It’s natural for parents to have questions about when to introduce an activity table to their baby and which one would be best for their child.
Perhaps you’re creating your own baby registry, or or looking at baby activity centers to gift to someone else- either way, you’ll want to think about all kinds of factors, such as whether you prefer a musical table with flashing lights or a more traditional wooden activity table.
A popular question we get from parents is: do light up toys affect child development? so we wrote a blog post all about it to empower you to make the right call for your child.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the huge selection of activity tables available, keep reading! In this post, we look at how to pick the best baby activity tables in line with age recommendations along with parent feedback.
What Are The Benefits of a Baby Activity Table?
Activity tables can be a great way to promote your baby’s development by providing them with opportunities to learn and improve their motor skills. With so many options available, it can be challenging to determine which activity table is the right fit for your baby.
The best activity centers will not only capture your baby’s attention, but can also rapidly improve fine motor development, colour and shape recognition, hand eye coordination, cognitive skills and so much more.
These tables are designed to merge learning with play and are sure to stimulate your child’s curiosity and creativity. To help you choose the perfect activity table, we’ve put together a list of different types of activity tables, along with a selection of top-rated activity tables for babies
Types Of Baby Activity Tables
When selecting an activity table, it’s important to consider the child’s age, interests, and developmental needs. It’s also important to ensure that the activity table is sturdy, safe, and easy to clean.
Follow our top tips to pick the best activity table for your baby.
An activity center will support your baby in a sitting or standing position to engage with inbuilt toys, instruments or buttons. Often feature lights and sounds. Ideal for younger babies
Activity table with seat or exersaucer
This is the most popular activity table for toddlers, these have an adjacent support to help children play while sitting. It is a sit-and-spin model in which the hanging toys entertain the children while they engage with a range of toys to stimulate their senses.
Activity Center on Wheels
This is a popular option for babies who are on the cusp of standing independently and walking. These allow your baby to easily slide around wooden floors and carpets, while also engaging in a range of activities to sustain their interest.
Multi-purpose activity table
This type of activity table is designed with various play surfaces that include building blocks, puzzles, and drawing boards. It encourages children to explore different activities and aids in the development of fine motor skills and creativity.
Outdoor activity table
This activity table will be designed to withstand the elements, and will often have a water and/or sand feature that allows children to explore sensory experiences. It often includes various tools, such as scoops and funnels, to help children play and learn about the properties of water and sand.
How To Pick The Best Baby Activity Table For Your Baby
The reality is that most activity tables out there are great- finding the right one that will continue to provide fun for your child as your baby grows is simply down to thinking carefully about what kind of activity center will work best for your little ones.
Your Kids Ages
It’s important first to look at the recommended age range: some baby activities are perfect for babies to sit on the floor with, while others are designed for toddlers who are learning to stand and walk. Be aware that some baby activity tables are for babies aged 6 months and over.
Aside from your little ones motor skills and ability to stand or walk, you want to ensure that the activities are appropriate for your kids ages- you want something that is a bit challenging, but not so difficult that your child will lose interest.
Space Available & Whether Or Not A Table Folds
Space is also a consideration if your toddlers room is quite small, you may prefer a table which folds or has removable legs for storage. On the other hand, if you have the space, take it from us- a good sturdy table will be a good buy when it comes to toddler play!
Longevity of Use
As your child grows, the way that they play will change too. That’s why we love activity tables that have two or three height positions, so that your baby can initially sit at the table playing on the floor, and then the height can be raised for them to play while they are standing.
Babies love toys that provide entertainment in a range of ways, so check out the features of each activity table. Spinning dials, flashing lights, working piano keys and even toddler activities to introduce language skills in a fun way are all common features.
Some activity tables can be used for sand, water or building blocks too. Some even introduce other languages to little ones.
Some parents are simply looking for an affordable option to keep their baby playing, while others will be looking for something with specific benefits, for example activities that promote fine motor skills, encourage standing or introduce different languages or music.
Playing really is the best way to learn, and even lights and music can teach your little one about cause and effect as they play. What makes an activity table good is when your little one can learn without even realising it!
Best Outdoor: Little Tikes Fish ‘n Splash Activity Table
Enjoy Hours of Water Fun with the Little Tikes Fish ‘n Splash Activity Table
Looking for a fun way to keep your little ones entertained and cool on a hot summer day? The Little Tikes Fish ‘n Splash Activity Table is the perfect solution! Ideal for older toddlers
- Interactive water table: Designed with multiple activities to keep your child engaged for hours, including a fishing game, water spinner, and more.
- Easy to use: Simply fill up the table with water and watch your child’s imagination come to life as they explore and play.
- Durable construction: Made with high-quality materials, this water table is built to last through multiple summers of use.
- Perfect for small outdoor spaces, the Fish ‘n Splash Activity Table is lightweight and easy to move around, making it a great addition to any backyard or patio.
