When you’re investing in a baby play mat for your newborn baby, it’s tough to know what one to get: there’s SO much choice! The baby market is inundated with different brands, and each brand then has multiple baby gyms to choose from. It can be extremely overwhelming for a new parent who already has so many other decisions to make. To make that decision easier, here’s my review of the Skip Hop Vibrant Village Activity Gym. Heads up: it’s absolutely brilliant and I highly recommend it for all parents. Here’s why…
This was actually the second baby play mat we purchased: we first of all bought a Tiny Love play mat, but despite this being a perfectly good play mat, it just didn’t seem to entertain our baby whatsoever: we craved something that did more. When I discovered the Skip Hop Vibrant Village Activity Gym I instantly knew that it was exactly what I was looking for.
The two main stand out features of the Skip Hop Vibrant Village Activity Gym, for me, were the beautifully aesthetic black and white patterns (perfect for newborns!), and the music and lights. It was the first and only play mat I had seen with built in lights, which just seemed so much more entertaining for my baby than a plain old boring play gym. If anyone has ever laid their baby in a dark room with a light projector or disco lights, you’ll know how amazing and stimulating they find this.
Newborn babies black and white. Not only is the monochromatic design great for my baby: it looks great in my living room, too! A lot of baby products are very garish, bright plastic, and look like monstrosities in your home. If that’s your vibe then that’s great, but I much prefer a more neutral vibe. In fact, the colour scheme in my living room is black and white, so this activity gym fits in perfectly! The house illustrations on the Vibrant Village range as a whole are both sweet yet beautiful – we own a few other items from this range as I love it so much.
The inbuilt music is a great touch – the songs are actually okay to listen to and not too annoying, which is rare for children’s toys! If you forget to turn the music off and end up nap trapped, don’t despair: it times out after about 20 minutes. With the hubbub of those early newborn days, this is an excellent touch. The fact it has inbuilt music means you don’t have to worry about buying a music box: one less piece of baby equipment is a win in my eyes, we all know how much clutter having a baby brings. Another great feature of the Skip Hop Vibrant Village Activity Gym is that when baby bats at the hanging toys with enough force, the playmat makes little fun noises and chirps.
The lights have two settings – a random fun flashing light show and a chronological setting which helps aid your baby to track the lights when they reach the developmental stage of tracking.
The hanging toys can be taken off and swapped around, too – we often popped them on the pram for baby to play with when we were out and about.
Yes, the base of the play mat is washable in the washing machine which is fantastic if you have a sicky baby like me! It’s also quick and easy to take apart and put up, meaning it’s easy to put into storage or transport from house to house when visiting friends and family – although I probably wouldn’t say it’s small enough to transport via plane if you’re planning on travelling abroad with your baby. The hanging toys are cute and well designed, with a variety of things for baby to grab at, although these would probably be best being wiped clean as opposed to put in the washing machine.
At £95, the Skip Hop Vibrant Village Activity Gym is more expensive than most baby play gyms, but in my opinion it is so very worth it: from the very first use my baby was fascinated with the different coloured flashing lights, and the music was soothing yet fun for him. I love it, too, because it looks great in my living room! The quality is great and definitely reflected in the price – my firstborn used the play mat daily, and now my second baby is using it and it’s still in perfect condition.
The Skip Hop Vibrant Village Activity Gym is exclusive to John Lewis, but it sells out quickly so keep checking back and sign up for notifications for when it’s back in stock!
Overall, I would highly recommend this activity gym and play mat to any new parent. If you’re looking for a gift idea for new parents, this would be a great gift too, especially as it is a slightly more expensive and luxurious choice of playmat.