Baby play equipment suitable from 6 months

A guide to the play gear your baby can enjoy from 6 months of age, from play nests to activity centres.

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Your baby is probably getting quite mobile now – able to roll over and wiggle away from you at a nappy change time! They may even have begun crawling. They can sit up, which is introducing them to a whole new way of playing. Here, we go through the key pieces of the baby play equipment that your 6-month-old baby may enjoy.

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Activity centres

Once your baby can hold their head up comfortably, it may be worth considering an activity centre, also known as an activity station or entertainer. These are usually recommended until your baby is walking.

An activity centre can have a seat in the middle, similar in design to a walker, but in a fixed point. However, the seat rotates 360 degrees, and there are various different toys fixed around the centre to keep your baby amused.

These are great safe play spaces for your baby, but do take up a fair amount of room. However, if you want to get things done, it might be a good alternative to a playpen.

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Playmats

Your baby is probably rolling around by now or maybe even starting to crawl. To encourage this, and to give your baby a safe space to play in, a playmat is a good buy.

Some are elaborate, with toys, lights and sounds, while others are a simple mat for your baby to sit and lie on while they play with their toys.

It’s worth getting one that’s machine washable so you can keep it clean easily as it’s going to be on the floor. Also consider the size of the mat – if you don’t have much floor space you might want to keep it on the smaller size, but on the other hand it’s not much fun if your baby can roll off it in one move. You might also like to consider a playmat you can use outside if you have a garden or like to hit the park often – look for one with water-proof backing or one that’s really easy to wash.

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Play gyms

Until your baby is crawling, a play gym is brilliant way to strengthen their muscles.

Usually an arch attached to a soft playmat, a play gym has toys dangling from it to keep your baby entertained. The toys are normally simple items like mirrors, rattles and soft animals or shapes. Some may make a noise when your baby manages to hit them to act as an incentive to get them to reach out.

However, a play gym may not keep a baby who can already roll themselves over entertained for long, so it might be worth looking at some other options, such as a play nest or playmat, if you’re planning on making an investment buy.

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Play nests

At 6 months, most babies are learning to, or already can, sit unaided. A play nest really comes into its own during this stage, as it encourages your baby to sit and provides support to their growing back muscles.

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Most play nests are inflatable, with toys that attach to the sides to keep your baby entertained while they are in there. Your baby can also lay on the edge of the ring to encourage tummy time.

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