BABY gyms serve many a purpose in the first several months of baby’s life.
We’ve picked our favourite baby gyms based on the ones we’ve tried and loved and the models parents say are their favourites.
A baby gym is an activity centre of sorts, typically with a mat and arch or bar that features toys, different textures to explore and music.
They're great for stimulating a baby and helping them develop their sight and grasping skills.
Since baby gyms usually have an activity mat, they’re also a great place for baby to lie down when you need a hands-free moment, or when you want your baby to practise their tummy time to strengthen their necks.
You can find wooden baby gym rails which work beautifully on carpet – and are ideal for the minimalist – or colourful, musical baby gyms which can change shape and grow with your baby.
Available at a range of price points, we've rounded up the best baby gyms to help you find the right one for your little one.
1. Best all rounder baby gym
- Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Play Gym, £45 at Argos – buy here
Lights, music and over 10 activities and toys.
This Fisher-Price baby gym grows with your baby, from the lie-down stage to sitting up to standing.
It has long and short musical modes (the long version plays up to 20 minutes of tunes) and can entertain your baby for days, weeks and months to come.
Our favourite bit? Even when the batteries go, babies will love entertaining themselves with the toy animal arch, which has balls that your baby can send shooting down the slides.
2. Best budget baby gym
- Bright Starts Splashin' Safari play mat, £11 at Argos – buy here
There's no reason to spend a fortune on a baby gym if you don't want to.
This great-value design from Bright Starts is colourful, with a tummy time pillow and two toys, including a rattle.
3. Best baby gym with sides
- Baby Einstein 5-in-1 Journey of Discovery, £60 at Amazon – buy here
This baby gym turns into a ball pit for added fun as your little one grows older, and features a colourful world map design, photos of animals, a tummy time pillow, teether, rattle, mirror and more.
Remove the arches for a flat play mat or lift up the sides for ball pit fun.
Much better than a session of soft play at the leisure centre, we think.
4. Best wooden baby gym
- Hess wooden baby activity gym, £45.64 at Amazon – buy here
For parents looking for a more minimalist version of a baby gym, a wooden toy rail is the preferred baby gym of choice.
Not only does it look sleek and stylish, but it's easy to store when not in use and does the job well on carpeted floors (or even positioned above baby's bouncer).
There are many stunning, pricey versions out there.
This colourful one from Hess is great because it allows for assembly at three different heights and has a variety of stimulating toys, including a tinkling bell that is a hit with babies.
5. Best colourful baby gym
- Lamaze Freddie The Firefly Gym Activity Toy, £35 at Argos – buy here
Parents love Lamaze's bright and colourful play gym, which comes with a support cushion and three dangling toys including a mirror, teether and crinkly-winged Freddie the Firefly.
This play gym works well when you want a fun activity centre for baby, but don't need the music and light show and don't want to deal with the hassle of replacing batteries all the time.
6. Best padded baby gym
- Little Bird Told Me – My Little Sunshine – Baby Playmat, £52.75 at Amazon – buy here
This padded baby gym is a hit with parents who want a baby gym that works on non-carpeted floors, providing a bit of extra cushioning for your baby so you don't have to lay them on a hard surface.
It comes with hanging toys like a teething ring, mirror and rattles, a removable musical pull toy (which doesn't require batteries) and a padded pillow for tummy time fun.
7. Best floor cover play mat
- Alphabet play mat, from £11.25 at Amazon – buy here
Not a baby gym per se, but this alphabet mat is really useful for providing a space for babies to lie down or crawl around on.
The foam letters can be connected or built into blocks for endless fun and phonics prep as your baby gets older.
8. Best nest
- Chad Valley Baby Bright Ocean Grow with Me Nest, £14.99 at eBay – buy here
If you're looking for a play gym that doubles as a seat, this Chad Valley inflatable nest has plenty of colours and textures to stimulate baby and transitions from a cushioned nest to a seat once they're able to sit up.
Bonus – it can be used up until baby is three years old.
9. Best neutral activity gym
- Skip Hop Silver Lining cloud activity gym, £68.95 at Amazon – buy here
This Skip Hop play gym is loved by parents because the large size of the cloud activity mat means it works beyond the newborn stage and suits an older baby.
The play arches feature a variety of dangling toys including a rattle, mirror, light-up star and musical sheep, as well as a plush cloud pillow for tummy time.
The neutral palette is easy to team with any decor style.
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