When you decide that you want to buy an exersaucer, you need to look at all of the different types of baby activity centers. All are designed to encourage your baby to play and have sensory experiences, as well as coming equipped with different materials, textures, colors, and patterns.
Just because they all have similar goals does not mean they’re all the same. So, let’s take a look at the different types of exersaucers to help make your decision.
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The 6 Types of Baby Activity Centers
Playmats can be used from birth. They’re typically comfortable mats with an arch over the top that has dangling toys. The toys are colorful and designed to encourage your child to play.
This type of baby activity center can be used as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital, but don’t expect your child to play at first. In the beginning, they’re a safe place to put your child with colors, lights, and music to attract his attention.
You can use these mats for tummy time, and they help to encourage your baby to roll over as well.
If you think about an exersaucer, a jumping activity center is what you might imagine. They’re designed to let your child jump. Durable bands hang some, and your child jumps on the floor with his feet. Others have a platform underneath.
Either way, these are meant for active babies who love to be moving. Your child will love to bounce and jump for hours. Most of these centers also have toys and music to keep your child thoroughly entertained, even when they don’t want to jump.
Not all activity centers are meant for jumping. Stationary activity centers are seated in activity centers. You put your child into the seat, which typically spins, and he can play with all of the toys around him.
Typically, stationary centers can be used before jumping ones because babies don’t develop the necessary leg muscles until 6-7 months or later. You don’t want to put unnecessary stress on your baby’s legs and potentially cause issues with development.
Stationary centers are a good compromise. Babies can sit in the seat and play with the toys without putting any stress on their legs.
If you’re looking for a center that you can take to and from family member’s homes, you’ll need a portable center. They either fold or come apart quickly.
Most portable centers have fewer things for your child to do, but they’re designed to be easy to take places with you. Whether you’re going on vacation or like to visit family often, the portable is the way to go. Also, they’re much easier to store. So, if you have a small apart or home, a portable activity center can be stored away when not in use.
Portable activity centers typically have folding legs, a swivel seat, elastic in the seat to let your baby bounce, and a multi-stage tabletop with plenty of accessories.
Sit to Stand Activity Tables
Another option is to get your baby an activity table. You can start to use these when your baby sits independently. The legs come off of the table, and you can set it in front of your child. He will smack and play with the toys happily.
As he gets older, you can put the legs back on the table, and he can use the table as support as he learns how to stand. Babies love to stand at their activity table, even practicing how to walk around them.
Activity center tables are full of colors, textures, and developmentally safe toys. You can expect the toys to make sounds and have different lights as well.
Last, if you’ve ever taken your baby to the doctor’s office, you’ve seen the wooden activity cubes. These are classic, and every child needs to have one. They last for years and are a fantastic investment.
These cubes have bead mazes, toys that spin, sliders, and all kinds of activities. For parents who prefer a low-tech option, activity cubes are the way to go. Your baby sits in front of the cube, but recently, some companies have made similar products that let your baby stand at them.
Picking the right type of baby activity centers for your child is an important decision. You don’t need to pick just one based on age and weight limit! Some parents want to have more than one, or you can choose the one that will fit your baby’s needs as he gets older.