Two babies, and four playmats in, I’ve finally found the gym that will entertain a baby in comfort and safety. I’ve always liked the Fisherprice Rainforest range but the Melodies & Lights deluxe baby gym has made me a happy mum.
I rate all the Playmats that the babies and I test by the same criteria, so before I start gushing, here we go:
I’ve seen a lot of reviews on this playmat saying that the mat itself is not very thick. You need to remember that playmats like all baby toys have incredibly strict safety standards. They must be breathable and not thick enough to block a baby’s nose and mouth. With that in mind, the padding in the mat is average, but the sturdy, non-slip bottom makes it much warmer than average, and it’s the first mat that I haven’t had to put a blanket under on a wooden floor. The satin feel edges are so soft and the stitching gives the base a quilt-like feel. Toddler boy likes it just as much as baby girl and has been found napping on it more than once!
Sorry for being repetitive regular readers, but one of my biggest complaints about baby toys when they are made out of felty material that picks up fluff. Babies are fluff magnets! Two of the four playmats I’ve reviewed in the last 3 years have been rendered unusable because I just can’t clean the toys to make them safe for tiny mouths again. I’m so happy to say that there are no felty toys on the Fisherprice Rainforest mat! It is wipe clean, the mat is easy to remove for a more thorough wash, and the toys are easy to sponge clean with the minimum of awkward spots that rusk crumbs can work into. 6months in and the mat still looks like new.
Interactivity and education
The mat has music and lights which have various settings including one that is controlled by the baby’s movements. The music starts and stops and changes volume, teaching the child about action and consequence. The set comes with 10 toys and activity points, which are suitable at different stages of development. There are toys for tummy time and lay and play, for hands and feet at different heights.
The animals are in bright primary and secondary colours, with friendly faces which appeal to the babies. The overall aesthetic and look of quality make me happy to leave it up in the middle of the livingroom no matter who comes to visit.
One of my favourite features is how easy it is to fold down. I can do it one handed with a baby on my hip, set it up in another room and all the toys are still in place. Most play gyms are ‘spring loaded’ meaning you have to take them apart to move them through doorways or to hide them when you want to remember what your home looked like pre-children!
The toys are all winners apart from the orange monkey – he’s cute but badly designed so he’s too heavy to be supported by his tail, so I’ve given up hanging him up. The big colourful giraffe that supports one side encourages sitting, while the lights and music encourage focus and interaction.
One point I’ve seen in a lot of reviews is people complaining that the butterfly mobile doesn’t spin on it’s own. It’s not supposed to. It spins with a light touch and wobbles so that a baby can pull on one of the butterflies without dislodging it. I can’t imagine why someone would want a rotating motor within reach of a baby! It isn’t motorised for the same reason that mobiles must be kept out of reach.
I rarely give toys a 5star rating, I tend to be an even harsher critic than my kids! But I can genuinely say that I cannot think of one thing that would make this playmat and baby gym better.