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Few things occupy our minds more, as parents, than the proper development of our babies. To that end, we buy and use products designed to help the growth of our children, such as educational toys and stroller arches, also called “baby gyms.” Do you already have one of these? Have you heard of them?

Although these types of baby toys are well-known for their benefits of aiding in the development of a baby’s sensory abilities during the first few months months of life, there are many types of baby gyms available, and we are fully familiar with them all. This practical guide on baby gyms will teach you about all the main factors you should consider when purchasing one of these educational toys.

Key Facts

  • The relationship that a baby has with their environment is fundamental for their future development, both physical and intellectual. A baby gym is a good resource to encourage your child to exercise their arms and legs and to develop proper hand-eye coordination.
  • By using baby gyms, babies develop the ability differentiate between colors, shapes, textures and sounds, and they learn to interact with these toys in a growing, developing way that is also fun for the baby. A baby gym is a useful and practical product, since there are many different types, and you can choose one to suit your baby and you perfectly.
  • When buying a baby gym, it will be important to consider factors such as the age and size of the baby and the specific accessories that are included in the baby gym.

Our Selection: The Best Baby Gyms on the U.S. Market

For your baby, you want only the best, of course. But how do you find the best and how can you  be sure you have chosen correctly? It is not unusual to feel like this, especially the first time you are buying an accessory of this type. We have prepared a selection of the 5 best baby gyms on the market to help you decide which one is best for you.

The Best Baby Gym With Stroller Arch

The ideal baby mobile to entertain during rides in the stroller. This mobile includes fun hanging objects of different colors, as well as soft and crunchy textures that make baby-pleasing noises. It also has a pinwheel that the child activates, for a new experience every time.

You can take this mobile wherever you want, since the hooks are universal and fit perfectly to a wagon, car seat or the crib. The arch is flexible, so it allows you to regulate the distance that the hanging objects are from the baby. It adapts to their growth and to the improvement of their abilities.

The Best Baby Gym for Fine Motor Skills

Each of the eye-catching, colorful figures on the Baby Björn Wooden Toy spins and twirls, providing plenty of entertainment. Plus, your baby will be practicing fine motor skills and developing hand-eye coordination. The Wooden Toy is a great accessory for all BabyBjörn bouncer models and encourages play and self-soothing.

Particularly unique is the center figure featuring large, cartoon-like eyes. This comical character, along with the vivid colors and fun shapes of the other figures, will capture your baby’s imagination. Tested and approved as a safe product, the Wooden Toy complies with strict toy standards and is guaranteed to be free from prohibited substances.

The Best Baby Gym for Strollers

This soft colored mobile/arch is perfect for stimulating newborn babies’ vision. It is specially designed to provide entertainment for the baby when traveling in a carriage or a stroller, perfect for practicing eye-hand coordination, learning to control their grasp and it helps develop baby’s senses and motor skill development.

Easy-to-grasp rattle promotes healthy, natural development. Playing and grabbing the colorful toys encourages the baby’s sensory development and teaches them about cause and effect. Attaches easily – plastic clips securely attach to most strollers, carriages, car seats and bouncers allowing baby to play while on the go.

The Best Baby Gym With Animal Designs 

The VX-star baby gym is made of soft material, is comfortable, safe, and non-toxic. This versatile activity toy is also ideal for encouraging baby to reach, pull and squeeze, which helps strengthen their developing muscles. Multiple colors encourage visual perception development. When baby shakes the toy, it makes sounds which stimulates the baby’s auditory senses.

Animal designs with different, vivid colors make it easy to attract the baby’s attention. You can hang the over the crib, the stroller or the car seat.  This toy allows the baby holding a toy to play interactively, training the baby’s hand-eye coordination. Toys are suspended over the baby using a variety of different textures of fabric in a variety of colors help baby stay entertained.

The Best Flexible Baby Gym

Add this versatile arch to your baby’s stroller and suddenly strolling and shopping becomes an adventure! The Flex ‘n Go Activity Arch from Oball easily attaches to almost any stroller and keeps a baby entertained with an easy-to-grasp Oball, a lion rattle, an elephant rattle and Oball Linky Loops to attach additional toys.

