An activity gym is similar to a play mat; just add some soft toy bars and dangling toys. Once your baby has graduated from tummy time and has become bored with the play mat, an activity gym can be the next step. Activity gyms are similar enough to provide the same comfort, but different enough to give that extra stimulation your baby needs.
Activity gyms can be fun and exciting for your baby. They are a great way to help your baby strengthen muscles and improve motor coordination. They are also a safe way to introduce new colors, sounds, and textures from a new perspective. Your baby will love reaching for toys suspended overhead on the soft toy bars. The reaching, pulling, and poking will encourage and improve hand-eye coordination and entertain your baby at the same time.
Activity gyms come in a variety of styles. They may be plastic, wooden, or fabric. Fabric gyms with soft fabric toy bars are the most common type of activity gym. Wooden gyms have simple A-frame sides with a connecting bar. Wooden toys hang from the connecting bar: an unbreakable mirror, beads, and wood and string pull toys. Wooden gyms are typically placed over your baby after being placed on a blanket. Many activity gyms include detachable soft toys that make crinkle sounds when squeezed or rattles. Rigid, textured plastic rings that attach to the toy bar can double as textured teethers for your baby when those gums need a massage.
Activity gyms may be quilted or have a waterproof backing for use outside. Some have firm, nubbly rubber reinforcing the corners, perfect for gnawing on when teething. Most fabric activity gyms collapse and fold for easy storage and travel. Some plastic or wooden gyms can be dismantled for storage, but most are permanent once put together.
The most important thing to look for in an activity gym is interesting, colorful pictures or designs and accessories which provide a variety of texture, sound, and visual stimulation. Activity gyms can be fun and well used toys. They provide a quick, clean, soft play area for your baby at home or when traveling and visiting, making them worth the investment.