As your child develops physiologically, their curiosity to learn about the phenomena around them increases. As their inspection of the surroundings increases, there is an urge to interact with almost any object they come across. No wonder why you see kids instantly getting attracted to grasp, pinch and explore things with their tiny palms and fingers. Such curiosity is central to their developing motor action & hand-eye coordination but this is one of the most challenging periods for most of the parents.
What is a Baby Activity Centre?
Also known as a toddler’s play centre, the baby activity centre is a set of varying types of toys that have unique functions. The toys are usually embedded or attached to the colourful, compact play zones. The setup could also feature mirrors, buttons, songs and sounds. Equipping your baby’s play-room with unique toys and activity set-ups can help in more ways besides sharpening their cognitive capabilities.
- It allows you to keep your inquisitive child occupied and attend other domestic chores
- Feeds your baby’s curiosity
- Helps your baby develop the connection between thought and motor action faster
- Develops your baby’s experiences with new sounds, colours, textures and movement
- Playing in an activity centre can help your baby explore all in one safe setting.
10 Best Activity Centres for Babies
What would you possibly want more than a fully packed activity centre that caters to the mental and sense-based curiosity of your child? The Roaring Rainforest Jumperoo is an attractive animal and rainforest-themed baby jumperoo that features music, lights and exciting sounds for pleasing the sensory experience of your child. It has been designed to support your baby to reach, grasp, move, groove and jump while playing.
This activity centre for kids shall keep your baby surrounded with lion roller, alligator clicker, butterfly teether, bat-at elephant and hippo – and 2 soft monkeys overhead. The smiling tiger seat is truly worth your admiration. It is portable and foldable to save considerable space in the playroom.
- 12 rainforest toys for activities
- Includes music, lights and other sensory delights
- Dependable safety and convenience features
- The seat pad is machine washable and dryer safe
- Pricey due to the advanced features
- Needs to be assembled manually but is portable and foldable
More activities and theme-based sensory rewards are great for your kid’s motor skills. However, be mindful of the weight and height range since your kid may outgrow it faster than you might have thought.
Here is something that can cater to the foundational learning and basic education of your kid. The Learning cube is meant for kids between 6 months to 3 years of age. It is a great tool to teach your growing baby as they play along.
The cube features alphabet letters, numbers for counting, colours, animal sounds, and musical instruments. Your curious baby could explore and discover so much with a simple press. It can help the child learn the alphabet and numbers with associated music and songs. It has 15 entertaining animal sounds and 12 musical instrument sounds along with 10 fun music to keep your child engaged for hours altogether. Free of BPA, phthalates, and PVC. Conforms to CE EN71, and ASTM F963.
- Award-winning unit
- Has 6 functions on 6 sides of the cube
- Fosters logical and associative thinking
- Lights and music accompany the set for the sensory delight
- Only for entertainment and learning – Not as creative or affordable as units with puzzles and mind-games.
The learning cube is solely meant for learning while growing up. This might necessarily not be the one for your kid as he/she may not like to learn letters and numbers at an early age. It does not work for motor skills and is more about encouraging creativity and memory which is as crucial.
The Skip Hop Explore and More is an investment for a long year of usage. It offers three stages of use: Sit, Swivel and Bounce; cruise and interact; interact play table. The baby activity table has been designed with the assistance of pediatricians to ensure a ‘whole body’ approach.
As your kid grows to about 4 months, the 360-degree rotating seat can allow them to sit, bounce and play with the adjustable seat and table heights. Gradually, as the kid stands, he/she can play in the centre of the table being surrounded by toys. Ultimately as they go past the prescribed weight and height limits, the activity centre can convert into a clean and strong table for the kids to draw, play and study.
- 25+ developmental activities
- 3 stage use, long term utility and long lasting material
- Piano mode, song mode and motion sensor mode
- Easy to assemble, store, reuse in many ways
- Pricey but lasts for a long time use
- Made of plastic
This could be one of the coolest ever settings for your growing baby’s cognitive development and use beyond the years of playing on it. However, make sure you do not leave your kids too much to themselves at the table if you feel they have not learned to balance on the footplate.
The VTech Sort & Discover Baby Activity Cube allows the baby to play and learn. It is useful in igniting the early spark of learning in your baby’s development. Being an educational toy, it introduces your kid to colours, numbers, animals, 5 piano keys and more.
Much like a baby entertainment centre, the activity cube can let your baby understand cause and effect through sliding the animals, turning the book page, flipping the colourful shape blocks, and playing music to stimulate auditory learning. The attractive outlay with beads and gears, monkeys and butterflies toys, promotes eyes and hand coordination.
