Best Stationary Baby Play, Activity & Entertainer Center 2015
Your baby's brain goes through significant growth in the first few years of her life.
Choosing an activity play center for your baby will not only help her brain develop, but it will also give her something to do during the day.
With all of my children, I had a few different seats and play centers to rotate them through during the day.
After all, babies do have short attention spans and mixing things up is very helpful.
Understanding Play Center benefits
As your baby reaches for toys, listens to music, and watches lights, different parts of her brain are firing simultaneously and initiating growth in brain cells.
This kind of activity is the beginning of logic and their understanding of cause and effect. Your baby will learn that if they pull on this toy, music will play, or if they kick that toy it will make a rattle sound.
Visual perception is also developed as they start to work on focusing on close by objects. Many activity centers will have bright contrast in colors, and though black and white might seem boring, this contrast actually helps your baby's brain.
Motor development is also being worked on as they reach for toys and learn to manipulate them with their hands.
What kind of activity center do you prefer?
Advantages of Activity Centers for Toddlers
These are typically made to be easy to clean, and many of them, or their parts, can be put in the washing machine.
They are often portable as well, and break down for easier storage.
Many of them, have customizable features. For instance, many activity centers have links where you can hang favorite toys, or remove toys.
Lots of activity centers will also grow with your child by having removable parts, adjustable parts, or simply enough to ways to entertain them through a wide range of developmental stages.
Types of Stationary Entertainer Centers
Play mats include a soft blanket type layer to put on the floor and often feature arches across the top so your baby can lay on his back and look up at toys.
The mat itself usually incorporates bright contrasting colors, as well as different sensory materials. Some of these include crinkly paper, bumpy material, and other textures.
Many play mats also have loops on the bottom mat to hook toys up to so your baby can play while on his tummy.
The arches also have toys that hang and these will vary from model to model. The arches can also be removed when your baby is at an age to sit up on the mat.
These can also come with toys that play music and feature lights and sounds. Keep in mind that the more features you get in a play mat, the more you will pay for it.
Simple play mats are in the range of around $30.00, but those with more features are typically upwards of $80.00 or so.
Seated Activity Centers
The most common type of seated activity center is an exersaucer. These feature a seat in the middle of a roundish shaped table.
The seats in these activity centers are often adjustable to fit your baby's height, as well as when they grow.
Being able to twist around in 360° gives your baby a chance to move around and control over what he chooses to play with.
The trays on these host many different toys which will keep your baby entertained. With these types of activity centers it is important to watch for parts that might pinch little fingers.
Sometimes these also feature removable bars that go across the top for added toys that hang.
A really fun type of activity center comes with a play center that is a stationary table that houses all the toys, while the seat actually sits on the outside of the table but is able to move around 360°.
This gives your baby just a little bit extra movement since it acts like a walker and they can use their legs to propel them around the table.
Features to Look for in Activity centers for Babies
Make sure to examine the type of toys that come with any activity center you are considering. Look for any small or pinching parts that might be a hazard to your baby.
I suggest looking for a wide range of toys that offer differences in sound, perhaps some lights, and shapes.
There are many with soft enough toys that can be chewed on as well. This is great for when babies go through teething stages.
Size and Portability
I always preferred using activity centers that were easy to take from room to room. This makes it nice for your baby to be entertained while you fold laundry, or clean the kitchen, as well as other chores.
Easy to Clean
Make sure that all parts are easy to clean either by wiping down, washing with soap and water, or those that can be put into the washing machine and dryer.
One that should be near the top of your list is the Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Activity Gym. It comes with 17 different activities to keep your infant entertained. I love that there are a total of 13 loops to hang toys from. It also comes with a tummy time pillow to make your baby more comfortable.
Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym
This Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym has a round mat and 17 activities as well. It too comes with a tummy time mat.
For seated play, this Evenflo Exersaucer Bounce and Learn has three adjustments to make for height. It rocks and spins to help your baby’s back, neck and legs get stronger.
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© 2013 Brandon Hart