The Lovevery Play Gym is one of the most coveted baby play gyms and play mats for plenty of parents-to-be and new parents, but it comes with a higher price tag than a lot of alternatives. Which leaves many parents wondering: is the Play Gym by Lovevery worth it? Or is a cheaper baby play gym good enough to do the tick? To put test it out, I bought the Play Gym by Lovevery myself, and put it to the test. Here’s my Lovevery Play Gym review!
Note: this post isn’t sponsored, and I bought the Play Gym by Lovevery myself for this review – I wasn’t provided with one from the company, but this post does contain affiliate links.
What is the Play Gym by Lovevery?
Designed for babies 0 to 12 months (for the play mat and baby play gym) and 12 to 18 months (for the play fort), the play gym by Lovevery has been thoughtfully designed to apply advice from child development experts, and offer your little one stage based activities for different age groups throughout the first year.
You get all of this in a fairly stylish and clean appearance. Despite the Play Gym by Lovevery being full of textures, colors and sounds to explore, it’s a good looking play gym that won’t make your living room look completely taken over by “kid stuff.”
TLDR: The Pros and Cons of the Play Gym by Lovevery
What Do You Get When You Buy a Play Gym by Lovevery?
In the box, when you get it home, you’ll find:
- The baby play mat, which can be used on its own or with the play arches. The play mat is broken up into 5 development zones (detailed below).
- The wooden arches or play gym legs, which are sturdy, easy to assemble, and have a lovely architectural look to them. They’re a nice neutral light wood color that won’t look out of place in your living room, and aren’t flimsy tubes or plastic like a lot of other play gyms.
- 3 baby tested removable accessories, including a high contrast ball, a sustainable wood batting toy, and a crinkle cotton teether with a silicone ring.
- A Set of swappable Lovevery Cards, including mirrors that baby can use to gaze upon their own gorgeous face, high contrast black and white graphic cards, facial expression cards, and some common object cards. You can use these with the play mat in the “Learn to Focus” zone or with the play gym, for baby to look at when they’re on their back, using the card clips.
- A play guide filled with stage based learning activities, put together by child development specialists to help you use this play gym to the maximum of its ability to support baby’s development. It’s broken up into 6 different age groups spanning 0 weeks to 12 months, with different ways to use the mat and gym based on age and stage.
The Playmat and Five Development Zones
The baby play mat part of the Play Gym is a cute, colorful, and super soft padded play mat with different mat zones, or development zones, which correspond to different areas of an infant’s development.
If you’re worried five development zones might be too much for your baby, don’t worry: you can keep all the mat zones closed if you think your baby is getting overstimulated, and just needs a soft mat to chill on.
Conversely, you can also keep all the mat zones open, if you want to let your baby decide what interests them.
Finally you can open just one of the five development zones, or several, based on your baby’s learning stages and interests. This is a great option to encourage baby during the early days of tummy time, when you want your little to enjoy the process, and not scream and cry the entire time (I’m speaking from personal experience, here!).
The Focus Zone (Great for Eyesight)
Maybe you’ve heard before that you should show young infants high contrast black and white images to help their eyesight develop?
Or that slightly older babies love looking at faces and themselves in the mirror?
The Lovevery Play Gym is all over those age appropriate activities with what they call their focus zone.
One of five developmental zones on the baby play mat, it consists of a a flip up, clear pocket with 2 separate slots, where you can slide in Lovevery’s high contrast cards, mirror cards, facial expression cards, or object cards.
They’re super easy to switch up so your baby doesn’t get bored during a tummy time session, and you can tailor the cards you choose to their age groups to promote age appropriate brain development.
I haven’t met a baby of a certain age and stage who doesn’t like sound making, which is what makes the “making sounds” developmental zone so on point.
This area has tons of crinkly paper, so even fairly young babies will be able to delight in smacking the mat with their tiny baby fist, and making a noise (hello, cause and effect!).
Once your little one is a little older, however, there are two secret easy to press squeakers hidden in this area, which are a major hit once found, and a good incentive to refine those gross motor skills.
Hide and Seek
This area has a little pocket that’s a bit hard to detect at first, even for me (aka: a grownup).
However, inside the pocket is a silicone and organic cotton teether, which can go in and out of the secret pocket to help your baby learn about object permanence.
The exploring colors zone is…colorful! In fact, I must admit I am also drawn to this area, which has a lovely colorful fabric covered in watercolor splotches, as well as what I’d describe as a whole bunch of flexible fabric fingers – each in a wonderful vibrant color – to grab and tug at.
