Top 7 Activity Centers For Babies

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An activity center will help to develop your baby’s motor skills while keeping them entertained. It will also spare you those few minutes to fix a few things, or just lie on the couch and REST. We moms all need that. 

image of activity centers

They are a safe space for your child to play in. The toys are baby-friendly, and as long as you buy the right one for your child’s age, size and needs, you will not face any problems. 

Below are the best activity centers you should consider for your baby.

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Our Best Picks

  1. Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Activity Center – Overall Best Activity Center
  2. Bright Starts Disney Finding Nemo Sea Activity Jumper – Best For Toys
  3. Ikea Duktig Mini-Kitchen And Vegetable Set – Best For Foodies
  4. Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo – Best Jumper
  5. Lupantte 7-In-1 Activity Center – Best For Growing With Baby
  6. Evenflo Bounce And Learn Exersaucer – Best For Budget
  7. Summer Pop N Jump Portable Activity Center – Most Portable

What Is An Activity Center?

An activity center is a general term that is used to describe a centralized play area for a child. This area usually has special toys that feed the child’s curiosity and keeps them engaged.

There are different types of activity centers, but you use the smaller ones in your home. They could either be jumpers or exersaucers. All are activity centers. 

Benefits Of Using An Activity Center For Babies

Activity centers are not a must-have for kids, but parents who use them say they are very beneficial. Below are some benefits of using activity centers for kids.

  1. It encourages a baby to sit and stand

Babies that cannot sit unsupported will sit comfortably in an activity center; though they should not be allowed to sit for long.

In the same way, babies can learn to stand as their feet touch the ground from the activity center.

  1. It gives moms the time to do other things

Every mom loves that extra time for themselves. An activity center is a good distraction for a clingy baby. The toys in an activity center are very attractive for babies and stimulating too. 

The toys awaken curiosity in a child and keep them engaged for a long, while you wash, clean, or rest. 

  1. It aids the development of vital skills in babies

Babies can develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination with the toys in an activity center. They will learn to grab items, and even explore them with their mouths.

Some activity centers promote learning and language development. A child will learn to identify shapes, animals, and colors from an activity center.

  1. It exercises your baby

Bouncy babies are always full of energy, and it can be tiring to carry them. An activity center will not just burn off this energy, but exercise their bodies too.  

They will stretch to hold the toys and bounce on the seat, not your body.

How To Choose The Best Activity Center For Your Baby

Many things should influence your choice of an activity center.

They are:

  1. Your baby’s age

Manufacturers design activity centers for kids of different ages. The activities in some centers are more challenging than others. 

Your child will be bored playing with a toy that they consider lame.

Also, considering your baby’s age and the recommendation of the manufacturer makes the center safer for your baby. 

  1. Jumper or mat?

Not all babies love to jump, some prefer to lie or sit calmly, playing with their toys. The latter will not appreciate a jumper. Instead, they will want an activity mat. 

Also, activity mats are more suitable for younger babies who can’t crawl or walk. Babies who haven’t developed neck strength can also play with the mats. Jumpers are more suitable for older babies and toddlers.

  1. Toys included

The toys in an activity center are meant to stimulate a baby to play. A hyperactive child may burn out all their energy playing with them. 

If your child is sensitive, you will need an activity center with less stimulating toys. Child-friendly mirrors may not be necessary for them.

  1. Your baby’s sensitivity to sound and light

A loud activity center may scare your baby if she is sensitive to sound. So will a brightly lit activity center work on a baby that is sensitive to light

Watch how your baby reacts to sound and light. If your baby dislikes lights that quickly change color, you should get them a calmer-feeling activity center. Activity centers with an ocean theme are usually more calming. 

7 Best Activity Centers

  1. Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Activity Center – Overall Best Activity Center
Photo of Skip Hop Silver Lining activity center

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The stylish design of this activity center makes it an item of choice for most parents. It is chic and more beautiful than other great models.

