7 Best Baby Activity Centers of 2023
- Baby activity centers help develop fine motor skills and encourage your baby’s development.
- A baby activity center keeps your baby entertained with sounds and lights.
- Most baby activity centers are for babies up until 12 months of age.
- Many baby centers have height adjustments to ensure your child fits correctly.
I was so excited when I first discovered baby activity centers because I needed something to entertain my child while I showered or prepared dinner. Not only was it for my convenience, though—it also helped with my child’s development, since a baby activity center offers several top-notch features to engage your little one.
You’ll notice babies outgrow activity centers by their first birthday, but until then, it offers a place for fun toys and interactive play.
The best baby activity center offers sensory stimulation while keeping your baby occupied. Whether you are looking for your newborn or 6-month-old, there is an activity center to fit your needs.
Our Favorite: Skip Hop Activity Center
- Designed in collaboration with a pediatrician, our baby activity center supports a “whole body” approach to play and learning. Our unique Discovery Window lets baby see their feet while they play to learn cause and effect. Swaying trees move back and forth
- Easy to assemble, with toys that can be positioned anywhere for baby, it features a 360-degree rotating seat that turns and stretches for bouncing
- As baby grows, our activity center converts for easy cruising—ultimately becoming a clean, sturdy table for coloring, playing and more
- Three stages of use: Sit, swivel, bounce & play; Cruise & interact; Play table; 25+ developmental activities
The Skip Hop Activity Center is fantastic because you can use it when your little one can keep their head up and transition them to standing and cruising along.
When babies are in stage one, they are securely placed inside the activity center and can explore the various toys around them. In addition, their cute little legs can tap the light up piano for additional interaction and see their big performance through the Discovery Window.
The convertible activity center also has a foot platform, so your little one doesn’t feel like their feet are dangling.
Stage one also features a 360-degree swivel feature to ensure they don’t miss a thing. When your baby outgrows stage one, the next stage allows your child to cruise around the table and play with the interactive toys.
Stage two converts to a table where your child can cruise and interact with their toys. Even if they can’t walk, they can still cruise around the table and work on muscle control.
Once your child reaches stage three, you can turn the activity center into a crafts table and let your little one explore their inner artist. Having a toddler play table is a great idea because it is the perfect height for them to do tabletop activities. It also prevents you from buying a separate play table or toddler table for your little one.
Best for Older Babies: Fisher Price Jumperoo
- 360 degrees of play for baby to discover.
- Music, lights & sounds reward & encourage every bounce & jump
- Easily adjusts to 3 different heights as your baby grows
- Colorful toys include bat-at butterfly & toucan, giraffe with spinner-bead neck, froggy teether, lion slider & more.
You’ll find the Fisher Price Jumperoo on many parents’ baby registries, and for a good reason. Fisher-Price is known for its baby products, and any parent is likely familiar with the name. While your newborn won’t get any use out of the Fisher-Price jumperoo, as your baby grows, they will thoroughly enjoy bouncing around.
The jumperoo is adjustable, so you can find just the right height for your child to ensure they are comfortable. Despite having various parts, you can take them apart to ensure a deep clean.
You’ll find the jumperoo to be one of the best activity centers because your little one can swivel 360 degrees to take in all the sights, sounds, and lights around them. It’s always fun watching your baby explore as the seat spins around.
The Fisher-Price jumper has several fun toys, including a spinner ball, hanging toys, and colorful animals to get your baby’s attention.
Finally, the jumperoo has a weight limit of 25 lbs, but once your little one is running around, they probably won’t find it as fun. In addition, you can clean the seat fabric with a damp cloth or remove it and throw it in the wash.
Best for Small Spaces: ORIBEL PortaPlay Activity Center
- MULTI STAGE! The PortaPlay Activity Center Wonderland can be used to Turn, Bounce, Play, Transform, and Fold. All in one product! A product that truly allows your child to explore down the rabbit hole.
- BOUNCING FUN! Elastic bands within the seat pad allow for your baby to bounce for great fun! The 360 degree seat allows for fun exploration. Making your little one wonder how long is forever? Sometimes just one second.
