TinyLove Gymini Move & Play

TinyLove Gymini Move & Play
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This play gym is a convenient way of providing gross motor development opportunities to young babies. It's well thought out and has some good features, but I'd recommend looking at secondhand options before buying new, given the price and relatively short period of use.

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Our Night Owl (3.5 months) is just beginning to realise that she can interact with the world. I love watching her face when something she does causes a reaction. So we recently dug our baby play gym out for her to enjoy.

We bought it when our Little Monkey was seven weeks old. Another new mum had told me that her baby would spend half an hour looking at the toys on theirs, and that sounded revolutionary. I jumped on TradeMe and put a $30 bid on an auction, which scored us one with all the bells and whistles. In hindsight I’m pretty amused that I was desperate for free play when he was so little — but I’m glad we got it.

I think a lot of the stuff you can buy for babies is completely unnecessary, and pre-baby this kind of contraption would have been pretty high on my ‘Avoid’ list. I still don’t think these are essential, but it’s been useful to us, so I figured I’d review it and you can make up your own mind.

The main feature is being able to hang toys in easy reach for a baby who is just learning gross motor skills. The TinyLove Gymini Move & Play (which google tells me is what we have) comes with five clips to hang toys from, along with a selection of plastic rings and toys. It also has a central mobile, which can be turned on to play music and rotate, or set to be triggered by a kick or swipe of the baby’s hand.

The whole setup is pretty garish… But you get that with baby gear (although there are classier options out there). The toys are pretty appealing to babies; the Little Monkey spent lots of time playing with them all. There are a good variety of textures (crinkly ears, hard plastic rattle, rubbery tags), plenty of contrast, and some fun interactive features (pull the elephant down and wriggles as it retracts).

The plastic rings mean you can hang pretty much any toy that has a loop or hook. As I am writing this there are three toys attached to ours, and none of them came with it. So it’s easy to switch things around.

The structure itself is pretty convenient; the two poles slot into pouches at each corner of the mat. This means it’s simple to throw the mat into the washing machine, as will inevitably be necessary. It’s also lightweight and easy to move around; I often move it between rooms while holding a baby. Because the frame holds the mat taut this is way easier than positioning a blanket on the floor — a definite win for our lifestyle. And though the poles are long, it folds down into a pretty small space for storage.

I hate the musical bit, but actually that’s true of most noise-making toys (our native birds excepted). But that’s easily solved — we just leave the music-maker off the frame.

I’m glad we bought it, and it serves its purpose well, but I recommend seeing if you can get one secondhand. TradeMe seems to have plenty available, and they’re often only lightly used, but much cheaper. Alternatively you could buy a wooden frame, or rig up something you have around the house to dangle some toys from. Do what makes the most sense for your family.

Awesome or Average: Awesome (but not at full price)

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