12 Baby Play Gyms for your Child’s Development

Activity mats and gyms can help develop your baby’s sensory, motor, and cognitive skills. It is a must-have item for your newborn or toddler, so here’s a list of the best baby play gyms in Australia for all budgets and preferences.

best baby play gym australia

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They are often referred to as a play mat, play gym, or activity mat, all designed with the same purpose in mind, to create a colourful, stimulating, and engaging space for your newborn or toddler. Many come in different shapes, sizes, colours and with varied features to create a safe and comfortable space for your baby to relax, play, and develop different skills.

Investing in a quality play gym can improve your lifestyle at home, much like a baby bouncer or swing, they can provide you with a little more hands-free time to complete other tasks around the home, while you monitor your baby during play.

Play gyms can offer a variety of activities including visual, audio, tactile, and interactive features to help improve and develop their cognitive, social, and motor skills. They also provide the perfect space for tummy time which helps build and develop strength in your baby’s muscles, increasing their confidence and independence, and stimulating their crawling phase.

It’s incredible what some of these modern play mats have to offer these days, including light displays and projections, melodies and sound options, tactile and interactive toys, teethers, pillows, mirrors, and much more. You can even find multifunctional products that grow and adapt with your child as they reach their toddler years, ideal for families on a budget, offering more longevity in the product and value for money.

There is a large variety of baby play gyms on the market, from simple and practical designs to ones packed with multiple features. Here are our top picks for the best baby play gyms currently available in Australia, with a handy guide on what to consider when buying one.

Skip Hop Vibrant Village Smart Lights

1. Skip Hop Vibrant Village Smart Lights

A large interactive and sensory activity gym

What we like
  • Multiple sensory features
  • Includes cute plush dog pillow
  • Easy-to-use
  • High-quality
What could be better
  • Toys can be hard to reach
  • Batteries not included

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The best baby play gym on the market is the Skip Hop Vibrant Village as it delivers a high-quality activity mat, packed with interactive features that promote overhead play, tummy time, and sensory stimulation. Suitable for ages 0+.

The Vibrant village play mat features black and white graphics and bold, contrasting colours which tend to generate a stronger response from young infants and toddlers.
It provides your child with a good variety of bat-at toys that offer different sensory experiences including a rattle, a baby safe mirror, a teether, squeaker, and tactile ribbons. It also comes with an adorable plush dog pillow with crinkly ears.

With an accessible and easy-to-use control panel, you can select from 3 different melodies, adjust the light display, or set the mat to play the music and lights separately or simultaneously. We love that extra sound effects (dog, bicycle, car sounds) can be activated when you or your child hit the arches or toys.

This activity gym will require 3 x AA batteries (not included). Conveniently, the toys, pillow, and mat are all machine washable on a cold/gentle cycle. This product isn’t for everyone due to its cost, but it can be a worthy investment for those seeking a high-quality play gym that offers multiple features for early development and enrichment.

Lovevery The Play Gym

2. Lovevery The Play Gym

An innovative play gym for developing your baby’s motor skills

What we like
  • Detachable accessories
  • Easy to assemble and store
  • Machine washable material
  • Multifunctional structure
What could be better
  • Very expensive
  • Not very portable

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A premium choice is Lovevery the Play Gym as it was designed with all your baby’s learning stages in mind, providing a unique environment for the development of their physical, cognitive, visual and motor skills.

This gym offers five different learning zones, providing entertainment and enrichment from infant to toddler: Focus (mirror card set), sound (ergonomic batting ring), sensory exploration (organic cotton teething toys and silicone rings), hide and seek (secret pockets for hiding and storing things), colour (colourful cards with everyday objects and a black and white, high contrast ball).

We love that this set comes with a fun play guide, packed with activities and ideas for engaging stage-based play for newborns through to 12 months. Convenient to assemble and disassemble in only a few minutes, with wooden arches for stability and durability. 

For easy use and convenience, the 100% organic cotton toys are detachable, and the floor mat is machine-washable, which folds for easy storage.

Skip Hop Doubleplay Reversible Playmat

3. Skip Hop Doubleplay Reversible Playmat

Stylish, reversible and waterproof play mat

What we like
  • Easy to clean and store
  • Water-proof design
  • Extra-large
  • Great portability
What could be better
  • Expensive
  • No toys or accessories
  • Material gets cold in winter

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One of the most practical play mats on the market is the Skip Hop Doubleplay, for its no frills design offering an extra-large, two-sided reversible floor covering, ideal for families already equipped with their own toys and accessories.

The best part of the Skip Hop Doubleplay Reversible Playmat is that the soft foamy material is made from PVC and phthalate-free materials, for safe use and has been designed waterproof for easy cleaning and minimises stains.

