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When my baby was born a few months ago one of the items on our shopping list to get him was a baby gym. We never had one for Hope as we didn't have the room but we never really needed one as I was able to give her my full attention. With knowing that Baby number 2 would not be able to have as much of my attention as Hope had I knew that we had to get something which would help to keep him occupied so that I could also spend time with Hope too. I thought that a gym would be ideal as they can be very interactive. I chose this particular one because it looked very bright and had lots of different elements to it. I bought it from Toys R Us and it cost £50 which is actually quite average for a baby gym.
It comes in a big plastic packet which is secured shut with poppers which actually makes it very easy to open. It doesn't take up much room like this as it's quite flat and you have to put it together yourself so it was easy to carry from the shop to the car. One thing that I hate about toys is that they can often take a long time to get out of the packaging and to put together but luckily this wasn't the case for this gym. It was easy to get out of the packet as you didn't need to rip it open or find scissors- you simply just undid the poppers and slid the items out.
The two bars are secured together with a piece of cardboard, you just take the cardboard off and they ping apart which makes them quite long! The instructions looked intimidating at first as they were long and in many languages but actually I could have put it together without using them. I followed them though just to be sure and it took me five minutes to put together. The two bars cross over each other and slot together so that they hold each other up and then they secure into poppers on the side of the mat. These are very strong so are not likely to come off even if your baby is kicking around hard! The toys all come ready attached apart from the mirror which you just connect yourself wherever you like.
What you get is a lot! The bars have holes in them and through these holes are links which hold toys on so you can actually add your own too if you have some links that connect to your toys and you can unhoop them and move them around making it very versatile. It comes with a mirror which is made to look like a sun which you can move along the bars. It has a soft toy fish which jingles, a long elephant which hangs down and chimes when pressed, a little giraffe squeaky toy which hangs down, a big monkey which connects by his arms and hangs down in the middle and lights up. On the mat itself are lots of big bright animals and some of these have hidden interactive elements such as a fluffy fringe on the elephant which can be lifted up and down, a squeaky tummy on the elephant, a rustly mane on the lion and several other features too.
The mat itself is very well padded, it is not just like having a blanket on the floor but the equivalent of about 3 blankets, it's extremely soft. The pictures on the mat are very colourful and bright which is what attracted me to it in the first place, everything is very bold so eye catching especially for a young child who cannot focus properly. There is a little crescent shaped pillow which comes with this and it's very well padded and is used to try to encourage babies to have tummy time.
The mat is interactive from day one. Your baby can lie on the mat and gaze up at the various toys hanging down. All of these toys are bright so will catch their attention and help them to learn to focus and use their eyes by having them move from one thing to another. As they begin to get a little older they will notice that kicking around has an effect- if they kick a toy it will chime/jingle/crunch so they will learn about cause and effect and it will encourage them to try again which will in turn lead to them improving their hand-eye-co-ordination. When your child is bigger they will be able to lie on their tummies and interact with the mat itself by feeling the various parts of it and squeaking/scrunching the interactive parts. You baby once it's slightly older will also be able to use this mat still whilst on their backs and will be able to reach out for the toys and interactive with them intentionally. All of the toys can be disconnected too so you can take them out with you or put them in a baby's cot. If this ends up taking up too much space and you want to just use the toys then you can do.
The mat does fold away although I haven't tried this myself but it looks like it would be quite easy to do so. It does take up a lot of floor space so if you don't have much room it may be tricky to accommodate it.
I think it is a fantastic gym. I have never had one before but I can't see what more it could possibly do. At the moment my baby just lies on it and looks at the toys but it won't be long until he is reaching for them. He is going to learn a lot through this gym- it will help build his muscles as he learns to lie on his tummy and look up, he will learn to reach for things, learn to press things in a certain way to get them to make a sound and it will help his vision too. As well as teaching him all of these essential skills it will help him to be entertained too as he will have so many toys to interact with it will keep him occupied!