- FOLDABLE TRAVEL ACTIVITY CENTER! Did you ever think you could travel with your activity center? Whether you want to go on a weekend trip or simply store away your PortaPlay. The patented legs of the PortaPlay fold inward quickly and easily allowing you to store it in the trunk or in the closet! Go ahead and try, but no other Activity Center will give you this freedom! Now you can believe 5 impossible things before breakfast.
- GROW WITH ME! Swap the seat with the Table top provided to convert into a Play Table for toddlers up to 5 years old. Use with the PortaPlay Stools (sold separately) and art paper roll dispenser (sold separately) for drawing, sketching, projects, and any imaginative activities your little one can dream up!
Baby gear takes up a lot of space, and we don’t always have room for it. However, the ORIBEL PortaPlay Activity Center was meant for small spaces or anyone who doesn’t want their baby’s gear to be scattered around their house.
For starters, the legs fold, allowing you to store the activity center when not in use, which is a major space saver. When your child outgrows the seat, you can use it as an activity table for coloring, reading, or anything their imagination decides. You can make height adjustments, particularly when you switch to the table mode.
The ORIBEL activity center also has several toys to keep your little one entertained, and the seat allows children to spin 360 degrees. Finally, it has a weight limit of 22 lbs, which is less than others on the list.
Best for Travel: LeapFrog Learn and Groove
Sometimes it’s handy to have a baby activity center handy when you go on a trip, and the LeapFrog Learn and Groove offers a portable option when you’re traveling. You can remove the legs from the activity center and only bring the top or stuff the legs in your suitcase.
The main base of the portable activity center is ideal for babies who can’t stand, so if your little one is still working on their gross motor skills, you can leave the legs at home. Babies will love that the activity table plays music and has interactive features to play with.
It’s never too early to start learning your shapes, colors, numbers, and letters, and the LeapFrog Learn and Groove offers that for little ones. In addition, babies can start singing along to classic songs like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Old MacDonald.”
If you use the activity center in table mode, ensure your little one is stable on their feet, so they don’t slip.
Best for Outdoors: Summer Pop ‘N Jump
- PORTABLE ACTIVITY CENTER: The Summer Pop ‘N Jump unfolds in seconds so you can keep baby happy at home, or bring it with you anywhere you go.
- ALL-IN-ONE: The space saver portable jumper is designed for indoor and outdoor use and features three levels of height adjustment to grow with baby.
- CANOPY AND TOYS: Play in the shade with Pop ‘N Jump’s removeable canopy! Little ones will love the toys, including a spinner ball, rattle, teether and mirror book.
- EASY CLEANUP: The activity jumper support seat can be easily removed and machine washed, making cleanup a breeze.
If you enjoy camping or hanging outside, you’ll love the Summer Pop ‘N Jump. The portable activity center has interactive toys, a canopy for shade, and a removable/machine washable center seat.
The activity center is also great to keep at the grandparent’s house if they want a place for the baby to sit but don’t want any baby gear taking up excess space.
The Summer Pop ‘N Jump has a weight capacity of 25 lbs and is ideal for babies ages 6–12 months. In addition, there are three height positions, so you can make adjustments as your baby grows.
Best for Newborns: Skip Hop Silver Lining
- Crafted in smooth natural wood with a comfy cushioned playmat and plush tummy time cloud, our dreamy activity gym is filled with lots of ways for baby to explore.
- Three sweet hanging toys engage baby with texture, sounds and more, while the wooden frame adjusts for overhead or tummy time play.
- The décor-friendly design folds flat for storage and travel so it’s perfect for playdates at Grandma’s, too.
- 3 hanging toys include: sun baby mirror, shooting star teether & cloud rattle
We can’t forget about younger babies, which is why the Skip Hop Silver Lining makes our list. The activity center has 3 hanging toys that play sounds when pulled. In addition, the mat is ideal for tummy time as newborns work on gaining neck strength.
The best baby toys work on developing fine and gross motor skills while keeping your little one entertained. The Skip Hop Silver Lining also makes for easy storage due to its small footprint.
