We bought this play gym for Toby after trying out a dreadful Lamaze one. We were looking for something that would entertain him and help with developing his co-ordination and attention skills.
The gym was very easy to put up and ready to use within minutes. To look at, the gym is very attractive. It has black and white spots which are great to catch a very young babies attention when they can only really see high contrasts. Some of the attachments are also black and white which again, is great for a young baby. As well as the high contrast black and white, there is a variety of colours on the arches of the gym and the actual play mat. Toby loves looking at the colours now he is a bit older.
The gym comes with several attachments. The best by far is the musical tiger which attaches to the top of the gym. The tiger has 20 minutes of music and flashing lights. Toby can sit and stare at these for hours! He waves his little arms and legs around when it is turned on and the closest he has came to laughing has been while he was laid watching the lights. He shouts at us if the sound and lights go off so he must love it, in fact, it gets more smiles that his Daddy or I do! The musical tiger has 3 settings and 2 different volumes, one setting plays a few musical tunes (warning – you will hum these tunes to yourself, sing along to them and even dream of them), and the other setting plays nature sounds – birds, crickets etc. Toby’s favourite is the music as the lights flash more. The third setting is a touch sensitive version of the tunes, it turns off after 30 seconds or so of not being touched, not useful now but I imagine will be great once Toby is big enough to figure that out. The tiger is also great because it is detachable, which means it can come with us on his pushchair, his bouncer and in the car. I would say the tiger alone is probably worth the money we spent on the gym. My only criticism of the gym comes in here – it would be great to be able to put the tiger on silent and still have the lights on. After a while, listening to the same songs over and over again can become a bit annoying.
The gym comes with quite a few attachments, as I said before, some are black and white and some are colourful. One of the great things about the gym is that you can set up where you want these attachments and move them around as much as possible, this keeps Toby on his figurative toes. It also comes with extra hoops so that you can attach your own toys, there are lots of different places where you can hang or attach the objexts. Toby’s second favourite toy is what we refer to as ‘Jingly Tiger’. As the name might suggest, Jingly Tiger jingles when it is hit. Toby loves the sound it makes and his coordination has come such a long way from having Jingly Tiger hanging above him on the mat. The gym also has a Zebra rattle which at the moment is hung above Toby but I suspect it will make a great independent toy when he is bigger. The other attachments include a butterfly and leaf teethers which at the moment are purely for decoration, although make a fun sound when they hit against the other dangling toys. Toby is a bit young for teethers but the leaf ones in particular feel lovely, so I imagine will be quite a hit once he’s old enough.
The gym also comes with a detachable mirror which can be fastened to the side of the gym, again I think this will be more useful for when Toby is a bit older. The final thing the gym comes with is a giraffe pillow. This is meant to be for when your baby is trying to do mini push-ups. The idea is that the giraffe can be placed under your baby’s arms as support. I’ve tried this a few times with Toby and he isn’t too impressed, i think its a bit soon. That being said, the only place he will remotely entertain the idea of tummy time is on the play gym mat.
The gym also folds in half with the arches still attached so that it is very easy to transport or hide away. The arches also are detachable for when baby is a bit bigger and just needs a comfortable mat to sit on.
Overall, the mat is one of the best buys we have made, we use it several times a day and is well worth the money. Sometimes if Toby is having a bit of trouble settling, or if I need to get on with other things, I can put him on his mat and he is entertained. More often than not, he will fall asleep on his mat (and then wake up to shout at you because the music has gone off), so I often put a little pillow under his head and a blanket over him and leave him to sleep for a bit. I would definitely recommend this mat from newborn and imagine it will be great until Toby is several months old. I only wish we had bought it sooner rather than the one we bought first.
I give the Spots and Stripes Safari Gym 9/10