I particularly like how all the toys can be taken off so you can move them around or just use a few at a time so that your baby isn't over stimulated and you can keep refreshing it every time you use it so he won't grow bored.
Everything about this toy is fantastic. There are few toys which are suitable from birth but this one really is. It is soft and well padded so will protect your baby and keep them safe. It is, however, awkward to clean as it's just all so soft so anything spilt on it will be hard to wipe off so we are trying to just wipe things off as soon as they spill to try to keep it clean!
This in my opinion is the best gym we could have bought, it does require batteries in the monkey (3AAA) so that he will light up but you don't even need to put batteries in it if you wish. It is refreshing to have a toy which doesn't take long to set up, doesn't come overly packaged and doesn't require batteries in order for it to work. For £50 I think it was worth it as we will have lots and lots of time spent playing with this and it will help to entertain as well as educate a very young baby. It is also toddler tough too- Hope has had a good time rolling around underneath it and playing with it too and it's withstood her boysterious behaviour!
While pregnant with my daughter, I inexplicably bought almost nothing. I'm very lucky to have some good friends who threw me a baby shower.....
A few weeks after our daughter was born, I carried one of the presents we'd been given into the living room. "Can you set this up?" I asked The Boyfriend impatiently as I wrestled with the wriggling baby under the other arm. He put down his coffee with a sigh and opened the packet. His face brightened on seeing the design and unclipping the poppers, he folded out the mat in one quick motion. Pleased that this particular job had required less than 30 seconds of effort and no instructions or arguing, he slumped back into the chair to admire his handiwork.
The mat itself had a bright design, a childish drawing of zoo animals and flowers, an elephant and a butterfly with crinkly sounding ear and wing. But the arch over the mat caught all our attention, with a giraffe, elephant, monkey and parrot suspended on yellow plastic rings. The mat was cushioned and inviting and I plonked my daughter straight down onto it, sliding my head up next to her to see the toys from her viewpoint.
Right from the start she's loved this, whacking the animals so they swung from side to side. The plastic rings allow you to move the position of the animals, having them low at the beginning and then inching them up the arch as your child grows and becomes more active. The parrot got moved pretty sharpish, as the perch, like the attaching ring, was made of hard plastic and when she swung it, it promptly swung back and hit her. The elephant can be pulled down and vibrates as you release it; the giraffe rattles when she shakes it. The mirror in the corner of the mat distorts the reflection with terrifying results and the monkeys feet are well chewed.
The whole mat can be folded and poppered together, meaning that I was able to put it in the car and take it to Little Brother when he babysat on the afternoon of my Christmas do. When I went to Dad's for dinner, she was happy under the dining table on the mat, giving those animals a good kicking. Amusingly, she shouts with excitement while she plays with this, causing me to laugh to myself when I'm in the kitchen making dinner and earning her the nickname of Angry Zookeeper.
Both my little one and her cousin, Big Boy (so called because he must be more than twice her size) have puked on the mat and it's wiped off easily. The material dries quickly in our overheated house too. Big Boy's mum said the mat is much easier to clean than the one they have at home and as we watched him pull himself up on the arch and manoeuvre the mirror, we had cause to reflect that it was remarkably sturdy. I've heard other mums complain about a lack of lights on the arch to catch baby's attention, but I think the lights on the mat itself are intended for tummy time. Personally, I never switch the lights or music on, things like that annoy me and the mat is just fine for playing as it is.
For us, the mat has been invaluable. Without it, I would have missed an entire series of The Apprentice and I love having somewhere clean and secure for us to practice skills such as rolling and kicking. Much better than dumping her on our grotty carpet to roll about in crumbs and dust.
As mentioned, ours was a present, but you can pick the mat up for around £49.99 in Toys R Us.
Mini-gyms seem to have become a must-have item for new parents, and I think every new mummy and daddy I know has one! They can be pricey however, and this one is no exception, clocking in at nearly £50. Having spent such a lot of money on it, I did hope it would keep baby entertained for many hours!
