Happy Humpday, friends! Is it rainy and dreary where you are today too? What a perfect day for a few indoor activities! And if you have an infant or newborn, it’s a great day to improve their little universe by adding a few fun additions to their Pottery Barn Activity Gym! Come check out a few alternatives!
One of the cute items my grandson received as a baby gift was a quilted floor activity mat by Pottery Barn. The 34″ diameter floor gym features 5 hanging toys and 13 loops on which to hang toys at different levels. The mat encourages gross motor skills and helps develop muscles, mobility and hand-eye coordination. This is how the play mat looked when purchased. Our son and daughter-in-law started using the play gym very early on with their son, Ford. Even as newborns, babies are little sponges~eager for new things to look at and discover, especially close-up.
Our children and grandson came to stay with us for a few months to escape the Coronavirus in New Jersey. As soon as they arrived, we set up Ford’s play mat on the large padded ottoman in our living room. Since he is not yet mobile, this is the perfect spot to keep him off of the floor and away from two very large and friendly golden retrievers! (And eye level so we can keep an eye on him, which is our favorite past time.)
We quickly realized that the play mat toys were too monochromatic, and needed a bit more color for our bright and curious baby. So, while out shopping at Walmart, I found a few fun additions. This cute, blue elephant is very colorful and interesting. The price was only $3.84 and has become Ford’s favorite toy!
The elephant comes with a ring at the top which attaches easily to the loops on the play mat. But, since Ford is usually laying down flat on the mat and looking up, I moved the large loop from the top, to around the elephant’s neck so he is facing downward, where Ford can see the elephant’s face, and his own reflection in the mirror on the tummy. This also drops the toy down so it is easier to touch and grab. This is how it looks from Ford’s perspective.
This lion is another cute fellow that joined the gym! The stretchy legs and puffy feet are easy to grab and pull.
I bought a set of these plastic interlocking rings that make it easy to attach different toys or string them together for something else bright and colorful to look at and hold. Ford is now able to grab the rings and pull them to his mouth, which is great for hand-eye coordination and also helps with teething.
Over the course of a week or so we totally transformed Ford’s play mat into a fun, colorful, interactive spot for kicking and exploring! We rotate the toys and rings so it stays interesting, but the blue elephant still seems to be his favorite no matter where we put it! (Money well spent!) Ford gets excited when we put him on his mat and he gets lots of exercise kicking and grabbing the different rings and toys. Recently he started smiling, cooing and talking to his toys, which has been adorable!
The great thing about these toys, is that they will grow with Ford, even after he outgrows his play mat. The toys can easily attach to his car seat or stroller. Recently on a long car trip, they attached the elephant to the bar of his car seat so he had a familiar play mate along for the ride. Naturally, as babies become more mobile and active, you should make sure they don’t become entangled in the rings or toys, but for this age, it’s been perfect!
You can see the difference between how the play mat looked originally and the new additions, plus the most adorable addition, our beautiful grandson, Ford!
The Pottery Barn Activity Mat retails for around $99 and appears to be extremely well made and designed. I think it makes a great gift but I would make a few changes with the toys themselves. Babies seem to be attracted to faces and colors so shouldn’t the toys be more colorful and angled downward so babies can see the toys better?
The toys from Walmart run around $4-10 each. Most of the toys feature rattles, mirrors, and musical sounds which keep babies entertained for months as their skills and interests grow. For around $30 we made the Pottery Barn Activity mat more fun, colorful, and customized to peak little Ford’s interest. I love it when you take a great design and put a personal spin on it, don’t you?
Thanks for stopping by and I wish you a wonderful day! xoxo Dell