Exploring colors is one of those themes that go on for ages – well into the preschool years, when they get into color mixing, learning the primary colors, etc. This is a fun way to start interacting with colors, along with some sensory exploration, and promote brain development.
How Things Feel
This development zone has 5 different textures to touch and grab (and – let’s be honest – possibly lick and chew). There’s a soft and squishy, red mop-like, a slightly rough ribbon and a nice smooth satin ribbon, yellow “french fry fingers” that are fun to poke, and a little decoration with nice floopy ruffles to touch.
Worth noting, each of the tactile bits – along with everything else on the Lovevery Play Gym – is made from baby safe materials.
The Lovevery Gym / Play Gym Legs
If baby play mats aren’t your baby’s thing at the moment, no problem. That’s when you can set up the full on play gym.
I like the baby play mat for tummy time, and the play gym for when you need to occupy baby. It’s great when you’re making breakfast, dinner, washing dishes, making a bottle, doing laundry, etc.
To transform it from a play mat to a play gym, click the 3 wooden legs into the top connector. Clamp them down with the hand screwed clamp (no tools required). And then connect them to the baby play mat with easy velcro attachments in 3 spots.
The very first time I did it, it took me about 15 minutes to set up the play gym. However, once you’ve done it once, it only takes 5 minutes or so to transform from a baby play mat to a great activity gym.
In my experience, the Lovevery Play Gym has some standout features compared to other play gyms:
The Card Clips
Each of the wooden legs (sustainably sourced wooden legs, I might add) has a card clip. You use it to attach high contrast cards, facial expression cards, object cards, and mirror cards to the play gym.
When your baby lies on their back and looks up at the ceiling, they’ll have the cards to focus on. This is great for entertaining them and eyesight development.
The Lovevery Play Gym comes with 3 different hanging toys.
- A wooden batting ring. It has a bell that makes noise when the baby bats or kicks it. It also has two “clackers” on the side, which also make noise if grabbed and released.
- A montessori ball. This high contrast ball is made of organic cotton, and has nice textures and colors to look at and explore.
- An organic cotton teether with crinkle paper.
Play Space Cover
This is the final stage of use for this – when you get to the imaginative play stage of life. However, you can also use it with babies. If you have them out in the garden, it can offer a bit of sun protection. That said, the fabric isn’t UV protective.
For younger toddlers, the play space cover basically turns the play gym into a cozy fort. This is great for imaginative play or early reading.
Some younger babies seem to also like the play space cover. It’s patterned with a high contrast black and white dots, which babies love!
One thing I wish was different about the play space cover is having double sided fabric. That way, babies would see the high contrast pattern a bit better when they’re inside. As it stands, it seems more of a design feature for parents.
Sustainability Features of This Play Gym by Lovevery
One thing I really love is that the Play Gym by Lovevery will last a looooooong time.
This thing is sturdy and well-made. You’ll probably be able to use it with multiple children. Even then you can probably then pass it on to friends, siblings and cousins to use again and again. You can also sell them. In my area they retain their value fairly well, making it a bit easier when you’re investing.
Personally, I prefer to spend more and get something that’s high quality and will last. In my view, this is better than buying something that will only last for one kid and then end up in the dump.
Lovevery also offers carbon neutral shipping (achieved through offsets) and a clearly laid out sustainability policy on their website.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long do Babies use the Lovevery Play Gym?
The play mat and play gym are for babies 0 to 12 months. The cozy fort mode is for older babies and young toddlers, up to 18 months to 2 years or so.
Does the Lovevery Play Gym Fold?
The play mat portion folds. To put the play gym away, however, you have to remove the wooden legs by unscrewing the center cap. It takes about 5 minutes once you get the hang of it. You can then pack up the whole thing into a regular sized grocery bag (the legs stick out a bit or need to be stored separately).
What Does the Lovevery Play Gym Come With?
The Lovevery play gym comes with the Baby Play Mat, wooden legs and attachment piece, and play space cover. It also comes with the following toys and accessories:
- Organic ball made from cotton with high contrast colors
- Wooden batting ring
- Cotton teething rings (one in the hide and seek zone, and one for the wooden arches)
- Card set including black and white cards, faces, common object cards, and mirror cards.
- The Lovevery play guide with suggested activities and ways to use your gym from child development experts.
Is the Lovevery Activity Gym Worth It?
There’s a lot to like, and despite the cost I think it’s a good investment piece for most families. If you’re on a strict budget, I can absolutely see skipping this play gym. But if it’s within your budget to splurge here and there, the Lovevery is a great choice.