Best Baby Activity Center Reviews in 2018
It’s no secret that babies feel the need to kick, jump, scoot, and crawl when they are about four months old and up until they’re walking. A baby activity center is a great way to help your child grow and learn in a safe and convenient environment while giving busy parents a break.
The Value of a Baby Activity Center
Baby activity centers are a piece of equipment you never knew you needed until you had a baby. It becomes an essential part of keeping a happy home and your baby entertained while also teaching motor and sensory skills. After you place your child in a baby activity center for the first time, you soon come to understand that you simply can’t live without it. But before you buy one, you need to know what to look for so you can get maximum value to go along with the fun as your child grows.
Being a parent can get pretty chaotic. Besides taking care of the baby (which is enough in itself) there are many other things you need to do. You still need to shower, take out the trash, answer the phone, and much more. A baby activity center offers convenience so that you're free to do all you need to do while providing your child with a safe, fun activity. And if the baby activity center is collapsible and portable, you can take it with you no matter where you go so you can enjoy getting out once in a while. The educational features of baby activity centers are important, but your greatest appreciation will be in the freedom it gives you.
Safe Playing Environment
Your child’s safety is of upmost importance at all times, and that means it’s not enough to just sit your child in just any baby activity center. In the past, baby activity centers easily tipped over as soon as your child started jumping, which meant your child got easily hurt. Some of the cheaper models still do this, so it’s important to choose a baby activity center that solidly stays upright no matter what happens. It needs to have a sturdy, non-skid frame that balances on any surface and doesn’t slide around. Be prepared to spend upwards of $100 to get the safest models (they usually have more toys too, bonus!). It's money well spent.
Develops Gross and Fine Motor Skills
Good baby activity centers provide activities that allow your child to spin, jump, rock, and reach so their large muscle groups can grow stronger. They also enhance your child’s hand-eye coordination and sense of balance. Pushing buttons, sliding beads, and making things rattle all add to developing fine motor skills too, which is important for your child to learn how to hold a spoon or a crayon, and later pens and pencils for school.
Enhances Sensory Skills
Baby activity centers with toys that offer different textures, colors, music, and sounds all help to develop your child’s sensory recognition and perceptions. Children with good sensory skills, along with your guidance, are typically better prepared for school when the time comes because they have an enhanced thought process, longer attention spans, increased alertness, and better social skills.
Let’s face it. Baby activity centers are just plain fun, for both your child and you. The lights, music, and action all add to the beautiful experience of having a baby in the family. You’ll find yourself playing right along with your child and singing the songs, all the while creating special moments you’ll never forget.
Your baby is growing more every day. A baby activity center is a safe and fun way to help your child learn and play while giving parents a break when they need it.
Five Best Baby Activity Centers
Baby activity centers have become essential equipment for both babies and parents. We’ve picked five that we think are your best options with one being our favorite. All of them are mid-range priced, have educational components, and are easily found in stores. We also made sure they all have a seat that swivels 360 degrees because that's important to babies. Please keep in mind that all baby activity centers are designed specifically for children who weigh at least 15 pounds and can hold their head up unassisted. Do not put your child in a baby activity center if your child is unable to do this.
Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo
The Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo has music and lights that reward your child when a drum is spun around while another toy activates with bouncing and hand movements. It has an adjustable volume control, for which many parents are thankful, as well as a setting for four minutes of continuous music. The rotating seat makes for easy reaching of tactile toys including ones that hang down from two, soft leaves that form a canopy over your child’s head. A sturdy base provides safety and comfort as your child swivels and jumps while building muscles, and it has three height positions so it can be adjusted as your child grows. The frame pivots down to a nested position for easy storage and portability. It weighs only 15.8 pounds and only requires 3 “AA” batteries. The Rainforest Jumperoo is a great consideration when you’re looking to buy a baby activity center.
Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center, Life in the Amazon
The Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center has three levels of play. First, there’s a playmat with hanging toys for babies who are 0-4 months old and ready for tummy time. Next is the Exersaucer with 11 different toys and music to help your child reach 10 developmental milestones. Anchoring feet keep it stable as your child bounces around. It can also split apart to create an “S” shaped table that your child can walk around and explore. Other features are “Take With Me” toys, three height positions, a machine washable seat pad. It folds down flat for easy storage and travel with a convenient carrying handle. It requires 9 “AAA” batteries, weighs a bit more than other baby activity centers, and the buttons don’t always work. But with all the different ways your child can play with it, it may be the only one you ever need.
Bright Starts Around We Go 3-in-1 Activity Center, Zippity Zoo
The Bright Starts Around We Go 3-in-1 Activity Center is unlike any other baby activity center. The seat is on the outside of the activity table and revolves around it 360 degrees. Once your child can walk, the seat can be removed so your toddler can continue to play. It’s equipped with 15+ activities including a piano station with three different play modes- melodies, piano notes, and animal sounds, a fun flip book that activates colorful characters and sounds, and interactive animals that pop up and spin. A palm tree designed for teething is an added bonus. One drawback is it can have a tendency to tip over, which could become a safety issue. However, if your child is able to reach the floor and move unassisted, you will likely not have this problem. It’s easy to assemble and break down. Three “C” batteries are required.
Baby Einstein Activity Jumper Special Edition, Neighborhood Friends
The Baby Einstein Activity Jumper has four lateral, elastic supports attached to a cloth-covered frame so the bouncing occurs more overhead instead of your child jumping up. It has 12+ activities including a light-up piano that has three play modes- piano notes, classic melodies, and silly sounds. Like other Baby Einstein products, there is also a language discovery feature that introduces your child to English, French, and Spanish, plus counting numbers. There are additional link loops attached to the activity tray so you can add your child’s own favorite toys. Other features include a small tray area for finger foods, a washable seat pad, and five height adjustments. Requires 3 “AA” batteries. One drawback is that it doesn’t fully fold down or collapse like other baby activity centers. Overall, this is a great baby activity center for children older than four months. Lots of interactive fun and educational too.
Evenflo Exersaucer Jump and Learn Jumper, Jungle Quest
Evenflo worked with the Child Development Institute on this Exersaucer to help babies achieve certain developmental milestones as they grow and strengthen muscles and improve gross motor skills through spinning, jumping, and rocking. A soft jump pad attached to the base helps with coordination and stability. More than 17 activities all engage babies with lights, music, sounds, and textures. Evenflo’s “Take With Me” detachable toys allow you to take the fun with you wherever you go. You can even add or substitute your child’s favorite hanging toys. It has three height adjustments and a machine washable seat pad. Unfortunately, it does not collapse or fold down for storage or portability and takes up a large amount of floor space. But if you’re not intending to carry it around, this baby activity center may be a good fit for your child. Requires 6 “AAA” batteries.
The Rainforest Jumperoo is the only one with motion detection to set off music and lights, which teaches your child cause-and-effect. Plus, it has many toys that introduce different sounds and textures. It has a continuous music play feature in case your child doesn’t feel so interactive, and it has volume control that many parents may find desirable. A sturdy base allows your child to bounce and jump to build muscles while protecting your child from falling out. The frame folds down small enough that you can store it under a bed or take it with you in the car. It is very lightweight compared to the other baby activity centers and it only requires 3 “AA” batteries.
Though it doesn’t grow with your child quite like the Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center or the Bright Starts Around We Go 3-in-1 Activity Center, the Rainforest Jumperoo still offers more reliability, physical interaction, and fun. With its unique features and sound construction, the Rainforest Jumperoo offers everything your child could ever want or need in a baby activity center.
Being a parent can be stressful sometimes. But with a safe and reliable baby activity center you can relax and do what needs to be done while your child learns new skills, and has hours of fun. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?