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An exersaucer is a stationary variant of a baby walker and a safer alternative to an exercise equipment with wheels catering to babies. It comes equipped with rattles, teething toys, lights and sounds, and models can range from the basic to more elaborate versions. They are lauded as baby activity centers which can help boost specific aspects of your baby’s development such as their hand-eye coordination, building motor skills, and increasing self-awareness. What they are not meant to do, however, is help your child move around your home independently.
So when looking for the best baby activity center, you need to look out for a few important specifics. These include the size of the activity center, the weight of the product, and what age it caters to. It is also important to remember that such activity centers are not a one-size-fits-all so you need to find something that will suit your baby’s requirements best.
Because the current market is chock full of these devices, our experts have devised a list of the best baby activity centers available. To make your job easier, we have analyzed customer reviews, scoured for recalls, checked safety concerns, and conducted hands-on evaluations of these products before compiling a list of the six best products in this category. Our comparison table is followed by in-depth reviews for each activity center and then you can conclude with our comprehensive buying guide to find out everything you need to about getting the best exersaucer for your baby.
Recommended for ages four months and older, this is an action packed activity center to keep your baby occupied. Featuring cloud themed toys with pop up and squeaking peekaboo clouds, wobbling lamb with rattle beads, swaying stars, and a sun bead mover with spinner, this activity center will cater nicely to all of your baby’s developmental play and learning needs.
The toys are customizable and their clip-on feature lets you position them based on your baby’s abilities.
There is a comfortable rotating seat accompanied by a foot platform. The seat turns and stretches for bouncing giving easy access to all the toys while the foot platform is adjustable based on height. The foot platform comes with a detachable foot operated keyboard which lights up and plays tunes when stepped on.
In true Skip Hop style, this activity center also features a Discovery Window. This feature lets your baby view the keyboard as they step on it. And if you want baby to try some hands-on keyboarding, then simply detach the keyboard and place it on the Discovery Window where it fits in snugly.
You can be sure that your child won’t outgrow this activity center quickly as it can convert from its initial position as an activity center for seated play to a cruise and interact mode. Simply remove the platform and use it to cover the seat. And as baby’s skills change and develop you can use this tool as a play table for your little one.
All in all, this is an excellent choice for a versatile activity center and so we rate it as our Editor’s Pick in this category. The only downside, if any, is that this center is not a foldable model.
As the name suggests, this is a jungle themed model that adds to the fun and learning with its friendly animal toys. This is a relatively simpler model as far as exersaucers go and would be an ideal choice if you are looking for something with less sensory stimulation for your baby.
However, that doesn’t mean that there is any lack of essential features on this model. You do get sounds/noise with the animals with some of the toys being removable and easy to carry along when needed.
The activity center can be adjusted according to height, positioning the seat as your baby grows taller. Not only is this a feature that can be changed with age but the activity center also has 58 fun learning games and activities included which can cater to different ages as well.
The seat on this unit is comfortable with a removable cover that is also washable. Manufacturers have ensured using a soft yet sturdy fabric that will withstand lots of bouncing without giving in to wear and tear. The seat rotates a full 360 degrees to make all toys easily accessible to baby.
The balance base attached at the foundation of the unit can help build core strength and coordination. The soft landing pad can also promote stability in the early stages of development giving your baby a chance to exercise their legs while being entertained.
This unit is easy to clean and maintain with minimal effort but may not be the easiest to disassemble. Yet, because it offers so much for your growing baby at the various stages of development, we rate this as the best baby jumper activity center on our list.
With this product you get an activity center, a bouncer and a paly table all rolled in one. Plus this is a foldable version of an activity center that adds to its already versatile functionality. Its conversion to a play table adds a lot to its utility as it can be used for children up to the age of five.
When used as a play table the PortaPlay becomes an ideal surface for coloring books, writing practice, making puzzles or even playing with toys.
The PortaPlay comes with 3 adjustable heat positions letting you move the seat up with your growing baby. The toys are removable and the material is easy to clean.
All these are great features to have in a quality activity center. But perhaps what really caught our attention most is that this activity center is a foldable version. This means that when not in use you can easily collapse it and put it under the bed or away in the closet. Or if you’d rather have it in plain sight, then just fold it up and lay it against the wall. A collapsible activity center is also easy to travel with. Place it in the car trunk and take it along wherever you go.