It has about 25 activities for your baby to enjoy, with light or piano and moving toy. The seat rotates 360 degrees, and it also has a peekaboo window for your child to see her feet while playing the piano.

This activity center has an adjustable height platform which will be very helpful as your child grows. Even when they outgrow it, you can convert the activity center into a play table. Your toddler can use this table as a chalkboard or for coloring.

The downside to this activity center is that they do not bounce. Another is that you must buy the batteries required for this activity center because they are not attached to the package.

This activity center is suitable for babies 4 months old and above.

Pros

  • It is super stylish
  • It has 25 fun activities including light or piano and movable toys
  • It comes with a snack bowl
  •  It has an adjustable height
  • You can convert this activity center to a toddler table when your child outgrows it
  • It is suitable for younger babies from four months and above

Cons

  • It requires 3 AAA batteries which are not included
  • You can only clean it with a dry cloth
  1. Bright Starts Disney Finding Nemo Sea Activity Jumper – Best For Toys
Photo of Bright Starts Disney Nemo Jumper activity center

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This activity center has an underwater theme which is so exciting for babies to play with. It comes with toys like a stingray that hangs above, a rollerball fish that produces ocean sounds and dancing lights, and a sea turtle that plays music.

There’s a high tendency that your baby will get attached to the toys. That will not be a problem because some of the toys in this activity center are removable.

Another good thing about this activity center is that the height is adjustable. That means that it will grow with your baby.

Your child will enjoy playing with this activity center because it has more toys than others listed here. They will also enjoy looking at the child-safe mirror which adds a different degree of fun to it.

This item weighs 17. 2 pounds and can take your baby until they weigh 25 pounds.

Pros

  • It is very engaging for the baby
  • It has many toys and activity
  • It has a beautiful sea theme
  • The adjustable height allows it to grow with your baby
  • Some toys are removable for your child to go with

Cons

  • It is a bit expensive
  • The attachment is not very sturdy
  • It consumes space
  1. Ikea Duktig Mini-Kitchen And Vegetable Set – Best For Foodies
Photo of Ikea Duktig Mini-Kitchen And Vegetable Set activity center

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Your foodie can run a full-time kitchen with this kitchen toy from Ikea. They can use the 14-piece vegetable from the same manufacturer or the one from Melissa and Doug.

This kitchen toy is very engaging and your child has a lot to do with it. They can start by bringing in their groceries after shopping. After that, they will decide what to cook and start the preparations.

You can paint this kitchen to customize it. Your kid can also add water to the pump to make it more real. 

It has 3 adjustable heights, so your child can use it for a long time. Shorter kids can play with it even longer. 

The downside to this toy is the assembly. It is quite challenging to assemble, a customer mentioned that it took her husband 2 hours to completely assemble the toy. Another challenge is the price. 

Besides these, their toys are great. It uses sturdy birch wood and will last a long time. 

Pros

  • It is engaging for kids
  • You can use this toy to teach your child organization skills
  • It has three adjustable height settings and will grow with your child
  • It uses a sturdy birch wood
  • The finish is non-toxic and healthy for children
  • You can add more accessories to increase the fun for your child

Cons

  • It is difficult to assemble
  • It is a bit expensive

Jamie Hunt-Parrent loves this play toy

Jamie of Purple Notary Signings said:

“My foster kiddos (3.5 and 2) love the kitchen from Ikea and kitchen accessories from Ikea (veggies, pizza,) and Melissa and Doug (fruit, veggies, pizza, birthday cake, mixer set). We also use these plates from Amazon which are great to use for both pretend play or small snacks that they make themselves.”

  1. Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo – Best Jumper
Photo of Fisher Price Rainforest Activity Center

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If you want a real bouncing effect for your child, this is the activity center to buy. It is the best-selling activity center on Amazon and has many great reviews.

It has a suspended elastic support that gives a bouncy effect to the wild explorer. It also has visually stimulating toys. Some of the most enticing toys in this activity center include a spinning sun, hanging birds, and swinging animals.