The gymini is crammed full of activities for baby. It features lights and music, a round detachable mirror and criss-crossing arches with four animals hanging down with a jungle theme - a rattly giraffe, vibrating elephant, parrot with crinkly wings and a nice lanky monkey. All the animals can be detached easily and moved around if you want to position them better for baby, or use them independently of the playmat. The mat itself features big attractive pictures of animals, more nice crinkly bits and a squeaker. So you're definitely getting a lot of activities for the money! Overall it's bright and colourful and looks like fun to play with.
When not in use, the mat is really easy to fold in half, with poppers to keep it shut - very handy when baby has gone to sleep and you want it out of the way!
MissD lay on this mat a lot as a baby but, overall, I didn't feel we got our money's worth from this as she never really got that into it - although she was a fan of the mirror! She lay on it a lot so it was very useful for her to have somewhere safe and comfortable to lie, but she didn't interact much with all the activities. I do really like that all the items are detachable though and, although the mat itself has long been tidied away, all the animals are now hanging in her room and the mirror is in her toy chest. This makes me feel that we have got a bit more of our money's worth from it!
With hindsight, I think a cheaper playmat would have been fine for us. But all babies are different and I'm sure there are other newborns out there who would have a fantastic workout in the gymini!
The gymini requires 3 AA batteries and is suitable from birth.
This Gymini play mat, is a bit different from most play mats around, it has mozart music and some nursery rhymes that play and lights, you can switch this to play continuously or it has an area which the baby can press to trigger the music. This was brought for my son as a gift, and I must say he really loved it although he would only play on it for a few minutes at a time at first as it was so stimulating for him. I love the toys that hang on this mat, there is an elephant, parrot, monkey and some teething rings, they all do different things and can be moved into any hanging position which is great for variation for your baby. Also I found that the hanging toys were good for attaching to the pram and I could change them regularly to keep my sons interest. You can also buy additional items for this product to hang up. I thought it was a bit of a shame that there weren't more floor activities and that the mat is quite pricey, but I found it was of good quality and thoroughly enjoyed by my son, it would definately be usuable for the next baby and probably the one after too!
When my husband purchased Tiny Love Gymini Deluxe - Lights & Music I was cross with him that he spent almost £50 for product that will be used by our newborn but he said it is more important there is loads of colorful things around her to stimulate little brain than money. At first my daughter did not really play with it as she was only about two weeks old. But now after couple of months she is loving it. She adores staring in the little mirror and makes funny faces to herself, she laughs and giggles. She is entertaining herself so well on this little thing I am able to do the house chores and even have a little snooze. It is so nice to watch her playing and listening to the nursery tunes attached to it, she also loves the animals, she is kicking them and pulling arms - such a curious little person. The product is definitely worth buying although it is a shame it only has two music tunes available: Mozart and Nursery.
This play mat/ baby gym is one of the best on the market in my opinion. We initially had a baby gym we were given as a present from Toys R Us but we had to take that back due to the item breaking and being a hazard for my you son and this is what we got to replace it.
Where can you get it is available at Mothercare Amazon Jo Jo Maman Bebe it retails from about £40-50
What is it-
It is a large square mat that has a crossover arch that fits into each corner.
On the mat there is an elephant that has a crinkly ear that you can play peek a boo with. A giraffe with a pulling tale that my son loved to chew! there are various flowers that light up flash alongside the music. There is also a squeaker and crinkly area on the mat
The arch has several holes in it for the toys to be attached at different levels depending upon your baby's reaching ability. As our son got older we put them gradually higher up to encourage him to stretch and roller over towards his favorite animal. the animals are Jitter Elephant Pull-Toy
Spinning, Rattling Parrot, Swinging Monkey, Soft Giraffe Rattle. My sons favorite was the elephant which he used to try to pull off and get it to Jitter in his mouth. It also has a brightly coloured Bead Rattle & Teether in One my son loved to bat this but wasn't really interested in it a teething toy
In one corner there is a safety mirror for little one to admire them selves and be fascinated by their reflection. The people at Tiny Love say this helps with their object permanence
It plays a variety of music including Mozart and traditional nursery tunes. They can sound a bit horrid as the batteries wear down.