This extra-large mat (86 x 52cm) offers a generous space perfect for tummy time, play, relaxation, and enrichment. The anti-slip design ensures stability and safety when in use, which is the perfect place for your baby to initiate their crawling phase and even their first steps.

Like a yoga mat or rug, it’s simple to roll up compactly for easy transport or storage, making this a great portable addition to bring on picnics, outings, and social gatherings.

The Skip Hop Doubleplay Reversible Play Mat is easy to use and store, even easier to clean, and provides your baby with a comforting space for versatile use.

Fun N Well My Journey

4. Fun N Well My Journey

A converting, large activity mat for infants and toddlers

What we like
  • Grows with your child
  • 2-in-1 playmat and teepee
  • No tools required for assembly
  • Easy-to-clean
What could be better
  • No music or light features
  • Bottom padding not super thick

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The best play mat that grows with your child is the Fun N Well My Journey activity gym that offers a comfortable and interactive play mat for newborns, which can then convert into a teepee cubby house for your growing toddler.

This large, patterned play mat and teepee provide the ideal environment for tummy time, relaxation, imaginative play, and skill development. Suitable from birth up to 3 years of age.

Equipped with 5 specially designed toys that rattle and squeak, bold colours, patterns, and a soft pillow, the Fun N Well playmat helps your child develop their touch, audio, and visual senses, while improving their gross motor skills, building physical strength.

Once your newborn outgrows the mat, from around 9 months of age you can convert this play gym into a cosy teepee, creating a unique space for your child to develop their confidence and independence through imaginative play and social engagement. It also provides a nice quiet personal space for your toddler to relax in.

With no music or light features, the Fun N Well My Journey activity gym does not require batteries or power to function, so it’s always ready-to-use. Made from polyester and cotton, it is suitable for hand or machine washing, and conveniently folds well for storage and travel.

Skip Hop Camping Cub Activity Baby Gym

5. Skip Hop Camping Cub Activity Baby Gym

A baby gym packed with features for skill development

What we like
  • 17+ developmental activities
  • Good portability around the home
  • Unique and playful design
  • Easy to assemble
What could be better
  • Quite small
  • Not machine-washable
  • Playmat could be thicker and bigger

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The Skip Hop Camping Cub Activity Gym is structured like a teepee, designed with an outdoors nature theme, encouraging your baby to actively learn from their environment, developing their cognitive and motor skills. This play gym offers four different ways to play: overhead play, tummy time mat, seated play and playmat.

This Camping Cub Activity Gym creates a unique environment, perfect for encouraging your baby’s imagination and exploration as it is equipped with multiple features and accessories for over 17 development activities.

From the light up firefly and turtle mirror, to the musical raccoon and wooden teether, there's plenty of toys and accessories to keep your baby entertained and learning new skills. Babies especially enjoy the different textures and the surprising, felt peek-a-boo flap.

Unfortunately, this product is not machine-washable, and it is best maintained with regular spot cleaning. Made from BPA, PVC, and Phthalate-free safe materials for safe use.

Skip Hop Treetop Friends

6. Skip Hop Treetop Friends

Recommended activity gym for tummy time

What we like
  • Tactile with different textures
  • Multiple features and accessories
  • Adjustable hanging toys
  • Machine washable fabric
What could be better
  • Fiddly owl toy battery replacement
  • Baby may struggle activating bird toy
  • No music features

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The best baby play gym for tummy time and young infants is the Skip Hop Treetop Friends as it provides a supportive and engaging environment with sensory features that encourage tummy time, play, and your baby’s crawling phase. Suitable from birth and up, ideal for newborns and young infants.

This play gym is designed with soft linen and patterned arches, with a supportive tummy time pillow to match. Packed with loads of features, delivering over 17 development activities, the treetop friends mats are equipped with built in sounds, textures, and accessories

This set includes 5 detachable hanging toys, and we love that it comes with 13 loopholes, for high or low placement, with the option to place the toys directly on the mat, offering engaging multi-sensory play. 

Inclusive of crinkly leaves, a squeaker flower, and a mirror in the trees, parents praise this gym for its tactile fabrics and features. The Skip Hop Treetop Friends is one of the best baby play gyms in the mid-price range, delivering a high quality, good value for money product that is conveniently machine washable (mirror is removable for washing) and packs down for storage.

