Sunday, August 31, 2008

Comparing Baby Play Mats

Our little one is now 6 months old. We are in the homestretch of the 'playmat' stage, and I wanted to reflect back on three mats that we have been using for him. Each one had good qualities, and I'd be happy to recommend any of them. Two of them I kept at our house, and one I took to my CEO's -- Joanna Pineda's -- house so that the Nanny (Goring) we are sharing could use it.

Here is a rundown of these 3 mats, and their pros/cons ...

Name: Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music by Tiny Love
Suggested Retail Price: $74.95
How I got it: From my friend Edwige, who used it for her kids ($20)
Manufactured in: China
Distinguishing Feature: Lights and music are in the mat itself, so it really encourages little babies to want to be on their tummies
Comparative Analysis: This is my favorite of the 3. The lights in the mat are great; but that element pulls out so that the mat can be machine-washed. This mat is also very, very sturdy. He can hold onto the supports to hold himself up as he is learning to sit. The toys are easy to take off and put onto his stroller, etc. It's a really great toy.

: Ocean Wonders Kick & Crawl Aquarium by Fisher-Price
Suggested Retail Price: $33
How I got it: From a gal on Craig's List ($10)
Manufactured in: China
Distinguishing Feature: The mat can be reconstructed to be a tunnel once baby starts crawling. It is cool!
Comparative Analysis: As a mat, this item isn't that interesting. Also, I don't like that the toys velcro onto it; it means that they can't be hooked easily onto the crib, a stroller, etc. But the design that allows it to be made into a tunnel is ingenius. He is just starting to 'creep,' so I constructed the tunnel and he is absolutely intrigued by it.

: RRRoaring Fun! Play Gym by Bright Starts
Suggested Retail Price: $24.99
How I got it: Baby Shower Gift
Manufactured in: China
Distinguishing Feature: Cheapest price point and interesting assortment of toys, including a plush lion that plays music.
Comparative Analysis: This one is the least 'different' of the 3. It has nice, bright colors, but it doesn't distinguish itself like the other two. The lion is awesome; mine didn't play music very well, so I wrote to Bright Starts and they sent me another one, which was wonderful. Also, it had a velcro mirror that could be removed and moved to other uses, and I appreciated that. The Gymini mirror wasn't easily removable.


Joanna Pineda said...

I bought the Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music for my son and he loved it. He especially liked the music and he would press the button to keep the music playing, and was fascinated by the mirror. I agree with Nitpicky's assessment.

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