- 5 interactive sides with Slide, press, roll, flip and more ways of interaction
- Learning through colours, letters, numbers and 75 songs/melodies/phrases
- Encourages language development, discovery & exploration
- Improves memory and motor understanding
- Plastic built induces a fear of the baby teething the products
It is not a cube that only encourages learning but also improves your baby’s true cognitive skills. Though the activity cube for babies does keep them engaged for hours they might turn out aversive of syntax-based sitting and learning. If your baby is inclined towards playing around mix the setup with some physical gaming settings as well.
This baby entertainment centre, with the Disney Finding Nemo theme, would engage your baby with 13+ activities. For babies who are walking with up to 30” (76cm) height and less than 25lbs. (11 kg) of weight, this is the ultimate setting to have fun with underwater friends.
The 360-degree rotating chair is made with a high-backed seat for added comfort while your baby goes on bouncing around and reaching out for the toys all. It features dancing lights, nautical sweet songs and finding Nemo friends such as the clownfish Nemo, Dory, Bruce, Mr Ray, Squirt and more. The adjustable heights make it all the way easier to help your baby understand the cause and effect of bouncing motion.
- 13+ activities to learn the cause and effect of movement and motions
- Engaging for playtime, allowing bouncing and walking
- Made of polyester and is considerably durable than plastics
- Not suitable until your baby can sit unassisted
- Babies tend to outgrow these play pieces of equipment quickly
Since it is tough to find kids who won’t love Nemo, this activity jumper could turn your baby’s favourite in no time. The study circling may injure babies who engage in too much leaning forward or backwards. So we recommend using added padding to secure your baby from any sort of inconvenience
A baby activity yard creates a safe space for your baby to enjoy his/her playtime. The fence of the playpen has a breathable net that allows you to notice your kid playing. No worries if your kid plays about and falls asleep inside the comfy premises of the pen! The anti-slip pen is excellent in preventing any trip or accident with babies who move too rapidly or impulsively.
The space is unrestrictive within the premise and generally anchors on the floor, therefore, your kid will find the utmost freedom to learn about their movements. The zip mesh allows you to open and close the premise. There is an extra storage space in the playpen and the entire setting is made of durable and cleanable materials.
- A gentle, comfortable and loving environment for kids who love moving about
- Anti-slip, safe and sturdy design with zip-opening panel
- No harmful edges or hard corners to harm your baby
- Extra storage for toys
- Only for kids up to 12 months of age or until the baby learns to climb out
- You need to invent games to engage your little one – the space lacks additions
- A few customers had to add cushioning by themselves
This is more of a traditional activity centre for your kid where you can allow the inventiveness and imagination of your kid to prosper. The texture of toys and their softness assists the baby in developing hand-eye coordination.
This baby table is a great way to initiate the learning process of your baby. It is educational in purpose and definitely does the work of introducing your baby to colours, numbers, animals, shapes, letters and sounds and more.
They feature learning games with sensory learning through eight melodious combinations of sing-along and piano music. Trust me it’s worth the money you spend! It is ideal for kids from 6 months of age to 3 years. This can be an integral addition to your baby’s learning routine. Moreover, the role-play phone and interactive clock encourage imitative yet independent play.
- Learning associatively with light-up buttons and lots of manipulative features
- Easy to store and prolong battery life with a 60-sec automatic shutdown
- Number buttons, spin the clock hand, pick the phone; press the piano keys for colours, hear music notes, turn the book page, press the circle button for letters and shapes
- Depends on your child’s preference for letter learning
- The phone could have been interactive with buttons
What I love the most about the setting is the convenience with which you may add an age-appropriate curriculum to your baby’s learning years in a fun and engaging way. The features at the given price point seem justified as well.
The set is an affordable learning and activity centre for kids up to 1 year of age. It provides a subtle range of sounds and elements that kids love to play with. It features a vivid scene-changing window, a working microphone, car driving, flashing drum, hammer beads, rotary gear, bead roller. Your kid learns to activate a variety of sounds and lights during an interaction with the setting.
It has varying activities to encourage logical thinking in your child’s developmental age, these include, a working piano, bead calculating game, slots for sorting different shapes, animals and colours. It is portable with 5 handles that ensure safe lifting and land.
- 7 activity stations and 9 different activities to keep children entertained
- 22 different sound effects for associative memory and learning
- Safe and portable, doesn’t take up much space
- Affordable and durable
- Does not offer much fancy for varied activities but is worth the spend
- The texture and appearances are budgeted, hence not much attractive
The choice of activity centre is decent, keeping in view the range of activities it offers at the given price. It does not have to be splendid because babies can entertain themselves with almost anything.
Tippi 6 in 1 Baby & Toddler Activity Cube could be a great option for kids who enjoy sitting and playing quietly instead of running around. Interacting with the set could foster fine motor skills in your baby. It takes up interesting shapes and can be moulded into various types or laid flat like a single plate of six interactive games.
