We bought this gym for Toby after trying a terrible Lamaze. We were looking for something that would entertain him and help him develop his coordination and attention skills.
The gym was very easy to set up and ready for use in minutes. On the face of it, the gym is very attractive. It has black and white markings which are great for grabbing the attention of very young children when they can only see really high contrast. Some of the attachments are also black and white, which is great for a small child. In addition to the high-contrast black and white, there is a variety of colors on the gymnasium arches and on the actual playing mat. Toby loves looking at colors now that he’s a little bit older.
The gym is equipped with several annexes. Best of all is the musical tiger that sticks to the top of the gym. The tiger has 20 minutes of music and flashing lights. Toby can sit and stare at them for hours! Waving his arms and legs when he’s on and the closest he came to laughing was while he was lying down looking at the lights. He yells at us if the sound and lights go out, so he must love him, in fact he gets more smiles than me or he father of him! The musical tiger has 3 settings and 2 different volumes, one setting plays some music (be careful: you will hum these tunes to yourself, sing along with them and even dream about them), and the other setting plays the sounds of nature: birds , crickets etc. Toby’s favorite is music as the lights flash more. The third setting is a touch sensitive version of the songs, it turns off after about 30 seconds of not being touched, it’s not useful now but I guess it will be great once Toby is old enough to understand it. The tiger is also fantastic because it is detachable, which means that he can come with us in his stroller, in his bouncer and in the car. I’d say the tiger alone is probably worth the money we spent in the gym. My only critique of the gym comes here: it would be great to be able to put the tiger into silence and still have the lights on. After a while, listening to the same songs over and over can get a little annoying.
The gym comes with quite a few accessories, as I mentioned earlier, some are black and white and some are colored. One of the great things about the gym is that you can set these attachments wherever you want and move them around as much as possible, this keeps Toby on his toes. It also comes with extra hoops so you can stick your toys, there are many different places where you can hang or stick items. Toby’s second favorite toy is the one we call “Jingly Tiger”. As the name suggests, Jingly Tiger rattles when hit. Toby loves the sound he makes and his coordination has come a long way since having Jingly Tiger hanging over him on the carpet. The gym also has a Zebra rattle that’s currently hanging above Toby, but I suspect it’ll make a great standalone toy when he’s older. Other accessories include a butterfly and leafy toothpastes which are purely decorative at the moment, although they make a funny sound when they hit the other dangling toys. Toby is a little young to the teeth, but the leafy ones in particular are adorable, so I guess he’ll be quite a hit once he’s old enough.
The gym is also equipped with a detachable mirror that can be attached to the side of the gym, again I think it will be more useful when Toby is a little older. The last thing the gym comes with is a giraffe pillow. This is meant for when your toddler is trying to do mini pushups. The idea is that the giraffe can be placed under your baby’s arms as a support. I tried it a couple of times with Toby and he wasn’t very impressed, I think it’s a little early. That said, the only place the idea of belly-down time will entertain from a distance is on the gym mat.
The gym also folds in half with the arches still attached so that it is very easy to carry or hide. The arches are also detachable for when the baby is a little older and just needs a comfortable mat to sit on.
Overall, the mat is one of the best purchases we’ve made, we use it several times a day and it’s worth it. Sometimes, if Toby is having some trouble settling down, or if I need to get along with other things, I can put it on his mat and he has fun. Most of the time he will fall asleep on his mat (and then wake up to yell at you because the music is over), so I often put a small pillow under his head and a blanket on top and let him sleep for a while. I highly recommend this baby mat and imagine it will be great until Toby is several months old. I just wish we had bought it sooner rather than the one we bought first.
I give at the Safari Spots and Stripes Gym 9/10
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