Chicco Enjoy Colors

7. Chicco Enjoy Colors

A 3-in-1 baby play mat with adjustable features

What we like
  • Versatile and multifunctional
  • Portable moon night light
  • Customisable settings
What could be better
  • Mat padding a bit thin

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The Chicco Enjoy Colours activity mat offers a versatile product for daytime and night-time use, perfect for restless or anxious babies. It comes with multiple adjustable features, ideal for customising to suit your bub best. Suitable from age 0+.

This 3-in-1 activity mat offers varied settings and features for different purposes: for day use we find projections and melodies for relax and play, play mat, pillow, and toys, for tummy time and motor skill development. For night use there’s a removable and portable electronic moon projector/night light.

This Chicco play mat also comes equipped with a light display of 7 transitioning colours, inspired by the principles of chromotherapy, engaging with your child’s visual senses. And comes with music settings that offer several ambient tones in classical, new age, or jazz melodies, stimulating your baby’s audible senses. You can use the convenient timer to set 15 or 30-minute cycles of your baby’s favourite music and lights.

We love that this play mat comes with added accessories including 2 x AA batteries, 2 x fabric charms, 1 x fabric rattle, 1 x plastic rattle, and a soft supportive pillow. Designed with a machine washable mat and pillow for quick and easy cleaning.

Yookidoo Gymotion Robo Playland

8. Yookidoo Gymotion Robo Playland

A 3-in-1 award winning patented baby activity gym

What we like
  • Portable for storage and travel
  • 20 developmental activities
  • Motorized motion track
  • High contrast color theme
What could be better
  • Soft playmat but thin
  • Limited 10-minute continuous music

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The Yookidoo Gymotion Robo Playland delivers one of the best baby play gyms in the mid-price range for its motorized buggy and motion track, designed to engage your baby’s side-to-side eye tracking skills, hand-eye coordination, motor skills and muscle development, recommended for newborns up to 12 months. 

This versatile activity gym offers three development stages of play: Lay & Play to promote focus and depth perception, working on eye-hand coordination and side-to-side eye tracking, Tummy & Play for building physical strength and developing gross motor skills, Sit & Play teaches ‘cause and effect’ and encourages curiosity.

This set is packed with multi-textured toys and features including a tummy time pillow, a large mirror, flower rattle, and robo plush figures. We love the 2 modes for continuous music that create an engaging yet comfortable environment, however they are only limited to 10-minutes of play, max.

The Yookidoo Gymotion mat requires 3 AAA batteries (not included) to operate and recommends surface cleaning for the toys and accessories. Luckily the mat is machine washable for easy cleaning and easily folds into a convenient self-contained carry case for transport and storage.

Chicco My First Nest 3-in-1

9. Chicco My First Nest 3-in-1

An affordable 3-in-1 cuddly nest with music and light features

What we like
  • Soft comfortable cushion
  • More affordable price point
  • Adjustable length for mat
  • Machine washable fabrics
What could be better
  • Quite small
  • Batteries not included (3 AAA)
  • No hanging toys

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The Chicco My First Nest is a great play mat for families and households on a budget and with small living space, as this cute little nest does not take up too much room and is easy to pack away. Most suitable for newborns and young infants.

This play mat is designed to grow and adapt with your baby's developmental stages. Designed for 3 rest positions: 0m+ for lying down (comfortable nest for cuddle time), 2m+ for tummy-time (great for baby’s muscles development) and 6m+ for sitting up (support for beginning to sit up-right).

Researchers believe that the effect of listening to classical music can have great benefits for babies in their early development, which is why this play mat offers 30-minutes of classical tunes for a comforting experience.

It also comes with interactive features including a mirror, teethers, and grab-at rings for grip and play. The pillow included has a cute teddy bear design and provides cushioned support for tummy time.

3 AAA batteries are required for the music features but are not included. On the bright side, both the pillow and play mat are conveniently machine-washable, and this makes a great portable play mat for home or outside use.

Tiny Love Dynamic Gymini

10. Tiny Love Dynamic Gymini

A colourful play gym with multiple features and accessories

What we like
  • Adjustable and versatile
  • Electronic voice recorder
  • 12 accessories
  • Generous size
What could be better
  • Batteries not included (3 AAA)
  • Padding a little thin
  • Recording system needs improvement

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The Tiny Love Dynamic Gymini is a baby gym packed with interactive and sensory features for stimulation and engagement, with adjustable moving arches that adapt as your baby grows. Suitable for newborns into toddlerhood. 

The standout feature has to be the electronic recording bird toy, although based on customer feedback it still needs a little work, the concept is wonderful. Designed with lights and music for stimulating your baby’s communication and cognitive skills, fostering their language abilities. It also allows the parents to record comforting messages and for toddlers to record themselves.