The flexible, soft material of the Oball Arch keeps little hands busy with bold colors and tactile challenges. Designed with easy-to-grasp Oball toys that are easy for tiny fingers to grasp and with loops so you can attach more toys. Safe for ages 0 months and up.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Baby Gyms

When we prepare to buy anything for our baby we usually shop and research until we are sure we are making the best decision. During the purchase process, questions often arise, related to both the product and its use. Therefore, we hope you find it helpful that we have provided answers to the most frequently asked questions about baby gyms.

Parents are always worried about the safety of our babies.
(Source: Oksana Kuzmina: 33021540/ 123rf.com)

What are baby gyms and what are their benefits?

A baby gym is a toy for babies from which different objects hang, so that the child is entertained and learns while having fun. The toys that hang from the arch (stuffed animals, colored balls or rattles, among others) are specifically designed for the baby to develop hand-eye coordination and sensory abilities, as well as exercise their musculo-skeletal system.

This type of toy offers great benefits for babies during their first few months of life, since this is the time when they begin to use their little arms, hands and fingers while trying to reach the various objects that hang from the stroller arch. The objects come in different textures and colors, which stimulate the little one’s interest, senses and imagination.

A baby mobile is a toy for babies from which different objects hang so that the child entertains themself and learns while having fun.
(Source: deymos: 66973082/ 123rf.com)

In addition to the baby’s sensory motor skills, their sense of touch and sight is encouraged by these toys as well, and it supports autonomy of our children, since they an pay with the baby gym all on their own, without needing any intervention of an adult. Finally, these toys help with the improvement of the baby’s flexibility and strength.

From what age should a baby gym be used?

Although it varies in each case, it is normal for babies to be able to interact with the different stimuli that we present to them starting at around three months. From that age they begin to use their hands and feet to reach for objects that are attractive to them. And this is the goal of the baby gym.

So, three months would be the ideal age to start using a baby gym. At first, the baby will remain lying down all the time, but, little by little, we will observe how their instinct causes them to entertain themselves. Parents should adapt the different types of baby gyms that exist to the development of the baby.

This type of toys offers great benefits for babies in their first months of life.
(Source: Yevheniia Ustinovska: 26765803/ 123rf.com)

At first you might use arches, or baby gyms that have a a base, a blanket on which the baby lies, but with the passage of time, you can use other gyms that are hooked onto a stroller, a high chair or a walker that allows the child to use it while seated. The most important thing is to offer different stimuli to the child so that they can always have an opportunity to learn.

At what age should you stop using the baby gym with your baby?

Although the use of a baby gym depends on the intellectual and physical development of the baby, it is not advisable to extend its use more than needed, since it can be counterproductive. Children grow tremendously fast and very quickly begin to crawl and walk on their own. It is at this time when parents are advised to using this toy. When our little one starts to walk, the stimuli offered by a toy of this type is no longer enough to satisfy its development.

What objects should a baby gym have?

Luckily, the use of “baby gyms” is widespread and you can find a huge variety of objects to include on your child’s own. From accessories of different colors and varied shapes to those that emit sounds and music, or with mirrors and bright elements that capture the attention of babies, the choices are practically endless.

  • Different Colors: In the first stages of life black and white hanging objects are recommended for visual stimulation. Later, other colors are added for multi-sensory stimulation.
  • Different Shapes: Although the baby is not able to recognize the forms, he sees them as different, something that surprises him and that he will enjoy exploring.
  • Different Textures: These help to stimulate the baby’s sense of touch and to create different sensations with each hanging object.
  • Sounds and Music: The baby also develops their hearing and is surprised by the variety of sounds that he hears. In addition, these objects are highly recommended to calm children.
  • Mirrors: to assist in brain stimulation and the perception of your child’s world. Thanks to these, the baby begins to recognize the movements he performs and improves coordination.
  • Reflective objects: Similarly, the reflective elements capture the baby’s attention very well and keep him entertained.

Within this wide range of toys, there are endless possible combinations for your baby. Everything will depend on what each baby likes and what entertains them the most. Today you can find even universal object “hangers” that are sold separately and that you can add to your baby’s gym, to keep them interested in the baby gym by changing the objects over time.