- With room for multiple children to play, this water table promotes social interaction and helps children develop important social skills.
- Requires constant supervision: As with any water play, children should always be supervised while using the Fish ‘n Splash Activity Table to ensure their safety.
- Assembly required
- Limited water capacity: The table has a capacity of 7 gallons, which may not be enough for multiple children to play at once.
Best for 6 Month Olds: Leap Frog Learn and Groove Musical Table
Get Your Little One Grooving with the LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table
The LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table is the perfect way to introduce your little one to the joys of music and learning.
- Encourages learning: The table features a variety of educational activities, including learning songs and activities that teach your child letters, numbers, shapes, and more.
- With a variety of buttons, switches, and knobs to manipulate, the Learn and Groove table helps your child develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
- Suitable for children aged 6 months to 3 years, the table is designed to grow with your child and offers activities that will engage them at every age and stage.
- The built-in speakers offer clear and high-quality sound, making it easy for your little one to hear and learn
- The table is made from high-quality materials that are built to last, ensuring your child can enjoy it for years to come.
- Requires batteries: The table requires 3 AA batteries, which are not included with purchase.
- While the table offers a variety of learning activities, some parents may find that their child loses interest after a few weeks of use.
- The sound volume is not adjustable, so the table can be quite loud at times.
Most Durable Activity Table: VTech Magic Star Learning Table
Introducing the VTech Magic Star Learning Table – A Fun and Interactive Way for Toddlers to Learn!
Want to give your little one a fun and engaging way to learn? Look no further than the VTech Magic Star Learning Table! This innovative toy is packed with interactive features and activities that are sure to keep your child engaged and entertained for hours on end.
- Four different modes: Includes Learning Mode, Music Mode, Imagination Mode, and Bilingual Play.
- Interactive buttons and features: The table features a variety of buttons, switches, and other interactive features that are designed to help your child learn about shapes, colors, numbers, and more.
- Built-in piano: The table comes equipped with a built-in piano that allows your child to create their own music and melodies.
- Bilingual play: In addition to English, the table also features Spanish language options, making it a great choice for bilingual families.
- Durable design: The VTech Magic Star Learning Table is built to last, with a sturdy design that can stand up to even the most active toddlers.
- Batteries required
- Limited seating: While the table does come with two detachable legs, it may not be the best option for children who prefer to sit while playing.
- Not ideal for older children: The table is designed for toddlers and young children, so it may not be challenging enough for older kids.
Best Activity Table with Walker: Bright Starts Around We Go 2-in-1 Activity Table
Keep Your Little One Engaged and Active with the Bright Starts Around We Go 2-in-1 Activity Table
Are you looking for an activity center that will keep your baby engaged and moving? Look no further than the Bright Starts Around We Go 2-in-1 Activity Table!
- 2-in-1 design: converts from an activity table to a walk-around walker to grow with your child
- Interactive activities: includes a variety of toys and activities to keep your baby engaged and learning
- Easy to clean: machine-washable seat pad and removable toys make cleaning a breeze
- Adjustable height: accommodates your growing baby and can be adjusted to three different height positions
- Portable: compact design makes it easy to move from room to room
- Bulky: the size and design of the activity center can make it difficult to store or move around tight spaces
- Requires batteries: some of the electronic toys require batteries, which can be a hassle to replace
- Not suitable for all ages: the walker function of the activity center is only appropriate for babies who can support themselves in a seated position, and not all babies may be interested in using the walker feature.
Best Activity Table With Lights and Sounds: Bright Starts Having a Ball Get Rollin’ Activity Table
Keep Your Little One Entertained and Learning with the Bright Starts Having a Ball Get Rollin’ Activity Table
Are you looking for an interactive and engaging activity table for your little one? Look no further than the Bright Starts Having a Ball Get Rollin’ Activity Table.
- Versatile play options: Comes with six different activities, including a piano station, flipbook, and spinner.
- With activities like a ball drop and spinning gears, this activity table helps develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
- Educational elements: The flipbook features numbers and colors, helping your child learn while they play.
- Sturdy and durable: Made with high-quality materials, this activity table can withstand the rough and tumble play of toddlers.
- Easy to clean: The activity table is easy to wipe down and keep clean, making it perfect for messy playtime.
- Requires batteries: The activity table requires three AA batteries, which are not included.
- Height not adjustable: The activity table is not adjustable in height, so it may not be suitable for all children.
- No volume control: The sound from the piano station and other activities cannot be adjusted, which may be a downside for some parents.
Best Wooden Activity Table: Battat Wooden Activity Cube
Keep Your Little Ones Busy with Battat Wooden Activity Cube
Hook: Looking for an engaging and educational activity cube for your child? The Battat Wooden Activity Cube is the perfect toy for keeping your little ones entertained for hours on end.
