Baby Activity Center Buying Guide
What is a Baby Activity Center?
If you find you’d like to branch out of the above list of products and do some shopping for yourself, you’ll find there’s a whole world of baby activity centers to explore. Of course, some products might be a bit better than others. As such, keeping the below list of tips and considerations in mind is sure to have you walking away with the best possible product at your disposal in no time.
Is your baby walking yet?
In the above list of products we just looked at, you’ll notice two of the baby activity centers had a large variety of toys on both the sides and the tops of the units. If your baby has yet to begin walking, this is perfect, as it will allow he or she to play with the toys nearest to the ground before the toys higher up are attainable. And, because many toys will currently be out of reach of your baby, the incentive to learn to walk will certainly be there. This, of course, is crucial.
On the other hand, your baby may already be able to reach the toys nearest the top of any given baby activity center. If this is the case, you’ll find that slots for toys near the bottom of the activity center will offer less benefit. As such, you may be able to save a bit of cash here and there by opting for an activity center which places little emphasis on the sides of the unit, such as the Vintage Boy we covered above.
Will you be traveling with your new activity center?
It may be easy to come to the conclusion that all baby activity centers are very portable in nature. This is likely due to the large amount of lightweight materials used in their make. While it is certainly true that the vast majority of units will be extremely lightweight, carrying a giant unit isn’t exactly comfortable. Plus, the awkward distribution of weight jutting out your side as you carry it will make it feel a whole lot heavier than it looks. With that said, what are you supposed to do if you need to carry your new activity center around with you?
Luckily, there are many activity centers which have been made for portability through allowing easy folding that may transpire over the course of five seconds or less. However, don’t be fooled by any old activity center that can fold. In fact, ninety percent (probably more) of units can fold up, though this doesn’t mean they’ll fold up easily or in a way that makes them easy to carry. Simply put, if a baby activity center isn’t advertised as being portable, you should probably take the manufacturer’s word for it and continue shopping around some more if you plan on traveling about with your new activity center through an efficient means.
Optional Baby Activity Center Features
There are a few features you can expect to find in different baby activity centers which are truly neither good nor bad. In reality, it all comes down to you and your baby. Do you like any of the below features?
- Musical Capabilities – They say having your child listen to classical music will go on to raise their IQ. Whether or not you subscribe to this theory, you may like to offer your child a little more in the way of things to do in their new activity center. One way to do this is, of course, to add music. There’s a reason so many units have music boxes built into them in the first place – because they work. On the other hand, nothing marks up an activity center’s price like a music box. As such, you may find it beneficial to get a cheaper unit if you already have a source of music laying about, such as a phone, computer or stereo.
- Extra Padding – If your baby has mastered the art of walking to the point where falls and tumbles are no longer a concern, skipping on any extra padding can save a lot more money than you might realize. On the other hand, you may prefer that you new activity center comes with a little extra in the way of safety. Whether or not you opt for extra padding can rely solely on your own discretion.
Common Baby Activity Center Features
The above features are only suitable if you particularly want to see them in your baby’s activity center. The below features; however, should always be sought after.
- High-Up Toys – Part of the reason you’re getting a baby activity center in the first place is to stimulate your baby’s mental and physical development. As such, it doesn’t make sense to get an activity center which doesn’t give them the incentive to stand up by introducing toys placed higher up on the unit. Even if your baby is a long ways off of this point, such a feature will always pay off in the end and will likely cut down on the amount of toys you find yourself buying in the future.
- Removable Toys – When making a baby activity center, it costs next to nothing for a manufacturer to make the toys on the unit removable. As such, the price markup on such a unit will be negligible. That being the case, having removable toys may entertain your baby while having no real downsides. There’s really nothing to lose in this regard.
- Padding – I mentioned earlier that extra padding is optional. However, it’s always good to have at least a little bit of padding. It doesn’t need to be thick. Many units come with padding which could be compared to a very thin blanket. This will keep your baby comfortable, thus giving you a chance to sit back.
Outside of getting a baby activity center with one or more of the above features in mind, the choices are nearly limitless. As such, knowing what you want before going into shopping is sure to net you an activity center both you and your baby will love. Parenting can be hard, but shopping doesn’t have to be.