Is it safe for a baby to use a baby gym?

As parents, we are always worried about safety. With the use of these types of educational toys, it is difficult for us to remain 100% involved in the activity–especially, for example, if we are pushing the stroller and the baby is playing with the baby gym on the the go. Therefore, these baby gyms are designed to protect the safety of the child.

Even so, it is important to take certain precautions. Although we allow the baby plenty of autonomy to discover, play and learn with the objects, we can never lose sight of the baby. As for the arch itself, we should periodically check to ensure that all the accessories are well anchored and that none of the pieces are broken or damages, so we can prevent the baby from swallowing any pieces or cutting themselves on any sharp edge from a broken piece.

Armando BastidaNurse

“If at 6 months the baby still plays with a baby gym, there is no problem, but it is better not to let him continue using it in later months, to promote the use of other toys (face up). They no longer need to play with things that hang, but can play with the things that are all around them. “

If the baby gym is safety-approved and complies with established regulations, don’t worry, you can relax while the baby plays, discovers and learns with the different accessories. Although it is difficult for us, we must let our baby experience and discover the world autonomously.

Are there any regulations that cover baby gyms?

As with all toys used by our children, a baby gym or other arch must comply with the requirements established by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which regulates the safety of this type of consumer item. Toys also have recommended ages associated with them, of which you should take note, but you should also consider your particular child.

These safety regulations regarding toys for very young children, focus on the importance of ensuring that the article does not contain small parts or that they can be detached, with the aim of reducing the risk of suffocation. They also state that these toys should not have sharp edges made of metal or glass.

What do I do if my baby gets bored with the baby gym?

When we notice that the baby is bored or no longer pays attention to the hanging objects on the arch, we can exchange them for new ones that are surprising and exciting again. As we have mentioned before, there are universal accessories that can be exchanged to refresh the toy and maintain the interest of the child for longer. Here are some tips:

  • Try to ensure that the time with the toy does not exceed an hour or so, since too much time in the same position will cause the child to lose interest faster.
  • Although it is recommended to leave the baby to play autonomously, at first it is good for parents to touch the hangers to get the baby’s attention and show the child the different features of the toy.
  • Try to set aside some hangers to exchange when you notice that the baby is getting bored.
  • Ideally, the hangers should be varied and should not all be too similar.
  • Babies may get bored because they have already developed enough in that area, and it is time to move on to another type of toy. But beware, because there are times when too many accessories are what causes boredom.
  • When babies are subjected to too much stimulation, they do not know what to look at and end up losing interest in what is in front of them. The same thing happens if we show them external stimuli when they are playing with the baby gym. Therefore, we should avoid doing that as well.

What is early stimulation and how is it developed with the use of baby gyms?

When we talk about toys like stroller arches, crib mobiles and baby gyms, we often hear that they are very beneficial for early stimulation, but we don’t know what exactly that means. This is simply the set of activities which supports the development of the physical and psychological abilities of the baby.

Developing this type of skill early is advisable, since these skills are directly related to the subsequent growth of the child. Within early stimulation we differentiate between gross motor skills, that is, the large movements that the baby makes, and fine motor skills, the more exact movements.

If we develop and practice motor skills, we will be helping the baby to control their body and their movements. And this is another of the main goals of using baby gyms. After all, it’s about helping your child grow.

Is there a baby gym for twins or multiples?

When we have twins or multiples, parents love for them to play together and spend time side by side. And this is no mistake, since it is very beneficial for them and for their future relationship. The companies that make baby gyms have thought about it too.

There are stroller arches and activity mats designed specifically for these types of families. They have twice as much space for your twins or triplets to play together The only precaution we should take is to make sure there are enough hanging objects for each child to have fun and learn.

Shopping Criteria

When we are preparing to buy a baby gym for our baby we want to choose the best possible. How do we do this? It’s actually very easy. We must take into account certain factors that are indispensable. If the baby gym meets these factors, it is the baby gym we are looking for. Let’s explain:

Age

When choosing a baby gym, the age of our baby is a fundamental criterion to determine if this toy will be useful or not. Earlier we mentioned that the minimum age to use this type of toys is from three months. If the child is smaller, they will not know how to use it.  If the child is already eightem months old, it may be past the optimal time for them to play this kind of game.