This is an expensive item but my son loved it and I had no issues with safety. It would be a great item to get as a gift for an expectant mother
The Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe - Lights and Music
What the product claims:
Truly multi-sensory play experience, integrating fascinating visual stimulation in the form of flashing lights and colorful images, along with varied sensory stimulation that includes different fabrics, textures and shapes. In addition, the rich auditory feedback includes four musical selections to stimulate baby's hearing.
The item is £44.99 and available at many outlets including Mothercare and Ebay.
The product is a soft fabric mat approx 1m square with soft child friendly cross over the top. There are many activities and features including:
Electronic Lights & Music Touch Pad
Large Sun Mirror
Jitter Elephant Pull-Toy
Spinning, Rattling Parrot
Soft Giraffe Rattle
Colourful Bead Rattle & Teether in One
Peek-a-boo activity on the mat
Squeaker and crinkly area on the mat
The mat and bars are attractive and brightly coloured.
How has my Son developed whilst using this product?
Tom is 12 weeks old and never seems to tire from playing with this. We bought the item just after he was born and the item keeps him occupied through each stage of his development so far.
Tom enjoyed looking at the animals that hung down, he would look around if we pressed one of the musical pads or squeeker. After the first two weeks he was making efforts to reach for some of the larger toys. At this stage he could bat them and make them move.
Tom started to laugh if the toys were moved. The crinkly crunchy bits and squeeker seemed to make the biggest impression. He could just handle some of the animal toys and make them move alot
Tom's favourite toy is the monkey, he can reach and pull it. If the monkeys feet or hands are close enough he puts them in his mouth. He giggles with delight if the music starts and finds the pull down elephant hillarious. Any day now he will be pulling the elephant down on his own. The mirror is starting to interest him alot, it is positioned on the side to encourage babies to roll over..this he now does expertly.
I think if Tom could speak he would also give this five stars. I am looking forward to him starting to think about the different textures of the toys, and crawling about on it
I have a 2 month old little girl and have had the Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music since she was born.
What is it?
A soft padded activity gym mat complete with lights, music and dangling toys suitable for babies from birth to 10 months.
What does it look like?
It is a very bright square mat with a crossed arch that goes over the top, it has a big round mirror in one corner. There are 5 toys which hang from the arches and can be removed.
The mat itself has a blue border, within the border is a safari type scene with a purple elephant (with a textured ear that can be folded over his face so you can play peek-a-boo), a black and white zebra (with a mane in felt that provides another texture), an orange giraffe (with a felt tail that can be pulled), a purple monkey, a pink bird with a squeaker and a big yellow and pink lion. All the animals are set against a bright green and blue background and in the bottom left corner are 3 pink flowers which have lights in the middle which flash in time to the music when the light/sound box is switched on.
How big is it?
The mat measures 81.3 x 81.3 cm, the arch is 43cm high.
How much does it cost?
This was bought for me as a gift, but it costs around £45.00 in the shops.
What features does it have?
Machine Washable Mat
Fold Down Arch for easy transportation and nappy changing.
Activities above and below to encourage rolling over.
Electronic Lights Which Flash
Music Touch Pad which plays 10 minutes of Mozart (Sonata for Piano in F) or 10 seconds of 3 different Nursery Tunes.
5 Detachable Toys:
o Purple Jitter Elephant Pull-Toy
o Green and Orange Spinning, Rattling Parrot with textured wings
o Swinging Monkey with springy legs
o Soft Giraffe Rattle
o Brightly coloured Bead Rattle & Teether in One
Peek-a-boo activity on the mat
Squeaker and crinkly area on the mat
Different textured areas on the mat
Extra rings to add your own toys with
Whats it made out of?
