Reviewed by Jane Warwick
The product arrived in a rectangular cardboard box in perfect condition. On opening the box, you immediately see a sheet of coloured card with a picture of a baby looking at and trying to grab a wooden batting ring. The company’s name Lovevery.com is found on the bottom right of this card and the registered logo on the top left hand corner. When you remove this card, you immediately see all the parts that make up the play gym in the cardboard box. (What a clever idea to just use the box it comes in, rather than additional packaging and all of it can be recycled). The play gym consists of light-coloured wooden legs, an impressive mat (but I will come to that later), and various toys which can be attached to the wooden legs which provide a frame over the activity mat such as organic high contrast ball (black and white patterns), batting ring in a dark wood with a ball, and an organic brightly coloured cotton teething ring. I love the fact that it is made mostly of natural materials and these are sustainably sourced as it is important to consider the impact of what we use on our environment.
The instructions were found on thick white paper and are very clear to read. They stress the importance of reading the instructions first together with the warnings. The main warning is that the legs of the play gym should not be used by a child as supports for standing. This warning was found on the safety and warning leaflet, on the instruction leaflet and on another piece of card. There were also warnings that a child should never be left unsupervised or have the play gym placed in a cot or play pen. It is good that they have the warnings to protect the child and they have taken this very seriously indeed with the safety advice and warnings written in 26 different languages (please do not ask me which ones these are). Having read the instructions and checked everything was present, (all in perfect condition); I then assembled the play gym which was very easy to do as the instructions came with easy-to-follow pictures showing step by step how to assembly it. Once completed, it looked very smart, and modern yet classic and was much bigger than my previous play mat. I am impressed by the “activity corners” or learning zones as the company calls them on the activity mat which unfold to expose different patterns and activities. The overall dimensions of the play gym with the mat learning zones closed are 60.7cm in height, 96.5cm wide and 109cm long. However, when the learning zones are exposed, the width becomes 127cm and the length 119.4cm. With babies and toddlers, things do not stay smart for long so there are instructions on how to keep it clean. All the fabric items can be machine washed in cold water and they advise to air dry the activity mat. The squeakers may get water inside but all you need to do is press the squeakers a few times whilst the mat is drying. The wood, silicon (connectors for joining the legs), and plastic connector knob can be wiped down with a damp cloth and the cover which I have not tried yet together with the organic cotton high contrast ball can be machine washed with cold water and tumble dry on a low heat setting. I am pleased that the company has again considered the impact on the environment and instructs people not to waste energy when cleaning this play gym.
I am very impressed by how the mat initially encourages tummy time for newborns, something professionals actively encourage but lots of babies hate and the patterns especially on the contrast ball and cards help the baby with this. Unlike many play mats or play gyms (including my previous one), this mat is designed to grow with your baby with evidence based ideas to help promote visual, cognitive, sensory and motor development.
The activity mat as I have mentioned earlier has 5 learning zones that can be hidden or revealed by unfolding the mat corner. This prevents overstimulation which can easily happen with babies and promotes learning as the different zones enable the baby to learn to focus; make sounds; learn how different materials feel, that things can be hidden and then found, as well as learning about colour. There is an extremely useful activity guide divided into six sections: 0-12 weeks, 3-4 months, 5-6 months, 7-8 months, 9-10 months and finally 11-12 months. This guide suggests activities to do with your child. The play space cover is used when your child is older such as a toddler. It is easy to add to the play gym. All you need to do is remove all the dangling objects from the wooden legs and drape the play space cover over the legs with the opening facing “making sounds” and “how things feel” zones, (the widest section), so it is a bit like a cave, then finally secure the cover to the legs. I am lucky to be in a support bubble with my grandson who is now 10 months and as he is crawling. He just loves to crawl into “the cave” to get some toys on the mat such as the batting ring or ball. He also loves seeing himself in the mirror which you can insert into the learning to focus zone.
There is a very good little video showing all the activities on the play gym on the company’s website which I would recommend watching. (as well as a video on how to assemble the play gym if you do need additional help).
It is expensive but it is a very good quality, attractive (both for the parents and the baby), piece of equipment. It is excellent for the development of a baby with all the extras. This is important to remember as all the little extras such as safety mirror which babies love can be expensive to buy separately. I would recommend it as a must have for a baby or toddler and it makes a lovely and treasured gift to give a first-time parent and a lovely item for grandparents to have for their grandchildren. I wish I had it sooner for my grandson and look forward to it being used at the earlier stages with future grandchildren.
This product can be purchased from Lovevery here as well as Amazon.