Baby activity center
  • 7 Best Activity Centers for Babies

    December 03, 2019
    14 min read

    As your baby learns to stand and walk, you may be interested in providing an activity center to help keep her entertained and stimulated. Read on to discover what makes an activity center so appealing for your baby and what factors to consider when buying one.

    More than 3,500 Pampers Parents voted for their favorite activity center; we’ve reviewed the top seven models in detail.

    What's in this article:

    What Is an Activity Center? When Can Your Baby Use an Activity Center? Factors to Consider When Buying an Activity Center 7 Best Activity Centers

    What Is an Activity Center?

    Activity centers are basically stationary play centers in which your baby sits and hangs with her feet dangling in the center, often in a 360-degree rotating set. This toy gives your baby something to do while engaging her and fostering her cognitive and motor skills.

    Although some activity centers have a platform on which your baby can bounce or jump and are sometimes called bouncy seats, bouncers, or jumpers, what’s typically called a baby bouncer or a baby swing is something quite different and usually only used for younger babies.

    When Can Your Baby Use an Activity Center?

    Somewhere between 8 and 12 months, which is about the time your baby is getting ready to stand and walk, you may consider getting her an activity center, which gives your baby a safe area in which to play.

    Keep in mind that experts recommend the use of an activity center over a baby walker because walkers can actually impede your child’s healthy development and lead to dangerous falls if they tip over.

    Factors to Consider When Buying an Activity Center

    “Some good factors to consider are how much the activity center can adapt and grow with your baby, how many things are there to keep him busy, and how stimulating it is.”

    Pampers Parent

    Here are some of the different factors and features to consider when choosing an activity center:

    • Safety. Check that the product hasn’t been recalled and that it’s JPMA certified. If you are receiving one as a hand-me-down, check for broken or loose parts, and don’t use it if that’s the case.
    • Padding. Some may have more comfortable padding in the seat than others.
    • Mobility. Check whether your baby can jump or bounce in it.
    • Adjustability. Some have legs that are height adjustable to grow with your child.
    • Versatile toys. Some have removable toys that can be used elsewhere in the home for play, or taken away on a trip.
    • 360-degree accessibility. Many activity centers have a 360-degree rotating seat, which enables your baby to reach all the way around the activity center.
    • Sensory experiences. Some activity centers have lights, music, or sounds. It’s also worth thinking about whether there’s a particular theme your baby might like.
    • Storage. Some can collapse or fold up for storage and transportation.
    • Cleaning. Consider how easy it is to clean the activity center; for example, it’s quite handy when the seat cover is machine washable.
    • Size. Some activity centers can be quite bulky and end up taking more space than you expect. Always double check the assembled size before buying one.
    • Price. The activity centers on our list range in price from about $80 to $130.
    • Convertibility. Some activity centers can also transition into a play table for toddlers, which means you’ll get more use out of it.

    7 Best Activity Centers

    Here are the activity centers Pampers Parents chose as their favorites in ranked order.

    1. Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo

    Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo

    Why pick this one? Pampers Parents loved the Rainforest Jumperoo from Fisher-Price and selected it as the best activity center. A favorite feature is that the seat rotates 360 degrees, enabling your baby to reach all the jungle creatures when playing.

    The bouncy seat has covered springs, so you don’t have to worry about your baby’s fingers getting caught. The activity center also has three different height positions, allowing you to adjust it to your baby’s height as she grows.

    The manufacturer claims the activity center can help your child’s development in the following ways:

    • The toys offer a variety of textures, which stimulates her sense of touch.
    • The colors and music engage your baby’s eyes and ears.
    • Your baby can learn about cause and effect as, for example, lights and sounds reward your little one every time she jumps.
    • All the reaching, touching, and grabbing help build her hand-and-eye coordination.

    Highlights: The activity center is easy to fold up and tuck away when not in use, or to take with you when you’re headed to the babysitter's or to Grandma’s.

    Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo
    Item size43 x 37 x 32 inches
    Item weight18 pounds
    Item adjustability3 height settings
    Baby weightUp to 25 pounds
    Baby heightUp to 32 inches
    Power source3 AA batteries required

    Price*: about $104.99 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: It’s relatively affordable in price while having all the bells and whistles your baby will need.
    • Cons: You may wish it had a volume control, as the sounds can get loud. It also could be easier to clean.