The adjustable bar allows you to keep the toys above to get your baby’s attention or closer in view when on their tummy. The modern activity center has a cushioned play mat, and their signature Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud pillow.
Best for Mobile Babies: Baby Einstein Musical Mix ‘N Roll Activity Center
- Musical exploration throughout the ages; grows with baby from baby to toddler with 4 modes of use that appeal to different ages and stages; locks in place for walker and table modes
- 4 Modes of Play: Floor Toy Station for younger seated babies; Push Behind Walker that moves at your baby’s pace, Music Table to practice with tempo and sound; and Creative Table for anything your toddler dreams up
- Discover music, colors and animals with 100+ melodies and phrases; includes parent volume control to keep discovery at the perfect decibel; introduce 4 languages: English, Spanish, French, and German
- Encourages gross motor skill & cognitive development; offers creative & open-ended play for infant, 1 year old and toddler; helps foster a love of music that will last a lifetime
The Baby Einstein Baby Musical Mix ‘N Roll Activity Center converts from an activity center to a walker for mobile babies. Baby Einstein is known for their excellent baby products that provide educational value to little ones, and the Mix ‘N Roll provides just that.
The convertible activity center has four modes of play, including a floor station for young babies, a push walker for cruising toddlers, a music table, and an activity table.
In addition, the activity center plays over 100 phrases and melodies while introducing four languages. When the activity center is in the walker or table mode, there is a lock to ensure your child’s safety.
Finally, the Mix ‘N Roll is best for babies 6–36 months, so you will get lots of use from this convertible activity center.
Sometimes, baby activity centers don’t have everything you want or need, so here are a few recommended accessories to keep your little one entertained:
Why Babies Love Activity Centers
Now that you know some of our favorite activity centers, let’s look at why they are so popular amongst little ones.
- Activity centers are great alternatives to baby walkers, especially as a safer option to keep your baby entertained.
- Stationary play centers allow for floor play with interactive toys, lights, and sounds.
- It helps stimulate babies and prevent boredom, which can happen with little ones.
- A baby activity center can help develop curiosity and work on their pincer grasp and other fine motor skills.
Tip: Don’t set up the activity center near window blind cords that can easily be grabbed by little hands.
While you should always supervise your little one while using an activity center, parents know how quick babies can be, so it’s best to avoid potential danger from window blind cords.
How to Choose the Best Baby Activity Center
While not every activity center will check all your boxes, it’s nice to know what to consider when choosing a baby activity center. Remember that the age range for most activity centers is 6–12 months if keeping their head up is required.
However, any activity center that allows your baby to lie down is appropriate for newborns. Here is an overview of what you should look for in a baby activity center.
There’s no shortage of baby activity centers on the market, so it’s wise to understand what you should look for when purchasing one. Here are a few top features you’ll want to look for when choosing the best activity center:
- Removable toys that are easy to clean
- Adjustable height
- Washable fabric seat
- Padded seat pad for comfort
- Safety features to ensure your baby is secure
Baby gear can get expensive, so you want to ensure you don’t break the bank for an activity center. Most activity centers come in less than $100, which is ideal if you plan on using it for an extended period of time.
If you live in a small apartment or have enough baby gear already taking up space in your home, consider the size of your activity center. While some fold up for storage, others have a large footprint and will be around until your baby outgrows them.
In addition, an activity center that holds the baby has a maximum weight, while a play station or mat can hold a baby of any size.
When can my baby sit in an activity center?
If the activity center requires your baby to be upright, they should be holding their head up without assistance. Most babies can hold their heads up around 6 months, which is when they will be ready for an activity center.
How long can babies use activity centers?
A baby activity center is made for little ones who can’t walk, and therefore you’ll likely get use out of yours until your child’s first birthday. Remember, babies develop at different rates, so you may notice your child has outgrown their activity center before their first birthday.
Should the baby’s feet be flat in the activity center?
Allowing your baby’s feet to be flat in an activity center helps prevent stress on their hip joints. According to the Children’s Rehabilitation Institute, long-term use of an activity center or similar jumpers can lead to hip dysplasia due to the positioning in the cloth seat.
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