“ Brand: Ikea / Type: Baby Toy / Type: Play Mats & Gyms „
We bought the Leka Baby gym on a recent trip to Ikea to get an antilop high chair. We were attracted to this gym because of the wooden natural look and the price - at 19.99 it's cheaper than many other baby gyms. The gym is not available online so is only available in Ikea stores, this may be an advantage if you enjoy shopping at ikea but the long trek round loads of things we weren't interested in with two small children makes it a disadvantage to us. We have had this product for 2 1/2 months - from when little T was about 5 weeks til now when he is almost 4 months.
What Is It
The baby gym consists of a wooden frame with two supporting legs. The frame has three slots in it where three toys fit through - one is a plastic shell castanet, one is a hoop with two discs above it, the other is a larger disc with three smaller discs hanging from it. At the sides are two plastic shapes with designs on them which can be spun.
Putting it together
This was very straightforward - attach the support legs with four screws and slot the toys through the top.
How has little T played with it?
5 - 6 weeks
Little T could not reach the toys which hung down when we initially got this product. He did enjoy watching the large disc being spun round and other objects being knocked back and forwards. Free time for mummy - none Little T could not play alone with this
7 - 8 weeks
Little T was attempting to reach the toys but couldn't and was getting frustrated. We put him on a piillow to raise him up so he could reach, but being on the pillow meant he required constant supervision so still no free time for mummy. Little T did occasionally spin the side objects in his excitement, but this was accidental and he never noticed to watch the objects.
Little T can now reach the toys from the mat we put underneath the arch and bat them back and forwards. Mummy earns 5 minutes of free time per play and can at least get some of the veg peeled.
(nearly) 4 months
Little T can now purposely spin the side objects and watch the results. He can also grasp the hoop of the hanging toys, but sometimes doesn't let go and gets frustrated. Mummy can now get 10 minutes of free time per play if T is in a good mood.
How does it compare?
We encounter various other baby gyms at playgroups and baby sensory - Little T seems to prefer other gyms, especially those with brighter colours or that make a noise. The slot system seems to lend itself to swopping for variety, but only the order can be swopped - it would be great if Ikea could make an upgrade set with more toys to rotate - maybe different colourways or that make a range of sounds.
How does it help baby's development?
The gym is good for encouraging hand eye co-ordination and developing reaching and grabbing skills. Although the objects at the side encourage baby to reach sideways, the frame is too narrow for baby rehearse rolling under it, another skill young babies are developing.
Any other comments?
- the slot system is a bit too easy for my 3.5 year old to use - result bewildered baby with no toys and wildly laughing preschooler.
- the gym has been used on a stone floor in our house, and the paint on the supports has flaked.
- the gym doesn't include a playmat - this is a disadvantage as you need to find something to put under it, but does mean easy storage without assembly unassembly.
- the slot system means that other toys cannot be easily added where they have loops for this purpose.