    Buy it NOW

    2. Baby Einstein Neighborhood Symphony Activity Jumper

    Baby Einstein Neighborhood Symphony Activity Jumper

    Why pick this one? Encourage your baby’s musicality with this activity center from Baby Einstein. The musically themed toys will both engage and entertain your little one with vivid multi-sensory experiences. The captain’s seat, as the manufacturer calls it, rotates 360 degrees so your baby can reach any of the instruments.

    The activity center features drums, a piano, guitar, and tambourine — basically an entire band for your baby! The electric bongo drum set is removable for when your baby wants to play with it on the floor instead (or when you want a break from all the racket!).

    Highlights: The seat pad is machine washable. The activity center has four height adjustments so it can be customized to fit your growing baby.

    Baby Einstein Neighborhood Symphony Activity Jumper
    Item size 33.1 x 32 x 32 inches
    Item weight 7.03 pounds
    Item adjustability4 height settings
    Baby weightUp to 24.2 pounds
    Baby heightUp to 30 inches
    Power source3 AA batteries required

    Price*: about $99.99 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: It’s very durable and there are lots of toys for your little one to play with.
    • Cons: The activity center tends to rock if your child jumps a lot.

    Buy it NOW

    3. Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby’s View Activity Center

    Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby’s View Activity Center

    Why pick this one? What makes the Silver Lining Cloud activity center from Skip Hop stand out is that it’s designed to grow with your baby in three stages:

    1. In the first stage it functions as an activity center for bouncing and playing.
    2. In the second stage it works as a cruising and interacting table.
    3. And in the third stage it converts to a play table with a chalkboard insert. You can even buy a pair of matching chairs to go with it.

    Like most activity centers, this one features a 360-degree rotating seat. Other features include a discovery window that lets your baby see her feet as well as a piano, if you’ve installed it at her feet. The toys clip into place and can be positioned anywhere on the table of the activity center for your baby’s enjoyment.

    The toys include a light-up piano that can be installed at the feet or on the table in place of the discovery window, peekaboo clouds that pop up and squeak, a lamb with rattle beads, a star that can sway back and forth, and a sun spinner and bead mover. There’s even a suction-cup snack bowl that’s shaped like a bird.

    Highlights: When you don’t need the activity center, the legs can detach for easy storage.

    Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby’s View Activity Center
    Item size47 x 31 x 18.5 inches
    Baby weightUp to 25 pounds
    Baby heightUp to 30 inches
    Power source3 AAA batteries required

    Price*: about $119.99 Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: You’ll love the fact that the activity center can transform as your baby gets older.
    • Cons: It could use more toys and activities.

    Buy it NOW

    4. Bright Starts Disney Baby Finding Nemo Sea of Activities Jumper

    Bright Starts Finding Nemo Jumper

    Why pick this one? Send your little one on an ocean adventure with this underwater-themed activity center from Bright Starts. Your baby can play with toys like the rollerball fish, which features dancing lights and ocean sounds; the stingray that hangs from above; the sea turtle that has an interactive belly that lights up and plays music; and much more.

    Some of the toys can be removed for travel or for when your little one wants to play with it on the floor, for example.

    The activity center also features a child-safe mirror and a 360-degree rotating high-backed seat.

    This is the most expensive activity center on our list.

    Highlights: The buckles can be adjusted to four different heights, allowing the activity center to grow with your baby. And compared to the other models on the list, this activity center has the most toys including ones that hang.

    Bright Starts Disney Baby Finding Nemo Sea of Activities Jumper
    Item size34.1 x 30.5 x 24.5 inches
    Item weight17.2 pounds
    Item adjustability4 height settings
    Baby weightUp to 25 pounds
    Power source6 AA batteries required

    Price*: about $129.99 Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: Your baby will love the theme, and there are plenty of toys and activities to engage him.
    • Cons: It’s on the expensive side.

    Buy it NOW

    5. Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Sit-to-Stand Activity Center

    Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Sit-to-Stand Activity Center

    Why pick this one? You’ll appreciate the three uses your baby will get out of this jungle-themed activity center from Fisher-Price. First, the newborn play mat can be used on its own for tummy time; then, the whole thing can serve as an activity center for your older baby; and finally, the activity center can become a play table for your toddler.