The portability feature is what we really like about this model to rank it as the best portable baby exersaucer on this list. But as is with all good things, there is a price tag attached which may not suit everybody’s budget.
With a slight twist on the typical exersaucer, this product from Tiny Love is actually a jumper, walker and walk behind or push along device that will help your baby take their first steps and beyond.
First off, you can use this activity center as a stationary center where your baby learns to explore their developmental skills. There are 5 different toys to play with some that bounce and rotate, others that hide, and some which provide sensory stimulation and assist with motor skills by beading.
The jumper on this unit is for fun time and building muscle strength as your baby enjoys the bouncy jumper mode. The one downside here is that there is no base platform to provide underfoot support.
Then as the baby’s gross motor skills develop, you can use this activity center to support them take their first steps. This walker mode will help turn your crawler into a walker.
Finally, there is the walk behind or push along mode that lets baby discover the joys of walking and becoming independently mobile.
The seat on the activity center rotates 360 degrees letting baby explore all the options available on the unit. There are more than 28 activities to choose from which gives baby lots of opportunities to learn and discover. Despite the numerous engaging activities on this unit, there is no need to use batteries as there are no sound and light components. This gives your baby plenty of activities to engage in without things becoming too stimulating.
For convenient storage and portability, this activity center can be collapsed and easily stashed away. Given its plentiful attributes, we rate this as the best baby walker activity center.
This convertible activity center by Fisher Price is one of the brand’s best 2-in-1 Sit to Stand Activity centers and grows with your baby from when they can sit to the time when they start standing.
In the sit state, you can place your little one in the soft, padded fabric seat that rotates for maximum interaction. The seat features a buckle located at the bottom that allows you to adjust the height to three different positions. As your baby outgrows this first stage you can convert the activity center into a play table for your child.
The toys on this unit are repositionable and the seat removable.
The play table caters to slightly older babies as its recommended age is nine months and older. At this point attach the ramp for sliding play taking the fun factor up a notch.
While customers love its versatile features, there were some concerns about the height adjustability factor. The difference between the heights is in mere inches which may not be suitable for taller babies.
What we really applaud about this activity center is its potential to grow with your child giving them more repeat play value and you the best value for your money. It stands out from others because it can still be used long after your child is too tall to get in it. The setup is fairly easy and so is the conversion, and that is why we call it the best stationary baby activity center on the list.
This is an activity center with lots of engaging toys keeping little ones busy with exploration. The activity center has a rotating seat and 2 spinning plates on the base.
The soft padded seat gives comfy cushioning to the baby and is also machine washable.
There are three height adjustments to work with as your baby grows. The toys come with a light up options and 5 different melodies to keep baby engaged. This model comes with a full base at the unit’s foundation to prevent any risk of tipping over. Baby can jump and bounce as much as they like without any hazard of tipping over.
The woodland characters make intriguing friends with their colorful appearances and presence. Baby can play with these sensory toys and enjoy with over seven games equipped with music and sounds.
The spinning plates on the base keep the baby busy and active. They can also be locked in place when needed. The wide base of the unit has rubber feet underneath to prevent any scratching on the floor.
Customers especially love the extremely easy and quick setup of this unit and applaud that almost every part snaps in place without the need of any hardware. The only toy that does need to be screwed in is the turtle.
If you are on a limited budget but still want to get a good exersaucer for your little one then the Creative Baby Woodland Activity Center is an excellent choice. That is why it wins accolades for the budget pick on this list.
What are its best features?
Machine washable seat
Comes with full base
Spinning plates have locking mechanism
Quick and easy setup
What could be improved?
Only seven games available
Things to Consider
Playing is an essential part of a baby’s development and there are so many options available that can help them learn, coordinate, and interact all the while having fun at the same time. The exersaucer meets all these requirements giving your baby lots of opportunities to do all this and much more and keeping them engaged in an interactive way. So here is what you need to know when you go out looking for an exersaucer for your baby.
Energy spent right – why to buy a baby activity center
Even though at first glance, all exersaucers may seem like the same device, this is not the case at all. For instance, some are designed exclusively to allow baby to jump in the seat and not much else. These models will have a seat attached with padded springs to assist jumping and the good ones also come with a soft pad on which the baby can land. The Evenflo Jungle Quest is a prime example of this type of activity center.
