We bought this play gym for Toby after trying a terrible one from Lamaze. We were looking for something that would entertain him and help develop his attention and coordination skills.
The gym was very easy to set up and was ready to use in minutes. To the eye, the gym is very attractive. It has black and white spots which are great for engaging very young babies when they can only see high contrasts. Some of the attachments are also in black and white, which again is ideal for a small baby. In addition to the high-contrast black and white, there are a variety of colors on the gym’s goals and the actual play mat. Toby loves looking at colors now that he’s a bit older.
The gym comes with several attachments. The best by far is the musical tiger that is attached to the top of the gym. The tiger has 20 minutes of music and flashing lights. Toby can sit and watch them for hours! He waves his little arms and legs when he’s on and the closest he’s ever come to laughing is while he’s laying there looking at the lights. He yells at us if the sound and lights go off so he must love it, in fact he gets more smiles than his dad or me! The musical tiger has 3 settings and 2 different volumes, one setting plays some musical tunes (warning: he will hum these tunes to himself, sing them and even dream about them), and the other setting will play nature sounds: birds, cricket, etc. Toby’s favorite is the music as the lights flicker the most. The third setting is a touch sensitive version of the tunes, it turns off after about 30 seconds of not being touched, not useful right now but I imagine it will be great once Toby is old enough to figure it out. The tiger is also great because he is detachable, which means that he can come with us in his stroller, in his hammock and in the car. I’d say the tiger alone is probably worth the money we spend at the gym. My only criticism of the gym comes here: it would be great to be able to put the tiger on silent and still have the lights on. After a while, listening to the same songs over and over again can get a bit annoying.
The gym comes with quite a few accessories, as I said before, some are black and white and some are colorful. One of the best things about the gym is that you can install these accessories wherever you want and move them around as much as possible, this keeps Toby on his toes. It also comes with extra hoops so you can attach your own toys, there are many different places you can hang or attach your items. Toby’s second favorite toy is what we call the ‘Jingly Tiger’. As his name might suggest, Jingly Tiger jingles when hit. Toby loves the sound it makes and his coordination has improved so much since Jingly Tiger hangs over him on the mat. The gym also has a zebra rattle which is currently hanging on Toby, but I suspect it will make a great standalone toy when he is older. The other accessories include a butterfly and leaf teethers which are purely decorative for now, though they do make a fun noise when they bang against the other hanging toys. Toby’s a little young for teethers, but the leafy ones in particular feel lovely, so I imagine it’ll be a big hit once he’s old enough.
The gym also comes with a removable mirror that can be attached to the side of the gym, again I think this will be more useful for when Toby is a bit older. The last thing that comes with the gym is a giraffe pillow. This is meant for when your baby is trying to do mini push ups. The idea is that the giraffe can be placed under your baby’s arms for support. I’ve tried it a few times with Toby and he’s not very impressed, I think it’s a bit early. That said, the only place you’ll even remotely entertain the idea of tummy time is on your gym mat.
The gym also folds in half with the arches still attached, making it very easy to transport or hide away. The arches are also removable for when the baby is a little bigger and just needs a comfortable mat to sit on.
Overall the mat is one of the best purchases we’ve ever made, we use it multiple times a day and it’s well worth the money. Sometimes if Toby has a little trouble settling in, or if I need to get on with other things, I can put him on his mat and he’s entertained. Most of the time, he falls asleep on his mat (and then wakes up to yell at you because the music has turned off), so I often put a small pillow under his head and a blanket over him and let him sleep for a while. a little. I would definitely recommend this mat from newborn and I imagine it will be great until Toby is several months old. I wish we had bought it earlier instead of the one we bought first.
I give the Spots and Stripes Safari Gym 9/10