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Baby gyms are a great way for parents to keep babies entertained and active from a young age. The name “gym” is surprisingly apt because of the physical and mental workout that babies get from playing with the different features and toys. But, I appreciate that not all parents want to set up a gym with lots of questionable plastic toys, flashing lights, or loud noises. That is where the best wooden baby play gyms can help.
A wooden gym takes away all the over-the-top sensory items that could give parents a headache. There is also the certainty of a sustainable material that is much safer and more visually appealing. In this guide, I have selected nine wooden gyms for babies that are cute, appealing, and great for that “workout”.
In a hurry? Below are our 9 best Wooden Play Gyms for Babies. (Read full reviews and buying guide below).
What should you look out for when choosing the best wood play gym for your baby?
Before I review some of the wooden baby play gyms that I like, I want to go over some considerations for choosing the best product for your child.
1) What materials are in use here?
The main aim here is to find something that is completely natural and nice to touch. So, this creates a couple of options. You could go for something that is 100% wood or something with a wooden frame and fabric toys. The latter is popular because the squishy animals are fun to manipulate. You can find gyms with soft toys or knitted ones that hang from the bar. This provides new textures to investigate.
2) Is this a completely safe and natural option?
Even if you do choose something 100% wood or wood with knitted features, you still need to be careful. Check to make sure that any painted pieces are non-toxic, just in case your kid decides to chew on them. Also, make sure there are no small parts that might come loose or places where they can catch their fingers.
3) How much is there to play with?
Some gyms are quite straight forward with a few little toys suspended from the frame. This could be fine if your child becomes fixated on a particular feature. But, it might be more enjoyable for them if they have more choices. Look out for gyms that come with additional toys that babies can take to their cribs or an activity mat or other interactive elements.
4) Does the gym have a lot of visual appeals?
One concern with wooden toys is that softer, natural tones aren’t always as appealing to babies. They like high contrast designs and bold shapes. So, look at the different colors and tones provided. Is it all going to look the same to them? Or, is there enough contrast and interest to draw them in? This is where you can also consider the theme of the gym. Animals are a common choice with little woodland or jungle creatures to investigate.
5) Is the frame sturdy and reliable?
The last thing that you want is the gym toppling over or collapsing on your child as they pull on the hanging toys. Look at the shape of the frame, the supports in place, and the general quality of the wood. Another key factor here is whether or not there is a folding frame. Folding mechanisms are great for convenience and storage but could weaken the structure.
6) Does the gym come with a playmat?
This feature can make a big difference in the comfort of your child and how you set up the gym. Playmats provide a nice soft surface to lie and crawl on, ideally with the same themes and colors as the rest of the gym. Without a baby activity mat, you will need to find a suitable rug or separate play mat for them.
9 of the best wooden baby gyms.
This first option is popular with parents because it is such a simple theme with great features. Like so many of the other products here, the frame is sanded and unfinished wood. So, there is no paint to worry about and no rough edges. You also get a selection of cute toys with different textures. There are wooden rings with beads for motor skills, and soft toys with a cloud, sun, and rainbow. It also comes with a teething helicopter toy for use whenever babies need it.
I like this approach as it allows for interesting shapes and a fully gender-neutral approach compared to some of the other options out there. A smiling sun is a universal symbol of happiness, and you can’t go wrong with a rainbow. A potential downside here is that it doesn’t come with a mat. Still, it is easy to set up anywhere that you want.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]A cute design that works in lots of different rooms
An extra teething toy for use in the crib
Easy to store[/i2pros][i2cons]Doesn’t come with a mat[/i2cons][/i2pc]
What immediately stood out to me with this gym was the different approach with the colors. This is a black and white option for a more high contrast look. It is easy to assume that babies will like the softer pastel tones we often go for, but this approach is more visually stimulating. The alternate colors on the beads stand out a lot more and there are fun shapes at the end of each of the hanging toys.
Again, the wood is natural and sanded down to give it a nice smooth finish. The collapsible and detachable design of the frame also means that you can add additional toys at a later date. Therefore, you could make this more age-appropriate later on and get more life out of it. It is simple compared to some of the other play gym sets here, but it is effective for motor skills at an early age.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]A high-contrast look that will appeal to young babies
A smooth, tactile feel to the shapes and beads
Adaptable so you can add other toys to the frame[/i2pros][i2cons]Parents might not like the design as much [/i2cons][/i2pc]
This is another option where you get a combination of soft toys and wooden toys, which gives kids more to play with and more to explore. There are three wooden toys with beads on the string. These are nice to grab and reach for. Then there are two soft toys. This is another option that focuses on neutral tones to complement the use of natural wood.
To be honest, this one doesn’t have the stand-out appeal in terms of themes and colors as other models. But, I do appreciate this one for its practical edge. You can fold it down for storage and know that this should be sturdy enough to play with. The width also means that it goes over a bassinet nicely, which means no need for a play mat.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]The practical width and sturdy frame are great for use with a bassinet
The wood is safe and nice to touch
The soft toys give that extra visual and tactile appeal for babies[/i2pros][i2cons]Not the most exciting design [/i2cons][/i2pc]
The stand out feature of this product is that it comes with a play mat. I know that this isn’t a necessity if you have a good blanket or mat at home, but they can make a difference, especially when they match the theme of the play gym. You get more of a full set here with the soft round mat that complements the softer blue and wood tones on the frame and toys. There is also a mirror in the third toy, which brings a whole new side of your baby’s learning and development.