Then there are models that feature a saucer-like base on which baby can bounce, spin and rock. With a full base at the foundation, your baby is secured with tip-proof support no matter how much they like to spin and rock. Take a look at the Creative Baby Woodland Activity Center if you want something with a full base.
If you want the complete package you can find advanced models that convert from play mat to exersaucer to activity table. These can be the perfect companion for growing babies as it allows you to switch its purpose as your little one grows. Infants can have fun on the play mat while babies who can sit up without support can be seated in the exersaucer version.
With your growing baby, you can convert the exersaucer into an activity table where they will be able to enjoy the toys on the activity table. We recommend considering the Fisher-Price Spin ‘n Play Safari or the Oribel PortaPlay if you want an activity center that grows with your child.
So regardless of whichever model you decide to go for, you should take into account its comfort and safety features. Exersaucers allow your baby to bounce, spin and engage in activities all the while keeping them stationed in one spot. At the same time, your baby can keep themselves engaged by combining several whole-body activities that involve the development of motor and cognitive abilities. You can let them discover their skills and have fun at the same time.
Tips on playing with exersaucers
Because exersaucers can do so much, you may be tempted to leave your baby in it at regular intervals. However, the expert opinion goes against this and the recommendation is that a growing baby should only be left in an exersaucer for a maximum of no more than twenty minutes a day.
Babies younger than four months should not be placed in an exersaucer. Only those who are more than four months old, able to hold their head up on their own, and whose toes, but not feet, touch the floor should be put in an exersaucer. All this is important to prevent any sort of retrogressive intrusion in their development when they are not ready. Typical concerns include introducing the exersaucer too soon. This can cause poor posturing for the overdevelopment of calf muscles.
Once the baby is sufficiently strong enough to stand on their own they should be weaned out of the exersaucer. Independent standing means that the child can now move about as they like, and climb in and out of the activity center at their own will. This level of independence can now present a safety hazard if you try to restrict them inside the exersaucer.
Features to consider while buying the best activity center for babies
For the most part, exersaucers can only be used for so long before your baby outgrows their developmental tool. Most will only be used for around a year, or even less. If you’re not careful about what you purchase, you may end up with a bulky and hard-to-store piece of equipment and unless the model you get is foldable, you won’t be able to carry it around with you when you travel.
These are obviously things you want to avoid so you should look for the following features when you decide to get an exersaucer for your baby.
The size of the unit you purchase is an important consideration. Not only should it be age appropriate for your little one size-wise, but you also need to keep in mind its mobility options. Say that you wish to move the activity center out of the baby’s room and into the living room. If it’s a model that doesn’t fold, then it should be one that can easily be maneuvered out of the doorway from one room to another.
Ideally, it is suggested that the activity center is assembled in the nursery or in the living area where mom and baby will be spending the bulk of their daytime together. The point is to set it up in a location where you won’t have to move it a lot, especially if it’s a bulkier model.
The weight limit refers to the weight capacity the activity center can support. This is an important safety feature to look into carefully as different models will support different weights. You don’t want to put your baby in an activity center that is too big for them or one that cramps their physical movements. Likewise, if your baby is too heavy or too tall to sit comfortably in the exersaucer, it will be an uncomfortable experience for them in addition to being a safety risk.
As such, always check the height and weight recommendations for any activity center you wish to purchase.
Exersaucer toys cater well to babies’ interests with some models featuring electronic options as well. Most toys on most models are the detachable kind which means that you may even be able to use them before your baby actually starts using the activity center itself. For instance, detachable toys can be placed on the floor during tummy time and have your baby become familiar with them. Once the baby is old enough to sit in the activity center, you can attach them back and have your little one enjoy them there.
The toys can cater to different developmental stages and with detachable options, you can mix and match them up to prevent your child from getting bored.
Toys are typically plushy and soft with vibrant colors. The plastic components include push and spin options with some components featuring lights and music. With these, you need to be careful that they don’t overstimulate your baby.
Specific developmental toys such as baby walkers have had their share of controversy over safety concerns. The exersaucer is an improvement on the walker in terms of safety as it lets your little one enjoy the freedom of movement without actually letting them go anywhere. These activity centers eliminate the worry of your baby traveling all over the house and keep them stationed in one spot.
