Which baby activity centers are best?
Baby activity centers can help you keep your child safe, engaged and entertained while you’re making dinner or folding laundry. They feature sounds, lights and toys strategically placed to give you the security you need and the independence and entertainment your child needs. The Skip Hop Explore and More Baby’s View 3 Stage Activity Center is a first-class baby activity center.
What to know before you buy a baby activity center
Consider the kinds of baby activity centers
Kinds of activity centers include the stationary jumper, exersaucer and stationary activity center.
- Stationary activity centers have fabric-covered seats in the middle of the frame with toys attached. The seats are attached to springs so your child can jump.
- Exersaucers are similar to stationary centers, but have a plastic base between the floor and your child’s feet.
Think about the center’s convertibility
Many activity centers can convert into something else for a different use, especially as your child grows. Some turn into play centers with mats for newborns, while others become stationary play tables or walkers for toddlers.
Number, kind and location of the toys
Some activity centers have just a few toys on the front while others have dozens of toys. Consider what the toys do, as well as their location. Many of them promote physical and cognitive development.
What to look for in a quality baby activity center
Music and lights
Think about whether you want the activity center to play music. It might be entertaining for your child, but could easily get annoying and frustrating for you. Some centers play only a couple of songs, while others play up to 12, which means you are less likely to get tired of hearing them over and over again.
Some centers have seats that rotate a full 360 degrees, which is entertaining for your child and allows them to track you while you walk around the room.
If you want to take the center with you when you travel, you need to find a portable center. Collapsible or foldable centers are the simplest to transport.
How much you can expect to spend on a baby activity center
Baby activity centers vary in price from less than $50 to more than $100. The most inexpensive baby activity centers cost less than $50, while mid-range centers range from about $50 to $100 and high-end centers go for more than $100.
Baby activity center FAQ
Are there baby activity centers with screens for cartoons or videos?
A. There are none with built-in screens, but some have smartphone holders attached so your child can watch the screen on your smartphone. Keep in mind that the smartphone could be within grabbing distance for your child, so supervise while they’re watching anything on your phone.
At what age is your child too big to use the baby activity center?
A. It’s probably time to put the center away or convert it to another configuration when your child begins crawling out of it or can stand flat-footed with the center at its maximum height. A stationary center can be frustrating or unsafe as your child gains mobility, and they may lose interest in it even if they are still small enough to safely fit inside.
Do baby activity centers pose a tipping hazard?
A. The wider the base, the sturdier the center will be, and most centers have a base wide enough that tipping is not a problem. Still, as you adjust the seat’s height and raise the play area, it’s simpler for your child to push the center over, so keep an eye on them as they grow.
Do baby activity centers come with safety harnesses?
A. Safety harnesses are unnecessary due to the depth of the centers’ seats.
What are the best baby activity centers to buy?
Top baby activity center
What you need to know: This educational, entertaining center has an adaptable design that grows as your child grows.
What you’ll love: It includes a wide range of movable toys and up to 25 developmental activities. Later, it will convert into a sleek table you can use for several years.
What you should consider: There is not much bounce in this activity center, and it comes with a snack tray that frequently falls off.
Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s
Top baby activity center for the money
What you need to know: This versatile product works as a push-along walker, a regular walker, a jumper and a stationary activity center.
What you’ll love: It folds down and rests in the frame for storage and comes with a removable, machine-washable seat. It includes 20 activities to encourage language, mental and physical development.
What you should consider: The wheels on this activity center can be slightly sticky on carpet flooring.
Where to buy: Sold by Buy Buy Baby
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This activity center is full of fun, engaging activities, but the bounce is the biggest benefit for many babies.
What you’ll love: It comes with plenty of activities to stimulate your child’s physical and cognitive development, as well as adjustable sides and removable play elements for customizable play.
What you should consider: It could use some more moving pieces for developing your child’s fine motor skills.
Where to buy: Sold by Buy Buy Baby
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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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