Best Baby Play Spaces

August 2, 2019

Happy International Family Fun Month! We are going to be featuring lots of ways to enhance fun as a new family this month and to start, we’re talking play-spaces for babies.

WHY IT MATTERS

Do babies even need this stuff?? Certainly not at first. All newborns need for play are snuggles, a face to talk or sing to them and a safe place to put them down occasionally. Around 3-4 months, however, babies start rolling and developing motor skills like grasping objects, turning them around, and bringing them to their mouth. 

So, why not just plop them on the ground and hand them random objects you don’t mind them chewing on? In days of yore, you would either throw the baby on the floor or maybe have a nice, garishly colored playpen. Well, the floor is often either hard – not ideal for learning to sit or roll, or carpeted – not ideal for cleaning frequent spit up. And those playpens look as out of place in your living room as a zebra in the Kentucky Derby. Lucky you, there are now better options!

It’s great to populate your registry with these since they can be a little pricey and this gets you the style you really want. There are a few options – you might go for one or multiple depending on your home and style.

Tiles

Thankfully, some design-minded people decided to upgrade the style of foam play mats and we are ALL for it!

Little Nomad makes beautiful, nontoxic soft foam tiles that you can put together into a great, easily cleaned playmat. Little ones can roll and topple without bonking their heads on hard floors and you can enjoy aesthetically pleasing floor that won’t be scratched or permanently damaged if colored on. 

 

Skip Hop also makes a basic gray and white one that can be configured into multiple patterns – chevron is only the beginning! Also non-toxic and easy to clean.

Gym

It’s convenient to be able to pick up and transport a safe and fun baby area wherever you need to plop baby down – living room for laundry-folding time or outside for a little shady change of scenery. 

For a beautiful, top-functioning play gym, you just can’t beat the Lovevery Play Gym. The swoon-worthy wood arcs can hold a variety of toys to keep babies interested as they grow. They’re high enough that older babies still fit underneath and it’s sturdy so baby can’t collapse it on themselves. 

The Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat is a great budget alternative – and still a nice neutral palate. Our one reservation would be the pillow on it – be careful with younger babies who can’t lift their heads well.

Play Yards

Once babies are on the move and child-proofing gets real, you will have to figure out some containment strategies. If you have a designated space that can be gated off and safety-proofed, great! If you have a nice open floor plan, you might need one of these for the times you have to walk away, say to go to the bathroom or answer the door. The difference between a play-pen and a play-yard is whether there is a bottom on it. A play-yard (has bottom) is great for beach or camping trips to keep crawling babies from putting quite so much dirt and sand in their mouths. 

The Regalo My Play Portable Play Yard and Joovy Room2 are great options. The basic black or gray color won’t be an eyesore and they can be folded for when you want more floor space.

Play Pens

A play pen is a great option if you don’t want the bulk of a play-yard – say, if you have a lovely Little Nomad mat down already, for example. An excellent basic option is the Regalo Brooklyn Converta Walk Through Gate. This can also be used as an installed wide gate to close off an area.

The Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate is a similar idea – can be used as a surround or as a wide baby gate. It’s heavier, but comes in white if that’s important to your aesthetics.

What’s Best for Me?

We’ve gone from having no great options to having so many now, what’s a new parent to do? We at Village LOVE talking baby gear, we can help you decide on the best options for your particular family and home. Send us a message to find out more!

This post contains some affiliate links to help you find products we recommend. We may receive a small commission from this, but it does not influence which products we tell you about.

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