Mother and Baby

Baby play nests to support your little one as they grow

Section: Toys & Education
baby in a play nest

It's easy to get swept up in all the baby gear you're told you 'need' as a new parent and included in that list might be a play nest. 

Put simply, a play nest is usually in the shape of a doughnut or half-moon and enables your baby to sit up independently by supporting their back while they can't do it themselves. While a baby nest is used as a daytime lounging product for little ones, a play nest offers a comfy and safe space to pop your baby where they can play and they usually include toys for your youngster to explore. 

The (usually) bold colours, patterns and sounds of a play nest will stimulate them while encouraging hand-eye coordination, and fine and gross motor skills as it will be a lot easier for your child to play with toys.

And let's not forget that it gives you the chance to have both of your hands free for five glorious minutes too...

Generally suitable from birth, most play nests are inflatable which means you can store them away easily and take them away on trips or to grandparents' house too.

If a play nest sounds like something you'd like for your baby, here are our favourite ones available to buy.

This soft, inflatable and colourful playnest brings Eric Carle's beautiful book to life, with six multi-sensory features designed to stimulate touch, vision and hearing in babies and toddlers alike. The play nest will support your youngster in a sitting position, enabling your baby to safely reach out and explore the sounds and textures including sun ribbons, furry patches and squeaky butterfly wings.

Suitable from: Birth

Dimensions: ‎37 x 7 x 28.2 cm

Review: "What a brilliant idea! This Hungry Caterpillar inflatable ring is covered in fabric with added items from the book that the child can touch and play with. There are eight different items on the ring to encourage and develop early concepts. It is recommended to be used from birth. We put our three month-old in it and she seemed quite happy and safe but we thought it more appropriate to be used by an older baby who can already sit up and want to interact with the things on the ring."

Great for supporting your baby as they learn to sit up, this inflatable seat will keep your child safely cushioned with the padded arms and head rest. It has a detachable tray with interactive toys to keep them entertained and the removable cover is also machine washable in case it gets messy.

Suitable from: Six months

Dimensions: ‎11.8 x 41 x 29.5 cm

Review: "Bought for my 3 month old as he likes to sit on the sofa with mummy, had to put a cushion in it for him to sit on so he’s a bit higher up and he’s still a bit wobbly in it but I expect he’ll get more stable as he gets bigger but he absolutely loves the little penguin that came with it, it’s his new favourite toy."

There's plenty of welcoming characters for your little one to explore on this play nest including a furry sheep, squeaky duck and peep-o door. When partially inflated, the playnest offers head and neck support to very young babies and as your baby gets older and develops, simple fully inflate the playnest to support them in a sitting position, enabling them to safely reach out and explore the sounds and textures around them. 

Suitable from: Birth

Dimensions: 37.01 x 7.49 x 28.19 cm

Review: "Had this since my son was 2 months old and its still going strong (now nearly 7 months old). He loves it and the freedom he can have in there. Used on a daily basis and stays up well. Good value for money and quality was really good good too!"

This inflatable floor seat is made up of white and grey colours enriched with bright pops of yellow. The inflatable seat and raised back will ensure your child secure and supported as they play. It comes with a removable play panel that's full of interactive features such as a crinkle texture, squeaker noise, a rattle and a mirror so they can see themselves.

Suitable from: Six months

Dimensions: 29 x 70 x 60cm

Review: "Good value for money, easy to transport if needed, baby loves to sit and play. Fast delivery."

How cosy does this little guy look? Designed to grow with your little one, it offers three stages of support for both rest and play. To start with, it's a cosy, cuddly, supportive nest for newborns. It will then convert to a prop to give older babies the support they need as they start to sit up. You can then transform it into a soft space for your child to play which is also great for tummy time. There are lots of textures for little hands to explore, contrasting colours for visual stimulation and of course, that friendly lion face.

Suitable from: Birth

Review: "Initially I thought this was a bit pricey, but it has a number of components, lovely fabric and textures and 3 ways to set it up from newborn to sitting up. In newborn setting, the playmat sticks on top of the inflatable doughnut to create a comfy hammock for the baby. You must really stretch the playmat tight on the velcro to prevent drooping and now my baby is 7kg and 3 months old he's a bit too heavy for this. We haven't tried the product in the seated chair position yet, but imagine this will make a lovely 'reading corner' in the future. The circular playmat itself is fantastic! Our baby loves doing tummy time on the blue textured section as he can really grip onto this to push himself up and it's super soft."

Car Playnest

£45.24 - RRP: £54.99

Give your tot their very first set of wheels with this fabric covered inflatable car-themed play nest. Soft and safe with a comfortable quilted centre, it has a detachable electronic dashboard with steering wheel, key and ignition sound, car horn and tune, boot pocket and wing mirror. 

Suitable from: 9 months

Dimensions: 47.5 x 9.7 x 40.01 cm

Review: "I'm very glad I bought this car, I should have done it earlier. My son was 6 months old at the time and he really loved it, he could stay in more than 5 minutes without moaning. The keys are great for teething. Now he is over 8 months and still likes it but I have to watch him all the time as he is trying to lean out and I'm scared that he will fall out. His older cousins are also enjoying it but like a lounger with legs out."

Play nest safety

  • Always supervise your baby while they use the play nest.
  • Do not allow your child to fall asleep in the play nest.
  • Position the play nest on a level and stable surface. Never use on elevated surfaces such as a table.
  • Do not transport the seat with baby inside.
  • Do not place or position the seat near any item which could present a danger of suffocation or strangulation. 

Popular articles to read next

  • Author: Emily Thorpe Emily Thorpe
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Having written for Mother&Baby magazine for four years where she wrote news, product pages, features and interviewed celebrities such as Paloma Faith and Fearne Cotton, Emily now works as Digital Writer for Mother&Baby online where she specialises in travel and product reviews. 


Related Content

You May Also Like

You May Also Like

You May Also Like