The ideal age to start using baby gyms is between three and six months, since this is the time in which the baby will engage the most with, and learn more with this toy.

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Within that stage, we can change the hanging toys and adapt them to the development and growth of our baby.

Size of the Baby

We know that every baby is different, so it is important that, in addition to age, we consider the size of our little one to make sure we buy a baby gym that is suitable for them. Ideally, the baby should be able to reach the hangers, but not too closely.

If the baby reaches the hangers very easily and will not have to make any effort to exercise it will not help their muscles. This does not mean that we should make it too difficult, because if it the baby is not able to reach them, they will get frustrated and it will not play with it. As they say, “everything in moderation.”

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Hot or not? 🚀🔥 Here it is: the first little project I made for our little baby (probably joining our family in September) 🙌🙌 This project is a very personal one and I am more than happy with the result. It's such a good feeling to build something that will hopefully stay in your family and own house for a while, that gives a little one joy and happiness. 😍 So what do you think about the result? Could you imagine your kids/siblings/grandchildren playing with this "baby gym"? Let me know! And just in case you want to see more baby/kids projects in the future – let me know your wishes and ideas! ⬇️⬇️⬇️ . . . . #woodworkerlife #woodworkerofinsta #woodworkercommunity #woodworkingprojects #heimwerken #heimwerker #holzwerken #finewoodwork #finewoodworking #woodworkingproject #woodworkingskills #handmade #chisel #chisels #finewoodwork #hannover_de #babydiy #babygym #kidsroom #nurseryroom

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Hanging Objects

The “hangers” or hanging objects are the different toys that hang from the baby gym and provide most of the value of this toy, so that the greater the variety, the more entertainment and learning there will be for the baby. We must ensure that there are different colors and textures among the hanging objects.

There are also hangers that emit sounds and stimulate children that way. We can even find hangers with mirrors, which children love and which support the development of baby’s sight. You should try to put varied accessories on the arch so that the child has variety each day. One trick is to change them frequently.

Material

As soon as your baby realizes they can reach all those hangers in front of them, they will want to bring each object to his mouth. And this is why the material with which the baby gym is made is important. It should not contain any toxic materials.

And in addition to the safety of the baby gym’s material, the baby gym must be made of appropriate material for proper cleaning. The health of our babies matter to us and, therefore, we must keep the toy as clean as possible. There are some made of materials, such as cloth, that you can just wash in a washing machine and they come out like new.

Quality

Last but not least, is the quality of the baby gym itself. We must be sure, first, that the toy is durable. The more durable it is, the less likely it is that it will break and produce small pieces that the baby will put in their mouth or with which the baby can be harmed.

The quality of the product should also exclude possible allergic reactions in the child while playing. Finally, we understand that the better the gym, the more comfortable it will be for your child and the more comfortable he will feel during his activity.

Summary

When we are parents, we love to see how our baby grows and develops their abilities. A baby gym is the ideal toy for your baby starting at three months of age, when our little one begins to relate to their environment and respond to different stimuli. With these gyms, children learn while having fun.

We can observe how the baby differentiates the shapes, colors and textures of the hanging objects and how they are delighted by each one of them. When trying to reach for each accessory, the baby exercises his muscles and develops his motor skills. Without a doubt, this is the toy that will become your best friend, and your baby’s favorite toy during the baby’s early stages.

If you liked our guide on baby gyms and found it useful, please share it on social media and leave us a comment.

(Featured Image Source: Ekaterina Pokrovsky: 114350251/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust us?

Topaz is an obstetrician by profession and a mother of two sons. She knows a lot about the education of small children. Besides her work in the hospital, she likes to take care of the children of friendly parents and works as a blogger.
With a background in such diverse areas as law, business, translation, art, teaching and even childcare, I bring broad general knowledge and direct, yet friendly style to my articles. I love helping people to choose the best possible option there is on the market and THEGOODESTATE.com is a great platform to do so.