- Five Sides of Fun: Each side is filled with a variety of interactive activities designed to keep your child engaged and entertained.
- Develop Skills: This activity cube is designed to help develop essential skills in your child, including hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and problem-solving abilities.
- Safe and Sturdy: Made from high-quality wood and finished with non-toxic paints, this activity cube is built to last and is safe for your child to play with.
- Portable and Compact: The compact design of this activity cube makes it easy to store when not in use and perfect for taking with you on the go.
- Suitable for Ages 1-3: The Battat Wooden Activity Cube is designed for children between the ages of 1 and 3 and is perfect for both boys and girls.
- Small Size: Some customers have noted that the size of the activity cube may be smaller than expected.
- Limited Variety: A few customers have commented that the activities on the cube are not as varied as they would have liked.
- Price: The Battat Wooden Activity Cube may be slightly more expensive than other activity cubes on the market.
Best Activity Table for Older Toddlers: GobiDex 7-in-1 Multi Activity Table
Keep Your Child Entertained for Hours with the GobiDex 7-in-1 Multi Activity Table
Looking for an activity table that can keep your child busy and engaged? The GobiDex 7-in-1 Multi Activity Table has everything your child needs to explore, learn and play.
- 7 Fun Activities: The GobiDex activity table features 7 activities to keep your child entertained, including a building block platform, drawing board, gears, bead maze, abacus, and more.
- Sturdy Construction: Made with high-quality materials, this table is built to last and can withstand the wear and tear of daily use.
- Easy to Assemble: The table is easy to put together and comes with clear instructions, so you can have it set up in no time.
- Large Storage Capacity: The table comes with a storage area underneath the table, providing ample space for storing toys and other accessories.
- Compatible with LEGO: The building block platform is compatible with LEGO blocks, allowing your child to explore their creativity and build anything they can imagine.
- Height Limitation: The table may be too low for older children or taller toddlers.
- Limited Space: Some activities may take up a lot of space on the table, leaving less room for other activities.
- Assembly Required: Some parents may find the assembly process time-consuming or difficult.
Best Affordable: Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Around Town Learning Table
Keep Your Toddler Engaged for Hours with Fisher-Price’s Laugh and Learn Around Town Learning Table
Hook: Encourage your child’s curiosity and imagination with Fisher-Price’s interactive Laugh and Learn Around Town Learning Table, designed to help your child develop motor skills, learn colors, shapes, numbers, and more.
- 120+ songs, tunes, and phrases that introduce your child to shapes, colors, numbers, and more.
- Interactive town with four destinations that teach your child cause and effect, motor skills, and encourages imaginative play.
- Bright, colorful lights and engaging sounds that keep your child entertained and stimulated.
- The learning table’s legs are removable, allowing your child to play with the activity center on the floor, and grow with them from sit-and-play to stand-and-play.
- Develop your child’s fine motor skills with the various activities on the table, including a roller, slider, and piano keys.
- The table requires 3 AA batteries that are not included with the product.
- The product can be bulky and take up a lot of space in your home.
- Some reviewers reported that the activity table is not as sturdy as they had hoped.
At What Age Should I Introduce an Activity Table?
Follow the Age Recommendations stipulated by the manufacturer, however most sit and play activity tables can be introduced at 4-6 months. Initially your baby may sit on the floor, most bang at the toys and enjoy the music inititally, before beginning to pull themselves up to standing position as they grow.
We’ve already taken a look at when you should introduce an activity cube to your baby if you’d like to learn more.
Are Baby Activity Centers Safe?
Baby activity centers can provide a safe place for your little one to learn and play. It is however essential that parents always watch their baby. Inspect the activity table before every use and also always follow the age and use guidelines in the manual.
Do I Need to Buy an Activity Table For My Child?
An activity table is not essential, however babies do love playing in them and parents often report advances in their kids cognitive skills, hand eye coordination, gross and fine motor development when they use one.
While some experts promote the use of simple toys and even household, others recognise the importance of toys that are specifically designed to improve specific skills. To learn what our research lead us to conclude, read our post: Are toys important for child development?
It’s always worth keeping an eye out in second hand stores, also, baby activity centers are often donated to family and friends once baby has outgrown them.
How Long Will My Baby Play With an Activity Table?
This will depend not only on your baby and how they like to play, but also on the type of activity table you buy for your little one.
For example, the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Around Town Learning Table is designed for your baby to stand at, and so your little one can continue to play with the table for as long as they find the lights and music interesting.
The likes of the Battat activity cube offers stacks of activities and is suitable up to age three.
Often, though, kids enjoy a good activity tables up to 12-18 months.
Conclusion and final thoughts 💭
Adding an activity table to your little one’s play room is a great way to entertain and promote development- and thankfully there’s a wide range of options out there to suit all age ranges and to offer various educational benefits.
If you’d like to learn more about how to use toys to boost development, read our post all about the benefits of developmental toys.