- Infant activity gyms encourage developmental milestones by positioning toys for a baby to reach and roll towards, along with encouraging independent play.
- Because of the large mat and developmentally attuned design, the Lovevery Play Gym is our top pick.
Baby activity gyms may not include any barbells, but the popular toy mats play an important role in building the muscles necessary to hit developmental milestones. Instead of squats and push-ups, activity gyms encourage reaching, rolling, grasping, and more.
“Playing on the floor in various positions builds strength, promotes visual motor skills, and generally helps babies get a feel for how their bodies work,” said Claire Heffron, a pediatric occupational therapist who writes for The Inspired Treehouse. “Activity gyms can act as a target object for babies to focus on, reach for, and roll toward.”
But all infant play gyms are not created equal. With the first one that I bought my oldest, he managed to pull the entire rack of toys down on top of himself. Others may be too small, don’t hold up to a baby’s constant tugs, or don’t encourage enough developmentally appropriate movement.
What to look for in a baby activity gym
Baby activity gyms range from basic budget options to larger ones with more versatile toys. Many are toys that are designed to be engaged with in multiple ways, including with baby on their back, tummy, and side. Others are designed for a more specific purpose, like tummy time.