Activity centres are great for growing babies who are developing physically and mentally. Usually aimed at babies from 4-6 months and upwards, placing your baby in an activity centre not only gives them exciting toys to play with, but keeps them safely in one place while you get on with other things. A lot of activity centres also double up as walkers or bouncers, giving babies that first sense of freedom of movement.
These products allow your babies to be curious, adventurous, and excited by new toys and sounds while still staying safe and within your reach. They’re great for when laying on the floor on a playmat or baby gym just doesn’t give them enough stimulation any more, but when you want to be getting on with housework, work, or just having a cup of tea without your baby attached to you for five minutes.
Some days it feels like us mums can’t get anything done by ourselves, but these activity centres will give you a bit of time to do whatever you need to – whether that’s making lunch, doing the ninth load of washing of the day, or sitting down and breathing.
We love the cute, fun designs of Skip Hop and this activity centre is cheery and full of entertaining elements for your baby. It grows as your little one develops; starting with a seated bouncer with 360-degree rotation, then a table for cruising, then – thanks to adjustable legs – a table they can sit at. So this is great value considering how long it will last your child. There are piano keys your baby can kick with their feet, and a peek-a-boo owl who pops out and hoots.
- From: 4 months
- Size: 79 x 79 x 47cm
- Weight: 6.8kg
- 25+ interactive elements
- Requires batteries
- Minimum Weight Recommendation: 7.26kg
- Maximum Weight Recommendation: 12.7kg
Why we like it: The design is cheerful and different, and offers value for money with how long this will last through baby’s different stages.
Another value-for-money choice that changes from a baby gym, into an activity centre panel, then into a walker when your little one starts taking those first exciting steps. It has three modes: Music, Play & Learn, and Get Active. You can also change the settings on the wheels to adapt to how fast your little one moves.
- Size 54.3 x 41.3 x40cm
- Weight: 2.17kg
- From: 6 months
Why we like it: The ability to change the speed of the wheels is innovative and this activity centre won’t break the bank.
Doubling as an activity centre and a jumperoo, it’s no wonder this Fisher-Price is so popular (new versions of the model come out frequently). The seat spins 360-degrees so your baby can discover everything around them, with hanging toys, a spinner, and a drum. It’s adjustable so can grow as your baby does. It’s great for physical development and mental stimulation.
- Size: 94 x 81.3 x 81.3 cm
- Weight: 8.16 Kg
- Maximum weight recommendation: 12kg
- Requires batteries
Why we like it: The reputation of this brand brings peace of mind with a fun, dependable activity centre.
The Taf Toys Laptoy Activity Centre was Shortlisted in the 2019 M&B Awards Best Baby Toy category.
This activity centre is a bit different to the others, as it can be used on the floor, clipped on to the side of the cot, or on your baby’s lap, rather than being one you sit in.
Our real-mum tester Kate said: "I would recommend this product to a fellow mum. I really like the design and the different aspects of the toy helped keep my little girl entertained from the moment it was opened. It is isn’t too heavy or 'plasticy' and has a really useful carry handle. I like the shape of the product as it seems to sit well on my daughter's lap while she sits and plays and isn't too heavy or cumbersome for her to discard when she no longer wants to play with it."
- Size: 40.5 x 26.5 x 4cm
- From: 4 months
- 12+ interactive elements
Why we like it: The variety of options this activity centre allows, meaning you can use it anywhere for a long time.
Read our full review of the Taf Toys Laptoy Activity Centre here.
Bringing a bit of the safari to your baby’s playtime, this activity centre features all of the colours. The seat rotates 360-degrees allowing your baby to discover the whole play area, and the seat height can be altered to grow as they do.
- 12+ activities to play with
- Weight: 4.08kg
- Size: 75.6 x 20.7 x 73 cm
- Maximum weight recommendation: 11kg
Why we like it: We love the fun your baby can have bouncing on the bounce pad, and the storage tray is really easy to clean.