My daughter is now nearly 3 months old, and is starting to notice the world around her. It is so rewarding to see her growing and interacting with us – we are now getting smiles of recognition and she responds to bright lights, colours and shapes. We had a play gym when Erin was little and I noticed how quickly she started to wiggle and move once she had some stimulation.
We were recently sent the Little Tikes Sway ‘n Play Gym to test out with Neve – a play mat with a difference! 🙂
About Sway ‘n Play Gym
The Little Tikes Sway ‘n Play Gym is quite different to other play gyms on the market in that it features a unique overhead bar that sways backwards and forwards automatically! The sway bar gently swings the hanging characters, encouraging your baby to track with their eyes and reach for them.
The Sway ‘n Play Gym features five toys with unique textures as well as a tummy time pillow. It grows with your child, from newborn, and is suitable for lay & play, tummy time, and sit & playing fun.
The Sway ‘n Play Gym features:
- Adjustable/removable overhead bar
- Bar sways to encourage baby to reach and bat at the toys.
- Removable mirror in centre of the bar
- Bolster pillow to help with tummy time
- Four fun hanging toys that can be removed and rearranged.
- Play mat has 10 fun minutes of music including recognisable lullabys.
- Additional loops on mat to attach more toys
- Baby gym mat is machine washable in cold water.
The Sway ‘n Play Gym retails at £49.99
You can see more info on the product on the Little Tikes website.
We started using with my daughter when she was four weeks old. The gym is easy to set up, with the toys simply hanging from the bar and attaching with a Velcro tab. They can be moved around and removed as you wish. The bar slots into the large base unit, and attaches to the other side of the mat with a plastic hook. I was reassured to see that the bar was made from lightweight foam and therefore was soft to the touch and would not hurt my daughter if it was knocked over.
There are two buttons on the main base – one for music and one for motion. Both ‘time out’ after a few minutes so that the batteries do not drain if accidently left on. The four hanging toys and a mirror are included in the box. The mirror is great for Neve to look at her reflection, and is attached via Velcro so it can be placed where ever you like or removed completely.
At first, Neve lay on the mat relatively calmly watching the moving parts and listening to the music. The songs are familiar and comforting, and there are two volumes so you can decide whether to have a more subtle background noise or full volume sound.
As Neve has grown bigger, she now enjoys knocking the parts with her hands – each toy makes different sounds including rustles and rattles.
The tummy time pillow included although she is possibly a little young for this yet as she cannot confidently lift up her head. Practice makes perfect, and I have read that it is to be encouraged every day to strengthen their back and spine.
The overhead curve with the motion setting rocks slowly backwards and forwards, which is a really effective way of encouraging your baby to visually track motion. Neve follows the objects as they moved backwards and forwards above her and smiles as they pass over her head!
Overall we have really enjoyed the Sway ‘n Play Activity mat, but there are a couple of improvements that would make us love it even more. Firstly, the motor that causes the system to move can be a little on the noisy side and on the lower sound setting you can hear this quite clearly. Also, the base unit does not always stay in place and the foam bar can easily pop out of the base, meaning that it is a little more flimsy than I would like. That said, it is the only play mat I have seen that has this swaying part, and it really does entertain and soothe my daughter. I can leave her contently playing on her mat whilst I rush upstairs with my toddler when she declares she “NEEDS A POO!!!!!” without having to worry about her getting upset.
- Neve enjoyed the music, range of songs so that the same one isn’t repeated too often.
- The moving arch caught Neve’s attention and she followed the moving parts with her eyes
- Bright colourful design with contrasting colours
- Easy to set up
- Majority of product folds away for easy storage
- Grows with child – suitable from birth and after child is sitting
- Slightly padded mat which is wipe clean should baby posset up milk whilst wriggling!
- Smaller size mat so perfect for homes without a great deal of floor space.
- Toys and mirror clip off so can be played with individually as well as on the mat.
- The moving arch is quite audible if you have the music off or on the quieter setting.
- Sometimes the arch falls over so there is a bit of an art to getting it correctly balanced before you start. The base is meant to clip into the mat but doesn’t tend to stay in place, so I resorted to simply placing it on the mat. As the arch is made out of foam it is quite light and therefore doesn’t hold itself upright very easily – occasionally the foam pops out of the base, and therefore I think this could do with a few tweaks to make it more sturdy. That said, at least with it being made of foam you can be confident if it does fall it will not hurt your child!
- Base of the arch is quite big therefore is a little bulky when packing away.
- Does require 4 AAA batteries which aren’t included so stock up! 🙂
*Disclosure – We were sent the Sway ‘n Play Activity Gym from Little Tikes in return for our honest review, however all thoughts and opinions are our own.”