This bold and colourful mat comes equipped with other sensory features including a mirror picture frame, cloud mobile, tummy time pillow, wind chime, and much more. We love that the Tiny Love Dynamic Gymini provides such a spacious and wide play surface suitable for relaxing, rolling, sitting, or playing.

This play gym is a great choice with many features to discover, while following the inevitable growth and development of your infant. The mat is also machine-washable making it easy to use, clean, and maintain.

Bright Starts Floors of Fun Activity Gym & Dollhouse

11. Bright Starts Floors of Fun Activity Gym & Dollhouse

A convertible play gym and dollhouse with lights and music

What we like
  • Unique interactive design
  • Multifunctional product
  • 20min+ continuous music
  • Portable zipper case
What could be better
  • Batteries not included (2 AA)

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Bright Starts Floors of Fun Activity Gym & Dollhouse delivers a wonderful multifunctional product, suitable for newborns and toddlers. Although some may argue that this play mat was designed only for girls, there are no features or graphics included that suggest this. We believe this mat and dollhouse is suitable for both boys and girls, due to its colourful display and fun, interactive features.

This activity gym is packed with accessories and features to engage your bub, including 20+ minutes of lights and music played by a plush unicorn and 6 sensory activity toys. This versatile mat also provides 4 different ways to play; play mat, tummy time, music and light entertainment or hanging-dollhouse.

Your baby can grow and develop with this play gym, and once outgrown, it can be converted into a wall-hanging dollhouse with different levels, flaps, and pockets to explore and use. The great thing about this activity gym is that it is quick and easy to assemble and pack and comes with a zipper carry case for storage and travel.

Little Archer & Co. Baby Floor Activity

12. Little Archer & Co. Baby Floor Activity

A simple, yet practical baby activity mat

What we like
  • More affordable price
  • Easy to assemble
  • Good portability for home
  • Include 5 sensory toys
What could be better
  • No light features
  • No music features

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The Little Archer and Co activity mat offers a more affordable product for simple and practical use, equipped with 5 hanging toys that encourage the development of your little one’s hand-eye coordination and engages them in friendly, interactive play. Suitable to use from birth.

This play mat does not come with any musical or light features, however that means you are not burdened with ongoing costs for battery replacement, and it does not require a power source to function. It has been beautifully designed in bold, bright colours and includes a small, padded cushion. We love that 2 of the toys included generate sound when touched, for added stimulation.

The Little Archer and Co play mat is super easy to assemble, with no tools required, and has been praised for its easy portability around the home. Made from cotton which is gentle on soft skin and machine washable for added convenience.

How to choose a play gym

It can be easy to get overwhelmed by choice these days, so here are some key features to consider when deciding on the right baby play gym for your bub.

Age and Stage. Is your child a newborn or toddler? Some play mat and activity gym designs are better suited for newborns and infants, and others for toddlers. However, you can also find versatile and multifunctional products that grow with your child from infancy to toddlerhood. They might have detachable parts, a converting structure, or additional accessories to adapt with your growing child.

Size. Here are some important questions to ask yourself when considering what size would be most appropriate for your baby and your home. Think about where and how you are going to use the play mat most. Are you looking for a product to place in a designated spot in your home? Do you plan on using it outside of your home? Do you want a product with portable and lightweight features for travel?

Safety. Although designed to provide more hands-free time for Mum and Dad, your baby should never be left alone or unsupervised at any time in their play gym. Some activity gyms come equipped with additional safety features that can provide extra peace of mind, including timers and auto shut off, hidden battery pack pockets, child-safe materials (BPA-free, phthalate-free plastics), and child-friendly design (natural, organic fabrics, silicone toys and teethers).

Cleaning and Maintenance. No matter which product you decide on, we know all parents want one that is easy to clean and maintain. Checking the care instructions of the product can help determine the level of care it requires, whether it is machine washable, has detachable parts, or waterproof fabric. The instruction manual also provides a good indication of how quick and easy it is to assemble, whether tools are required or not. Remember, any play mat that comes with music or light features will often require the ongoing cost for battery replacements.

Design and additional features. These days it’s a wonder that you can pack so many different features into just one small baby product. Although they are not all necessary for the healthy development of your baby, some features can provide extra enrichment and engagement, which can further assist your baby’s development of cognitive, social, gross motor, and language skills. Features may include:

  • Toys
  • Contrasting or bold colours
  • Patterns and textures
  • Lights and projections
  • Sound effects, music, and melodies
  • Play cards
  • Pockets and flaps
  • Carry case
  • Other interactive accessories

Designs that grow with your child from newborn to toddler often require a bigger investment, but can be great value for money, saving on long term expenses and saving on space in your home with 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 products.