimulation when he or she has something fascinating to look at. These devices also serve to develop a baby's motor skills with eye movements to follow the hanging toys and the eventual desire to reach out and play with the objects as the baby grows. Relaxation is another important benefit provided by the device, particularly if baby is fussy and difficult to lull to sleep. The mobile can be an excellent alternative, especially if it plays soothing music to calm a little one down.

Let Baby's Imagination Run Wild And Mobile

The first consideration one must make when choosing a baby mobile is where the device should be hung. This will determine the type of mobile to invest in. If it's important for the baby to be able to see the mobile and its toys, then a crib-mounted option is the way to go. This offers the benefit of being more interactive than one installed on the ceiling, assuming the toys are safe to touch and play with.

The objects attached to the mobile should vary in both shape and color to give your baby the proper stimulation and to maintain interest.

The objects attached to the mobile should vary in both shape and color to give your baby the proper stimulation and to maintain interest. On that same note, the way the mobile moves can also have an effect on how much interest your child will have in the device. Try to find a mobile with objects that spin both horizontally and vertically.

The shape of the crib is also important, as not all mobiles fit every crib style. It's important to take measurements of the crib while paying attention to whether its rails are rounded or square for ensuring a proper fit.

Think of the theme you prefer to have in your nursery, as this can determine the colors, shapes, and types of toys the intended mobile will have in order to complement the design of the room. The good news is that many options are available, so it shouldn't be too hard to find a mobile that closely matches your nursery's decor.

Since music offers many calming and therapeutic benefits for both babies and older children, a mobile with a built-in lullaby or other theme can only be an asset for calming your little one after a trying day. However, consider how the musical theme will operate on the device and how often it will need to be restarted, particularly if it operates with a wind-up mechanism.

A Brief History Of Baby Mobiles

Mobiles have existed in the form of wind chimes for thousands of years. People of ancient Greece, Rome, and Asia would construct these mobiles out of bronze or glass, often with bells attached to them and hung outdoors for good luck or to ward off evil spirits.

As an art form, the mobile didn't become popular until the beginning of the twentieth century. American sculptor and engineer Alexander Calder is considered the original inventor of the mobile around 1932, crafting sculptures equipped with circus animals made from wire and wood. At this point in time, the device was synonymous with the concept of kinetic art.

That said, Calder's invention sparked the birth of the mobile as a nursery tool (made from less dangerous materials, obviously) and as a way to entertain a resting child. Today, the device is available in many different forms, styles, colors, and themes, which means the sky is the limit for a parent and child's imagination.

Karen Bennett
Last updated by Karen Bennett

Karen Bennett lives in Chicago with her family, and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found practicing yoga or cheering on her kids at soccer games. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s in English, and her writing has been published in various local newspapers, as well as “The Cheat Sheet,” “Illinois Legal Times,” and “USA Today.” She has also written search engine news page headlines and worked as a product manager for a digital marketing company. Her expertise is in literature, nonfiction, textbooks, home products, kids' games and toys, hardware, teaching accessories, and art materials.

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