Bright Starts Zippy Zoo Activity Gym
Last updated date: October 30, 2019
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We looked at the top Baby Play Mats and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Baby Play Mat you should buy.
Update as August 4, 2022:
Checkout The Best Baby Play Mat for a detailed review of all the top baby play mats.
In our analysis of 145 expert reviews, the Bright Starts Zippy Zoo Activity Gym placed 10th when we looked at the top 14 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
From The Manufacturer
Get ready to jump into a jungle of fun with baby! The Zippy Zoo Activity Gym creates an imaginative playground full of fun activities for your baby as she develops, transforming from a tummy time mat into a sit and play destination. Let loose your inner wild child as you and baby play together using the five included hanging toys. From making silly faces in the baby safe mirror to shaking the sun shaped rattle, this playmat turns any nursery into a zoo time adventure. Watch baby wiggle, giggle and dance along to the giraffe’s four different melodies. Monkey around with even more toys using the four additional link loops along the beams. Wild snuggles and cuddles are just around the corner.
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Our Expert Consultant
Parenting Pro and Safe-Sleep Expert
Kate Desmond is a writer and infant safe-sleep expert. She has spent the last eight years working as the marketing director for Charlie’s Kids Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to educate families about SIDS and safe sleep. In that role, she travels around the country learning and educating caregivers and providers on the latest and greatest safe-sleep information to prevent infant death.
As mom to two elementary-aged daughters, she spends hours researching the best and safest products for her own kids. She is quick to get in the weeds with other mamas, and uses humor to cope with parenting woes from potty-training to teaching kids to read. She writes about the ups and downs of parenting on her blog.
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An Overview On Baby Play Mats
In addition to being designed to keep your baby entertained, playmats are also created to assist with an infant’s development. There are a host of different types of play mats on the market, which may leave you feeling a little overwhelmed when you start your search. Use this guide to help narrow down the options, so you end up with the best baby play mat for your infant.
Start off examining the material the play mat is made out of. It is important to select one that has a non-toxic and phthalate-free surface. If your baby is sensitive, you’ll also need the mat to be hypoallergenic.
Determine how portable you need the baby play mat to be. This isn’t important for babies who spend the majority of their time at home, but infants that spend the day with grandma while mom works may benefit from having a playmat that easily rolls up so that it can be transported between houses. Some models even come with their own travel bag.
“Consider whether this will be a permanent fixture in your home or if you’d rather be able to store it or travel with it,” says mother and infant sleep-safe expert Kate Desmond. Desmond serves as marketing director for Charlie’s Kids Foundation, an organization that provides education about SIDS and safe sleep. “If the latter is more your style, consider one that easily folds or rolls up.”
Check the size of the play mat. Some models are as is as big as a queen-size blanket. That means your baby will have plenty of space when he or she is ready to start rolling over. The mat is also reversible. One side is decorative and ideal for infant tummy time, while the other has animals, letters and numbers for toddlers to practice on.
Look for any activities and attachments that may be included with the play mat. For example, some deluxe play mats have 18 developmental activities that help a baby with everything from cognition to fine and gross motor skills. There’s also the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym, which has a tiny piano with five keys that an infant can kick with their feet. Toddlers can transition to using their hands to make music with the keyboard. Musical attachments are always a great choice because they help a baby learn about cause and effect.
Examine the play mat attachments to see what benefits they offer your child. For example, a mirror helps with self-discovery, while crinkle toys provide important sensory input.
Consider a play mat that grows with your baby. There are foam puzzle mats that are made using a high-density EVA foam that is comfortable for infants to lay on when they need to have a little tummy time. They are also constructed of squares that have letters and numbers on them for toddlers to practice with. Older children can even take the squares and use them like a puzzle by turning them into cubes.
The Baby Play Mat Buying Guide
- Beware of baby play mats that are flame retardant, as they contain harmful chemicals that can enter through the child’s skin when he or she lays on the mat. If the chemicals enter the air, the little one can also breathe the chemicals in, so always opt for a non-toxic play mat. Just make sure you keep the playmat away from any heat sources or candles and that you supervise the baby while the playmat is in use.
- Make sure batteries are included along with the playmat if it is a model that utilizes sound and light. If not, you’ll want to check and see what type of batteries the mat needs and pick up a set before you put the mat together for your precious little one.
- Always check the product label before attempting to clean the play mat. Some mats are machine washable, while others, like those made of foam or those with a waterproof surface, should simply be wiped down with a little dish soap and water.
- Homes with hardwood floors would do well with a baby play mat that has both a non-slip grip underneath and extra padding on top.
- Simple baby play mats that are waterproof can double as changing pads when you’re away from home and out in the public. Just roll the play mat up and pack it in your diaper bag.
Waterproof mats provide another important benefit. “Babies are messy, so make sure the playmat you choose is either waterproof and wipeable, or machine washable,” Desmond adds.
- The price for baby play mats varies greatly depending on the material used to make the mat, how many features it has and how long the baby can use it. The Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym is made out of foam and is one of the lower-priced mats on the market. At the top of the price range are play mats which can be used from infancy all the way through Kindergarten.
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