Baby play gym is one of the “must” items on any new parents’ shopping list. The “best” and the most popular play gyms are overloaded with bright colors, plastics, buttons to push, loud music and everything else to completely overwhelm the new baby. Imagine being dumped onto one of those after being in the dark for nine months?

I believe the following five play gyms to be the healthiest, as they offer the baby an opportunity to learn and grow without overwhelming its immature nervous system.



1. Skip Hop Activity Gym $60

This play gym offers an ample opportunity for changing the hanging toys. The plush texture makes it a pleasant place to lie on and the colors are subdued. The baby can learn the animal faces and touch the different patterns on the play carpet.

A little pillow is included to help support baby, if needed. The only disadvantage to this play gym in my mind is the absence of different texture fabrics on the carpet part. It would be fun to have more tactile stimulation.
I like this gym because it’s small, portable and different-looking. It’s soft, colorful and not “too busy.”  The hanging toys can be changed. I also like the price. The problem with this gym is the size. There is not a lot of room for rolling over and crawling, but the gym can fit into a small apartment. This play gym is also available in other colors and varieties: Happy Hippo is my personal favorite.
3. Pam Grace Creations Baby Bear Gym $50
Calming colors, simple patterns : everything a baby needs for a peaceful transition into this world. The price is on the high side and the gym is somewhat boring.
I love this play gym and the reason why I didn’t put it higher on my list is it’s price. Otherwise, it has everything a baby needs:nice hanging toys, plush fabric, black and white patterns, pleasant colors.

This one is my absolute favorite! I bought it from ebay a few months ago and the seller shipped it on time and in great condition. The same playmat is available in other varieties, such as “bear” in lighter beige and in day/night patter. It’s soft, calming, interesting to babies. The minuses are :not enough hanging toys and the mat is on the small side. Otherwise, it is plush, it has a built-in plastic mirror, it includes fun things for babies to pull on and fabrics that make noise. It ships form Hong Kong and I was only able to find it on ebay.