Building interesting configurations with the interlocking block can be great for the growing kid. It is suitable for age groups beyond 12 months. Since the product is tested to meet all requisite toy safety standards, you can rely on the purchase. Moreover, it features light-up action, fun sounds and music for a really affordable price point!
- Promotes learning and coordination skills
- Engages the child over configuring the shapes to cube, ring, playmat, tower and more
- BPA free tested to all UK and EU toy safety standards
- Affordable engaging centre
- The parts may come off as a whole so be around as your kid plays.
- Small parts might get bitten off or swallowed by kids
It is an expertly designed set at a wonderfully lower price range. If your kid gets disinterested in things pretty easily, this could be the ultimate setting to go for.
If you have been looking for something for your baby’s muscular as well as mental development, the Baby Play Gym Mat by Vatos could be an excellent product! For kids between 0-3 months, the mat facilitates lying down to exercise limbs by constantly kicking and stretching.
You can help the kid understand the range of motion through gentle assistance in movements. Around 4-6 months of age, the baby can lie on the stomach to enhance the neck, shoulder and back strength. By the time the baby will begin understanding the use of limbs in causing motion. Towards 6-9 months, you can guide the baby in Sitting on the front to develop fine hand movements.
- Assists growth through attracting interaction, movement training, colour perception, sound recognition and learning about animal toys
- Has bonus toys that make sounds to stimulate the child’s hearing
- Premium BPA-free materials, 5 rattle and teething toys, 30 ocean balls, a little house with sensory crinkle paper.
- Not useable beyond a short window of age
- The struts are not sturdy but not harmful either
The baby would be able to quickly learn the cause and effect of limb motions while spending playtime in the mat-cum-gym. It is quite safe for your baby to play and enjoy if they have not yet grown enough to sit on their own. You can easily teach your baby basic limb exercises to kick the hanging toys and get stronger.
How to Choose the Best Baby Activity Centre in the UK
1. Type of Activity Centre
Certain varieties of the baby activity centre can occupy your baby by capturing their interest in different ways. Following are some of the styles you can opt for:
> Baby Activity Table
These are sturdy interactive zones for babies who can stand or toddlers. There could be essential additions like moveable segments, lights, music and attractive colours to engage your kid. If you are planning for some outdoor activity with your kid, the baby activity tables could be of greater help. Neither does your kid need to settle down for playing with it nor do you have to worry about your baby getting bored or uninterested.
> Baby Activity Jumpers
Baby activity jumpers or activity bouncers are seated activity centers without much fancy about them. They are not portable and may take up significant space as compared to baby activity tables. It equips fewer features that do not overstimulate those little brains. Activity jumpers, however, might need your slight presence by the side of your baby that is outgrowing the set-up and may shake it enough to trip.
> Baby Activity Cube
As the name suggests, they are plastic or wooden cube-like settings that feature a wide variety of toys and puzzles to help your child develop sharp cognitive skills. It helps them build a thought and hand connection while learning to gauge the fitting of shapes in their similarly shaped sockets. It is also less expensive than other activity centres for kids.
> Baby Activity Mat
If your baby is a toddler or crawls about the house, a mat could allow them more independence. It stays relevant to your child for years longer than a bouncer or jumper would if your baby grows up to prefer playing on the floor. An activity mat usually has four struts with toys that hang down or float above the baby. This could also be the launchpad where you teach your little one to crawl. This is also a cheaper option to go for.
Many other varieties such as Baby Activity Yard, Baby Activity Ball, Baby Activity Gym and other styles assist in sharpening your baby’s motor control. The purpose is to encourage independent or partly collaborative play. Depending on your budget and preference you may go for any one of them.
The safety of your baby is vital. Your chosen activity centre should:
- Meet the safety guidelines enlisted by the government
For the UK- the activity centre must carry the CE mark and meet the British Toy Safety Standards and EN71.
- Need to be stable and durable
- Not be pinching or pricking your baby’s skin or fingers
3. Age Limit
Check the weight and age advice on the activity table for babies. Leaving a child who is too little or too big for the activity centre can accuse injuries. It will further waste your money.
Any activity centre that allows around 5 types of playing combinations could be great for your kid. You may go for some full range of bells and musical arrangements with mini pianos, lights, horns and so on. Otherwise, you can also buy simple mats with textured fabrics and mini activity cubes.
So here we are at the end of this guide where we have seen the wide range of baby activity centres available for babies to amuse themselves growing up. Do consider selecting the best for your baby and not just an overloaded set to settle down with while he/she might love standing for enjoying an activity.
Laura is a trained primary teacher who takes a profound liking in interacting with and bringing out the best in children. She is also an ISSA certified pediatrician with an extensive practice of over 12 years. Laura comprehends the needs of infants and now compresses her expertise into writing thorough parenting guides to aid new parents.