Only what you need for your baby. Really. (OK – and some fantastic things you don’t that are pretty cool.)
I’ve always liked Skip Hop‘s style and Astrid (and I) were really happy with their farmyard activity mat when she was tiny: soft fabric with some texture and crinkles for fun + the standard arches for dangling soft toys with their own small (and quiet!) features, all of it in tasteful primary colors with minimal electronics and garish extras. Done.
A friend of mine registered for their latest play mat, which reminded me to check their site. The farmyard theme has been replaced by a treetop one that’s just as appealing, if not even more so. Or maybe it’s just my weakness for owls.
The mat still has the extra hanging loops for hooking on some additional toys and a little mirror in the tree trunk as well as the U-shaped pillow to support little Maddy’s chest during tummy time so she can see the room a little better than when her face is flat on the mat. (Yes, that’s what that pillow is for. It took me, like, three weeks to figure that out. I’m quick like that.)
At $75, it’s not cheap, but, for one of the only toys that an infant will use right away (covering play and tummy time) and will be on your floor for a whole year, I’d rather spend the money and skip the cheap-looking alternatives. Yay owls!
Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym, $75 at SkipHop or Amazon. Or check your neighborhood parents’ group to see if anyone’s ready to part with theirs – they don’t get beat up very much – but do get their share of drool (!) so wash it well before you use it.