As your baby reaches the 3-month milestone, they are already starting to try and roll themselves over to explore their surroundings. They can now follow moving objects with their eyes, and enjoy listening to new sounds. Our baby play equipment guide will help you through the maze of options out there for this stage in your baby’s development.
At 3 months, your baby can still get good use out of a rocker. It can give your arms a much needed break from constant cuddling and keep your baby, safe, comfy, entertained or soothed.
Suitable until your baby is about 6 months, a rocker is a seat for your baby that can be set rocking back and forth with a nudge of your toe.
While some are simple and straightforward seats, others have toys and entertainment bars on them to encourage your baby to focus their eyes and start to reach for toys. Even more high tech options provide you with the opportunity to plug in your MP3 player so your baby can hear some of your favourite music – and so you don’t go crazy from listening to nursery rhymes!
A bouncer can be a real arm-saver if your baby likes to be jiggled constantly! They are usually a simple seat that can be set bouncing lightly with a nudge or with your baby’s own movements. Like rockers, bouncer usually aren’t suitable beyond the 6-month point, depending on style and brand.
Bouncers come in a variety of different types and styles – some are high tech options with activity bars for when your baby gets older, and some are simple seats on a wire frame. Others offer vibrate functions or can play music to help soothe your baby.
Now that your baby is developing all their muscles, they need a work out! As the name suggests, a play gym will provide just that. Usually designed as an arch with toys dangling down from it, a gym will encourage your baby to kick, grab and hit out to get at the toys.
On some, the toys may make a noise or have different textures to encourage your baby to reach out for them again and again. Most play gyms are attached to a mat, and it’s worth checking to make sure all the different pieces are easily cleaned, as they are bound to get covered in baby dribble or worse.
Play nests are a great idea to help encourage your baby to sit up. A doughnut shaped inflatable ring with toys attached, a play nest supports your baby to sit up and play.
You can also lay your baby across the ring to encourage tummy time without your baby lying flat on their front, which some find uncomfortable.
Play nests can take up a lot of space. Although they can be deflated you might not want to be blowing it up every day!
A playmat will provide stimulation for your young baby, encouraging them to reach out and explore and give them that all-important tummy time. Most are brightly coloured to keep baby’s attention, and some will have different textures and shapes on for your baby to feel and study. More advanced ones may play music or make different sounds as a reward for touching different areas of the mat.
It’s worth thinking about how big a space you want the playmat to cover, and if it does make noises, does it have a volume control?! While the ones with neutral tones might be better for your interior, they may not keep your baby’s attention so well.
Swing chairs are small swings that rock back and forth to help soothe your baby. They’re great for giving your arms a break if your child is one that likes to be rocked constantly.
It’s worth considering how much space a swing chair is likely to take up, and whether it is battery or mains powered. Most can be used until your baby is 9 months, and if your little one likes it, it will be a good investment so you can get some hands-free time to yourself.
Once your baby is able to support their own head, you can consider a door bouncer so that you can have a hands-free moment.
A door bouncer hangs from a door frame in your home and allows your baby to bounce themselves lightly, similar in design to a bungee cord. It’s great for encouraging them to build strength in their legs and as they are supported upright, they can see what’s going on around them.
It might get a bit annoying having something constantly hanging in a doorway when it’s not in use, so make sure you can detach it easily yourself, and double check that it is totally secure before putting your baby in. You’ll also want to check that your doorway meets the manufacturer’s requirements before buying it.