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Curated Experts Can Help You Find the Best Infant Activity Products for You and Your Family
Babies are increasingly active little humans. At first, they move very little, but as they grow, they quickly become alert, engaged, and more powerful with their tiny movements. This is where infant activity products can come into play, assisting with playtime and building motor skills in babies.
Our Baby & Toddler Experts know a great deal about what kids tend to like and dislike, and how to best keep them entertained at different ages. They can offer recommendations for baby play products and help you build a registry with items like activity centers, play gyms, swings, and bouncers, which may not seem essential but will certainly come in handy!
Activity Centers and Jumpers
Everyone loves quality entertainment, and that includes babies! A lot of new parents wonder what babies do in their spare time, and the answer is: whatever you do with them! Activity centers and jumpers are a great way to pass the time. Babies have short attention spans, but if you switch it up enough, it’s easy to fill a day!
Activity centers are stationary play areas with lots of stimulating toys and colors. They are generally made for babies around eight to 12 months old, who have the urge to stand. Some activity centers feature a 360-degree rotating seat that suspends the child with their legs dangling and toes touching the ground. Once they develop enough leg power and upper body strength, they’re able to spin around to face different colorful toys that are fixed to a plastic surface and explore different textures, movements, sights, and sounds that engage their cognitive and fine motor skills.
Jumpers are similar to activity centers except they involve more up-and-down bouncing propelled by the baby’s legs. This helps build leg strength and the muscles a baby needs to stand, while keeping them entertained. Jumpers can be freestanding, like an activity center, or attached to a doorway. Doorway jumpers are fun for babies as they’re extra bouncy, but they don’t usually have as many toys for a child to play with and it should be mounted in a less-used doorway to avoid having to take it down frequently.
Play Gyms and Mats
While an activity center holds a baby upright in a standing position, play gyms and play mats are designed for floor use with younger babies. These play spaces are generally designed for babies between three and six months old to help them develop hand-eye coordination while they try to grab dangling toys.
Play gyms can also be used with younger babies (as young as six to eight weeks old) to help them become more comfortable lying on their stomachs during tummy time or on their backs while looking at the toys above them. Babies in this younger age range don’t need much to look at except you (they can’t see colors at this point and are just starting to recognize you). Be sure to interact and engage with them, especially during tummy time! As your child grows, you can upgrade your play gym as they’re made for various stages of early development.
Swings and Bouncers
There are times when you and your baby can hang out separately. Swings and bouncers are designed for younger babies who are content with sitting, just as long as they’re rocked or have some soothing entertainment features (like toy mobiles or music) to keep them happy.
A swing is essentially a padded chair suspended by a sturdy frame that rocks or sways electronically. Its motions are designed to soothe babies, and swings often include soft toys or mobiles for babies to look at overhead and music for them to listen to.
A bouncer is powered by a baby’s own movement (or by someone else lightly tapping it) and is lighter and more portable than a swing. The best bouncers are responsive enough to move with little baby kicks or arm swings, which helps a baby develop motor skills while supporting them in a seated position. Bouncers and swings both tend to have various levels of recline for use with newborns and infants up to around nine months or younger or whenever they begin to sit up on their own. Age and weight recommendations vary, so be sure to follow manufacturer guidelines.
Talk With an Expert
Trying to decide which infant activity item you should splurge on or which one you actually need? Unsure if your baby is ready for a certain type of playtime activity or product? Curated’s Baby & Toddler Experts can help you answer these questions, as well as assist you in building a registry with various wish-list items, like infant activity centers, play gyms, swings, and bouncers.