Reviewed by Lauren O’Hara
I have a two-year-old and a 3-month-old, so when I was given the opportunity to review the Skip Hop Tropical Paradise Activity Gym and Soother, I was absolutely delighted.
I have tried several baby gyms/mats, from the basic play mat with toggles and squeaky bits, to baby gyms with built in piano keyboards, however the Skip Hop Tropical Paradise Activity Gym and Soother is definitely my favourite.
The product is well packaged, with most of the packaging being able to be recycled – which is a bonus! The baby gym was fairly easy to assemble, although I did struggle to put the overhead canopy in the correct way. The instructions tell you to insert the canopy hooks underneath the play mat – which is straightforward, but it then tells you to attach the mirror under the canopy arch, directly underneath the fabric tabs. It was at this point that I realised that I had put the canopy upside down – as the mirror will only attach one way. It would be worthwhile attaching the mirror before putting the canopy up, so you can put it up correctly the first time round.
The baby gym has the perfect balance of developmental activities for baby’s needs, without being over-stimulating. It combines 17+ activities for baby to enjoy and explore, my little boy loves lying on his back and looking at himself in the mirror, which is attached to the overhead canopy. There are also 4 toys, which can also be attached to the canopy and removed if baby wants to play with them: a monkey with squeaker and banana teether; a crinkly leopard; a toucan with rattle and grasping ring; and a sloth soother. My little boy absolutely loves the monkey toy, as it contains a squeaker and a banana shaped teether – which is forever in his mouth. There is a leaf shaped cushion, which is perfect for supporting my baby during important tummy time sessions. On one side of the play mat, there is a crinkle leaf, which provides a great sensory experience for baby.
The mat is a decent size, as my two-year-old is able to lie next to baby and show him the dangling toys, without feeling like it is too cramped. The sloth soother is a godsend, as it plays rain forest/brook noise and white noise/heartbeat sounds, which is perfect for both my toddler and baby to help them to sleep. The sloth soother can be clipped to the car seat as well, which is an added bonus. You do need a Phillips head screwdriver to insert the three AAA batteries (not included), it would have been great if a small screwdriver was provided in the box.
I can guarantee that the baby gym is very well made, my toddler has definitely tested that, by exploring her baby brother’s new toy, by pulling on the canopy and moving it around the living room. It can also be easily stored away for transportation or when not in use, but it looks so cute that we leave it up all the time.