Like their parents, babies need a good workout every day. As their minds and bodies develop, they need a place where they can practice using their new muscles while also developing their cognitive abilities. Baby floor gyms (or activity gyms) are designed to afford both physical and mental workouts for babies. These pieces of baby equipment vary widely in appearance and accessories, but are basically the same. All baby gyms include a soft fabric play area and arches that allow parents to hang toys over their baby's play area. Beyond those basics, there are several finer details parents should consider before making their purchase.
Ultimately, a baby's activity gym is all about keeping baby entertained and stimulated, so of course it's important to consider the different toys that accompany whatever baby babys a parent may be considering. Floor gyms vary greatly in this arena. Some are quite simple with a rattle, plush animal, and mirror while others are accompanied with all the bells and whistles: teethers, rattles, mirrors, plush animals, pillows, pull-up flaps, and motion-activated music and lights. Some parents, not yet knowing what toys their child prefers, may appreciate the full range of toys some activity gyms come with; other parents may prefer to avoid over stimulating their child with unnecessary and noisy accessories.
As with any baby gear, safety should be a primary concern when shopping for baby gyms. Parents should make sure that the arches hanging over the play area are tall enough that dangling toys will not bump baby in the head. All toys should be securely fastened and mirrors should be unbreakable.
Before purchasing a floor gym, parents need to ask themselves how often they intend to travel with it. Like the Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym, some gyms pop open with one motion and are designed to fold with a simple twist. Others come in separate pieces that must be assembled and disassembled for travel. Even parents who do not intend to travel much with their activity gym may want to purchase one that can easily put away when not in use.
Let's face it: parents are just as easily walked by visually appealing objects as their children. Baby gyms vary from simple black and white patterns to wild and colored patterns. Although baby's stimulation is the ultimate goal, parents should not purchase an activity gym that is unappealing to them-with the number of floor gyms available on the market, there's absolutely no need to.