This toy seat rotates 360 degrees, to help your child reach all the toys in the activity center. It also has 3 adjustable heights to grow with your child. 

This toy is great for exercising your child. It will stimulate their senses and help them develop fine motor skills.

Your baby can start using this toy when they are at least 4 months old.

Pros

  • It has many stimulating toys
  • It is very bouncy
  • You can wash the seat pad in a washing machine
  • It has three adjustable heights to grow with your baby
  • The seat spins 360 degrees 

Cons

  • This toy is big, but you can fold it up to store
  • It is costly
  1. Lupantte 7-In-1 Activity Center – Best For Growing With Baby
Photo of Lupantte 7 in 1 Activity Center

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This is one of the best activity centers that can grow with your child. They can start using it when they are on their tummy until they grow into toddlerhood. 

This toy does not have any weight or height limit. They can use it until they are tired of the toy.

It is a great choice for a child that doesn’t like sitting on a chair. Your child will also love it if she is not a jumper. 

It is a great mat for learning and exercising. Since it has beautiful animal prints, your child can use it to develop their language skills.  They will lie on the mat while you point at the print and call them by name. 

This activity center is great for twins because it is large and spacious. 

There are two bars that cross each other on the top of the mat. Hence, your baby can still get enticed when lying on her back. She will also try to grab these toys and play with them. 

She will want to go with the child-safe mirror; thank God it is detachable. 

This play mat is suitable for busy moms because it is machine washable. It will also save cost.

Pros

  • It is suitable for twins (the extra large size)
  • There is no age limit
  • It can help your child develop language skills
  • It is soft and has many stimulating toys

Cons

  • It is not suitable for bouncers
  • It doesn’t encourage the child to walk or cruise
  1. Evenflo Bounce And Learn Exersaucer – Best For Budget
Photo of Evenflow Bounce and Learn Exesaucer Activity Center

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This is one of the lightest jumpers on the market. It weighs only 8 pounds and is easy to carry around. 

It is available in three themes, so you can find one that your baby likes. It has enticing toys and the seat spins 360 degrees to allow your child access to all the toys.

The toys are also designed to help your child develop hand and eye coordination, strong core, and fine motor skills. It also has a mobile that helps strengthen your child’s neck. 

They are relatively affordable and suitable for moms on a budget.

You can wash this toy’s seat pad in a washing machine and dry it.  Hence, it is very easy to maintain.

It will grow with your baby, and when they outgrow it, you can convert the seat into a toddler table. Your child can use this table to learn how to walk.

But your baby won’t quickly outgrow this activity jumper because it has three adjustable heights. 

Pros

  • It is affordable, but still fun for kids
  • The seat has springs that make it bouncy
  • It has 3 adjustable heights
  • You can convert the jumper to a table that your child can use to learn how to walk
  • It can strengthen your child’s neck

Cons

  • It does not have any sound feature
  1. Summer Pop N Jump Portable Activity Center – Most Portable
Photo of Summer Pop and Jump Activity Center

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This activity center is great for travel. It is lightweight and comes with a carrying case. You can take it to the park for your baby to play with.

The sun canopy has a UV canopy that will protect your baby when using this jumper outside. You can use it in the backyard, park, beach, and indoors. 

There are many toys in the activity center. Babies love the rattle, spinner ball, and mirror book. 

Your baby can start using this activity center when they can hold their head up. They can use it until they can no longer sit on the jumper at the highest height.

Pros

  • It has many toys
  • It is foldable and easy to carry around
  • It comes with a carry case
  • It is suitable for outdoor and indoor use
  • It comes with a UV canopy that protects your child when she is outside

Cons

  • Some customers complained that the carry case ripped easily

Conclusion

An activity center can give you that much needed me-time. When you choose the right one, your baby will be so busy exploring the toys that they won’t even notice that you are doing something else. 

However, never go too far from your baby in an activity center.

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