The mat is 65% Polyester 35% cotton.
How do I clean it?
The mat/blanket part can be spot cleaned with a damp cloth or machine washed in cold water as long as the lights/sound box is removed first. It cannot be tumbled dried so has to be hung on the line this is a slight nuisance.
Is it recommended by anyone?
This is a multi award winning toy:
Winner of Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2003
Parenting magazine's Toy of the Year
Winner of the Parents' Choice Foundation "Parents' Choice Honors Award"
Does it need batteries?
Yes, it needs 3 AA batteries, but the one I bought came with demo batteries that are still working so I have not yet had to replace them.
Whats good about it?
It offers a multi-sensory play experience to stimulate babies and aid their development. There are flashing lights, a mirror and brightly coloured toys and images to stimulate sight, different textures and shapes to stimulate touch and, to stimulate hearing it plays music too. Its great for motor skills too - the toys that hang from the arch encourage baby to reach up and grab or bat them and the bright colours on the mat should encourage baby to roll over.
My baby is 2 months old and so hasnt made full use of everything yet; she is happy to lie on her back watching the toys and has just started reaching for them. She likes the mirror (she is fascinated by her own reflection) and the music. I put her for a bit of tummy-time on the mat every day it is good for this as there are bright contrasting colours, lights and patterns on the mat for her to look at.
The hanging toys are detatchable and can also be used on the cot or pram I have attached different ones to the carry cot when I go out and about and they seem to keep my little girl entertained.
There is room (and extra plastic rings) to attach extra toys from the Tiny Love range (and Im sure other branded toys could be hung from the arch too). I am going to purchase the wind chimes which are supposed to be a nice addition.
The play mat folds up so it can be carried around the arch just folds in 2, however although it is very lightweight it is rather large to carry about and tricky to slot neatly into our car. The arch can be easily collapsed so that the mat can be used for nappy changes this is a good feature when you take the play gym away with you or around to friends/familys homes where you may not have a changing area. The crossed arch is designed to give babies a secure sense of being enclosed when they are lying on the mat (to mimic the womb environment) Im not sure if it has this effect though!
I can tell this is a toy that will grow with her over her first year as she will be able to play with the toys and use the features in different ways as she grows older.
Whats bad about it?
Nothing really, apart from that it does need batteries and it cant be tumble dried.
Would I recommend it?
Yes, I would, I looked at a lot of play mats for my baby and I do think this is one of the best available. It may be quite pricey, but it has a lot of features to keep your baby entertained as he/she develops, its also nice to be able to add and remove toys.
For more information visit the Tiny Love website: www.tinylove.com - there is a useful section on how to get the most out of the play mat for your baby at different stages.
The most feature-packed version of the award-winning Gymini® 3-D Activity Gym, this new version will enchant your baby with a world of developmental benefits.A multi-sensory experience The Gymini® Super Deluxe offers a truly multi-sensory play experience, integrating fascinating visual stimulation in the form of flashing lights and colorful images, along with varied sensory stimulation that includes different fabrics, textures and shapes. In addition, the rich auditory feedback includes four musical selections to stimulate baby's hearing. Gross Motor Development When in the prone position, the Gymini® Super Deluxe encourages baby to lift his neck and shoulders while gazing at his reflection in the mirror. The hanging toys invite baby to reach for them, and baby may find himself rolling over to get to them. Reaching for the toys with his arms and legs helps strengthen these important muscles. From the sixth month, baby is drawn to the Lights & Music Touch Pad, and strikes it to elicit flashing lights or music. This helps improve his ability to support his weight with one hand. Fine Motor Development The hanging toys invite baby to reach out and strike or grasp, first by chance and later quite intentionally as control over his arm and hand improves. This helps develop hand-eye coordination.