    The height of the activity center can be adjusted to three different levels to suit your growing baby. The seat swivels 360 degrees so he can reach all the toys, which include different jungle animals and insects that double as rattles, bead bars, spinners, and more. There’s also a removable musical alligator with light-up keys that play music.

    When your baby has grown out of the activity center, just insert the racing ramp into the center, and the activity center transforms into a play table for your toddler.

    Highlights The play mat as well as the seat pad are machine washable. The legs can be removed for storing the activity center with ease.

    Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Sit-to-Stand Activity Center
    Item size24.2.1 x 24.2 x 21.9 inches
    Item weight15.2 pounds
    Item adjustability3 height settings
    Baby weightUp to 25 pounds

    Price*: about $92.05 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: Since it’s a 3-in 1, it grows with your child, and it has a variety of activities to entertain your baby.
    • Cons: The seat fabric could be better quality.

    Buy it NOW

    6. Evenflo ExerSaucer Jump and Learn Jumper

    Evenflo ExerSaucer Jump and Learn

    Why pick this one? This jungle-themed activity center from Evenflo is also a jumper in one. The manufacturer claims the bouncy base helps build your baby’s core strength, balance, and coordination.

    The jungle character toys include an elephant, giraffe, lion, and a plush monkey, which is removable for taking on trips. Some of the toys even have lights and sounds to engage your baby.

    What's missing from this activity center is a 360-degree swiveling seat, a feature you'll find on all of the other activity centers on this list.

    Highlights: The seat pad is machine washable.

    Evenflo ExerSaucer Jump and Learn Jumper
    Item size28.9 x 23.2 x 9 inches
    Item weight22 pounds
    Item adjustability3 height settings
    Power source6 AA batteries required

    Price*: about $119.78 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: It has a variety of toys, with some that are removable for your baby to play with elsewhere.
    • Cons: It’s on the expensive side. Also, it takes up quite a bit of space and doesn’t store well.

    Buy it NOW

    7. Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Step ‘n Play Piano

    Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Step ‘n Play Piano

    Why pick this one? This Step ‘n Play Piano from Fisher-Price might be the ideal activity center if your little one is a budding entertainer. It includes a keyboard at the finger tips and one at the feet, both of which play music.

    With three built-in songs, your baby can choose his favorite as well as play a variety of other notes. The drums light up to provide visual as well as auditory stimulation. There’s even a guitar, clicking synthesizer sliders, headphones, a microphone, and a tambourine for your little one to try out.

    This activity center is very versatile:

    1. The foot keyboard mat can be used for tummy time.
    2. The sliding seat encourages your child to step back and forth.
    3. And, with the seat removed, your child can use the activity center into toddlerhood as a play station.

    If you’re on a budget, you might like to consider this one, as it is the least expensive activity center on our list.

    Highlights: Your baby can swivel 360 degrees in the activity center. The seat pad is machine washable. The seat height adjusts to your baby.

    Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Step ‘n Play Piano
    Item size31.5 x 28.4 x 22.4 inches
    Item weight21 pounds
    Baby weightUp to 25 pounds
    Baby heightUp to 32 inches
    Power source3 AA batteries required

    Price*: about $78.92 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: It offers lots of different stimulation for your baby, and it’s more versatile than most other activity centers.
    • Cons: It’s very large and is difficult to store.

    Buy it NOW

    Whichever activity center you choose, you can count on your baby being entertained and engaged. Plus, if you happen to pick an activity center that can convert into a play table, you’ll get plenty of use out of this purchase as it can grow with your child into the toddler years.

    Check out more reviews of top baby gear that thousands of Pampers Parents voted on.

    Recall Notice

    Before buying a product, always check that it’s approved and hasn’t been recalled on sites like the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

    *Prices are correct at the time of writing.

    How We Got These Results

    We surveyed thousands of parents in the Pampers Community and asked them to choose the products they love the most, and to share their views on specific products and product categories. Based on the survey responses, we have taken the top product picks and added our own research to create this article. The aim is to help you choose the right product for you and your family. We might receive commissions on purchases made from the links in this article, but the products featured are the Pampers Community’s top choices.

    See all sources

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