BUYER’S GUIDE: Top activity centres for bubba

Besides boosting your tot’s physical and mental development, activity gyms are great for bonding with bubba!

Push, pull, press, play… Amusing activity centres are great for keeping your baby busy while you tackle some household chores. The bonus? These entertainment centres ― also called activity gyms ― can also power your little one’s cognitive and physical development.

Activity-centre toys are a great way to teach junior about the concept of cause and effect. For instance, when he pushes certain buttons, he can hear distinctive sounds or see various objects light up. Some activity gyms even feature teethers or mats in various textures to aid tactile development.

Use the toys to liven up baby’s play time, too. As babies are naturally curious about the environment, grab this opportunity to describe the different textures and sounds to her. Or mimic animal sounds or sing along to the tunes and introduce various letters to her. It’s good fun and a great way to bond!

Check out these activity centres that will amuse your babies:

1) Fisher-Price Kick & Play Piano Gym


PRICE $105
FROM Pupsik Studio
WHAT The melodic piano tunes will surely get your little one moving her limbs and over time, she’ll learn to tap the keys with her feet. You can lock the arch and piano in different positions to add versatility to play time. Once baby can sit up unaided, you can place the piano in a horizontal position, so she has easier access, as well as remove the arch, so she has more head space. The piano can also play a selection of tunes! Suitable from birth. Pink and purple versions available.
PARENTS SAY While the removable piano extends the gym’s lifespan, one tester felt that her baby is likely to grow tired of it fairly quickly. The fixed distance between the piano and the arches mean baby might grow out of it pretty quickly. The flexibility of the gym’s fixtures make it easy to pack away.

2) Tiny Love Gymini Super Lite N Sound


PRICE $119
FROM First Few Years
WHAT The brightly coloured mat boasts different textures to enhance your cherub’s sense of touch. A musical touch pad plays tunes ― Mozart or nursery rhymes ― to stimulate and amuse baby. To enhance her physical development, the dangling toys range from a rattle and mirror, to a cute monkey with springy arms and an elephant pull toy. Suitable for babies from 1 month.
PARENTS SAY Storing it is a cinch as the arches can be detached, which means that you can extend the use of the mat. It’s also machine washable, which makes for easy cleaning.

3) Babyfehn 3-D Activity Quilt, Hare Explorer


PRICE $129.90
FROM Baby Online
WHAT Measuring 85cm by 85cm, the quilt features five removable toys, each offering a variety of sensory and tactile experiences — from vibrations and squeaks, to a rattle and crinkly paper. The colours also make this a gender-neutral choice, so it makes a great gift for a new mum. Suitable for baby from birth, especially infants.
PARENTS SAY Quite a hassle to clean as you can only wash the quilt by hand. Also, the absence of music — other than the squeaky sounds and the rattle — may mean that you’ll find it quite challenging to keep baby occupied for extended periods. 

4) Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy and Friends Learning Table


PRICE $139.99
FROM Toys ‘R' Us
WHAT Check out this bilingual activity table ― besides English, bubba (and you) will get an introduction to elementary Spanish. Four light-up learning corners (laptop, telephone, book and piano) invites baby to play, stand, move and explore the table. Boasting 60 different songs, tunes and activities, this entertainment centre will surely keep baby busy for some time. The interactive buttons teach your tot about numbers, shapes, opposites and animals. You can even detach the legs, so your mini-me will enjoy floor play. Suitable from 6 to 36 months.
PARENTS SAY The affordable price and wide variety of activities and songs to keep junior occupied makes this a very attractive buy!

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