There is a possibility that this could all look quite similar to some babies because the tones are so subtle, with the exception of the multicolored wooden beads. But, this is still very cute with the fabric stars and starry sky theme. There is diversity in the toys but you may feel that three toys aren’t enough when other products offer twice as much.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]There is a matching play mat for comfort
The starry sky theme is nice and cute
There is a bonus of a mirror in one of the toys[/i2pros][i2cons]The colors may be too similar in tone for babies[/i2cons][/i2pc]
This next option is actually an Amazon Choice product if that helps you with your decision in any way. This one stands out because it takes a different approach to the theme. I think that the fun cowboy and the wild west theme is a really nice idea as it brings in different shapes and could inspire a fun play-room design in the future.
Again, you get a nice series of toys, this time with wooden and crocheted options. This means more shapes and textures to play with. There is a wigwam, cactus, and bison in the 2D wooden toys – complete with wooden beads and rings. Then you also get the soft star and adorable horse. Another helpful feature here is that there is a stronger tightening knob on the side to keep the frame secure when upright. But, this hard metal fixture might not be every parent’s idea of the best solution.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]A fun Wild West theme with cute designs
The use of crocheted animals for a new texture
A secure frame [/i2pros][i2cons]The new metal fastener may not appeal to everyone[/i2cons][/i2pc]
If you are worried that some of the products here may be a little short on entertainment because of the natural and subtle approaches, this could be the product for you. Here there is a play gym with a different sort of frame. I like the idea of the wigwam shape because it allows for a support structure as well as a peek-a-boo flap on one side.
In addition to the toys handling from the frame, there is also a play mat and plush sleeping bear toy. All the pieces tie together with a camping theme with little bears. The animals hanging from the frame are adorable with lots of colors and interactive elements. But, this does also mean that the toy isn’t 100% wood or fabric because of some of the features used. There is a musical device in the raccoon, a rattle in the bear, a mirror in the turtle, and a light in the firefly
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]The secure and interesting wigwam shape
The fun bear motif throughout the pieces
More interactive items to play with[/i2pros][i2cons]Not 100% natural materials across the whole set [/i2cons][/i2pc]
This option has a different look with two curved wooden bar and detachable toys. You can place the toys wherever you like on the frame to mix things up a bit. These toys include wooden rings and rattles, plush toys, and also an apple made from natural rubber. This is a material not seen on other toys that provide a different sensation for kids.
The gym also comes with a playmat that is well padded, machine washable, and reversible. This, along with the folding frame, make this a very practical choice for kids. Just be aware that there are two versions of this set with an attempt to separate the genders. One is pink and purple with a unicorn and the other blue and grey with a bear.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]Detachable design to help keep things interesting
A rubber toy for a new texture
A reversible play mat for added comfort [/i2pros][i2cons] Not gender-neutral. Choice of “male” or “female” themes[/i2cons][/i2pc]
For this next option, I have gone back to a more classic approach with the standard folding wooden frame and trio of toys hanging from the top bar. The reason I chose this one was because of the textures and materials. There is a Nordic theme to this gym, which allows for greater use of fabrics and natural ideas. The first toy is pretty simple with the wooden ring and beads, but there is a fluffy tassel. The second is a horse-shaped with a plated string with tufts of material to stroke. Then there is the knitted star. It is all very soft and gentle.
This approach is almost entirely about the texture and motor skills in feeling and grabbing the item. There is little to no visual appeal for babies because of the uniform look of the wood and the pale material used. But, you are assured a fully natural and safe design.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]The interesting use of different materials
The softer feel compared to other products
The ease of use for parents[/i2pros][i2cons]Not as visually appealing to babies as other options[/i2cons][/i2pc]
I wanted to add this last option as something a little bit different. So far, all these pieces have focused on the wooden frame and hanging toys and perhaps had a play mat beneath. Here the playmat is the star of the show and you get a nice wooden gym frame over it. The frame is great with a strong wooden structure, an organic ball and teether, and a batting toy. But, the focus is on the mat.
The mat has five development zones where kids can find concealed items to play with. It is all about different colors, textures, and shapes. Older babies should learn a lot with this playmat. This could be a nice upgrade from some of the more simplistic gyms or something to buy to add underneath a pre-existing wooden baby gym.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]A nice way to upgrade a play gym as kids get older
Fun interactive zones on the mat
Natural materials throughout[/i2pros][i2cons]Too much focus on the mat and not the frame[/i2cons][/i2pc]
Finding the best wooden play gym for your baby.
All of these products have great designs and interesting features to keep your child entertained and help them practice their motor function skills. They are also safe and practical with a great choice of materials instead of unsafe and unsustainable plastic.
Take your time to consider which of these you like the look of the most and which is the best fit for your child’s nursery. Look at the colors, shapes, textures, and themes to see if anything jumps out at you the most. The right choice in wooden baby play gym could end up providing hours of enjoyment for a long time to come.