That said, even though exersaucers seem perfectly safe places to keep your baby in, they should near be left unattended.
If you have a collapsible model, then make sure to lock the device in the correct position before using it for your little one. It is also recommended to check the exersaucer regularly for any loose or broken parts which can potentially present a choking hazard for baby.
Foldable or not?
While there are many models out there, not every exersaucer is foldable. The foldable versions, however, feature collapsible legs, making the dimensions easier to move the activity center around. Not only does this assist in transporting the exersaucer from one room to the next but also easier to stash under the bed. When not in use, these can easily be stored in a closet or even flat against the wall.
Traveling is also easier with foldable varieties. Simply pop it in the trunk and take it along wherever you have to go.
This feature ties in with the size and foldability of the activity center. If it can collapse to a reasonably compact size, then it becomes easier to transport and store as well.
Ease of cleaning
With a little one around the house, it becomes important to keep everything within reach clean. The same goes for your baby’s activity center. It should be a piece that is easy to clean with no nooks and crannies where dirt can accumulate. The plastic components can be kept hygienic by wiping clean while toys and fabric seats should ideally be the washable kind.
Jumping bouncing activities are recommended for young children, but when placed in an exersaucer, this activity should be timed and restricted to no more than a few minutes every day. Big brands like Evenflo have a line of exersaucers dedicated to Jump and Learn and another to Bounce and Learn to help the growing child develop their muscles along with other skills.
But while exersaucers do cater to jumping-bouncing activities, it’s important to not forget that they are not suitable for every age. Besides, babies should get their exercise from other activities such as safe, open floor play.
It goes without saying that any developmental tool for babies needs to be durable and long lasting. The most important consideration for this feature is the baby’s safety and then comes the wear and tear with use.
A durable activity center will last you a long time, although only up to a year max for one baby. You can then use it for your other children or if it is in good enough condition, then pass it on to someone who can use it for their baby.
A warranty is usually a good indication of an activity center’s durability. Manufacturers who back their product with a warranty attest to its reliability and performance which should always be a priority when it comes to your baby’s safety and comfort.
As such, always opt for a product that comes with a warranty. For your peace of mind and customer satisfaction, the Oribel PortaPlay offers a 60-day free return option whereas the Evenflo Jungle Quest activity center has a 90-day warranty. But if you are looking for something more, then the Tiny Love Meadow Days Here comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Batteries are an often forgotten aspect of the purchase until it’s time to put them in the exersaucer to get its light and sound components working. As it already is, exersacures are not inexpensive gadgets to invest in, so you would want to make sure that you’ve got a good idea of how much you’ll need to spend on batteries.
Also look into how much assembly is involved in putting the activity center together for some models need to be disassembled and reassembled completely if you want to move the exersaucer from one location to another.
This varies with every baby’s development. What you need to look for is whether your child is able to sit up without support and when placed in the exersaucer, if their toes touch the floor below. A baby should never dangle when in the exersaucer and should get some kind of support by being able to touch the floor/base with their toes. So even though most manufacturers say that their model is suitable for children as young as four months old, it’s really up to you to decide when it’s best to introduce the exersaucer to your baby.
Time allotted to playing in the exersaucer should not exceed more than twenty minutes a day. Use this time wisely when you need to take a break, or do some chores that would take up about the same time to complete. It’s important that your baby has other options where they can work on their muscle development and motor skills.
As mentioned earlier, only your baby’s toes should touch the base of the activity center. They should not be able to stand upright with their feet flat on the floor or that will give them the chance and perhaps even motivation to try and step out of the exersaucer by themselves.
We feel that the Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Activity Center offers great value for its price. It is a unit that cleverly addresses baby’s developmental needs both in the learning and play areas. This activity center will grow with your baby with its 3 stages of use and give them lots of hours of playful delight.
Another great recommendation is the Evenflo Jungle Quest, equipped with its friendly animal characters and an impressive 58 learning games catered to different ages. With this unit your little one gets to enjoy the best any exersaucer offers without getting overwhelmed by too much stimulation.
But if you’re looking to spend a little less on an exersaucer without compromising quality then consider the Creative Baby Woodland Activity Center. This is one of the best baby activity centers on a budget and given everything it does, is an admirable contender among the best in this category.