Baby Gear Must-Have: The Play Gym

Now that my sister is expecting, we’ve been going over the baby gear must-haves — which products to get, which products to skip.

Keep in mind that almost everyone’s list of must-haves will be different: I’d say that a swing was the single biggest sanity saver of those early months, while another mom will say that it was the biggest waste of money; her kid wouldn’t stop screaming in it. One mom will say that her baby slept in a Pack ‘n Play more often than her crib, while I’d say that mine was hardly used.

But when it comes to something that will briefly entertain a non-mobile baby, PLUS develop motor skills, nothing says hallelujah like a baby gym.


My son used his play gym for a good chunk of his first year — even playing on the mat after he was too big for the overhead activities.

And it’s not just about the blinking lights and music, considering there’s plenty of fine motor development being done on a play gym — like grasping, swatting, pulling, and sensory exploration. It’s also the perfect place to do your baby’s tummy time activities.

What to buy?

Simba’s King-Sized Play Gym has a Zazu flutter-wheel, Pumbaa roller, peek-a-boo leaf, soft plush Nala rattle, Simba clackers, and a Timon teether — all providing specific tactile, sensory experiences for baby. There’s also a tummy time wedge AND a mirror (which is every baby’s favorite thing to look at), as well as 20 minutes of music.

You can find it at Amazon, Babies ‘R Us, or Target ($69.99).


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