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Best Activity Centers & Exersaucers of 2023

Updated
Hours of learning and entertainment activities for babies and toddlers.

As moms, we want the best of everything for our babies. And if your baby is old enough to hold their head up and begin to play, you will want a high-quality activity center that helps them learn and provides hours of fun entertainment.

Skip the boring toys without any sensory or educational features. Instead, check out our baby-approved list of the very best activity centers and exersaucers for infants, babies, and toddlers.

We’ve selected only the best products that will stimulate brains, provide sensory input, encourage both fine- and gross-motor skills, and delight little ones. These activity centers, exersaucers, and entertainment mats have been tested by thousands of babies and approved by countless parents and caregivers alike. Their educational and active features make them stand out above the rest.

Read on to learn more about age-appropriate play and narrow down your search for an activity center to excite your little one and encourage a host of new skills.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Sit-to-Stand Activity Center, Baby to Toddler Convertible...
Best for Newborns
Fisher-Price Activity Center
  • 3 adjustable positions
  • Machine-washable seat pad
  • Lightweight
Product Image of the LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table (Frustration Free Packaging), Green
Best for Travel
LeapFrog Learn and Groove
  • Multiple stages for different ages
  • For visual and audio stimulation
  • Weighs less than 5 pounds
Product Image of the Baby Einstein Around We Grow 4-in-1 Walker, Discovery Activity Center and Table,...
Best for Small Spaces
Around We Grow
  • Variety of toys
  • Use on carpet or hardwood floors
  • Easy to clean
Product Image of the Lupantte 7 in 1 Baby Play Gym Mat, 2 Replaceable Washable Mat Covers Baby...
Best Activity Center Mat
Lupantte 7-in-1
  • No weight or height restrictions
  • Grows with your child
  • Great for tummy time
Product Image of the Baby Einstein Neighborhood Friends Activity Jumper with Lights and Melodies
Best Jumper Activity Center
Baby Einstein
  • Both a jumper and exersaucer
  • Features sound, light, and touch toys
  • Unique language introduction feature
Product Image of the ExerSaucer Zoo Friends Bouncing Activity Saucer
Best on a Budget
Evenflo Exersaucer
  • Adjustable to 3 different heights
  • Machine-washable seat pad
  • Secure learn-and-play environment


The Best Activity Centers and Exersaucers of 2023

Here are 6 great baby activity centers to consider.

1. Fisher-Price Activity Center

Best for Newborns

This activity center will take your child from their newborn to their toddler years. It contains three stages: the activity mat, the infant chair, and the toddler play table.

The activity mat is machine washable — perfect for newborns that spit up and have diaper blowouts. It has a removable piano toy that will encourage your baby to do tummy time and lift their hands to play.

The infant seat allows them to sit in the middle of the table and touch several different shapes and sizes. The center doesn’t have wheels, so you won’t have to worry about your baby traveling without you knowing it!

Once your baby no longer wants to sit in the seat, you can convert the center to a table that makes it easy for your baby to cruise and learn. The seating area can be replaced with a slide, encouraging your child to learn how things move and test gravity.

Pros

  • Three adjustable positions.
  • Machine-washable seat pad.
  • You can remove the legs for easy storage.
  • At only 12 pounds, it’s easy to carry and move around the house.

Cons

  • Non-adjustable seat may be too short for taller babies’ legs.
  • The gaps between some toys can trap a baby’s fingers.

2. LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table

Best for Travel

If your toddler loves sounds and music, this activity table may be a great option for you. It has always been a hit in our home with our own babies and toddlers, as well as with guests. The table will encourage your toddler to stand and dance — two great, age-appropriate activities.

For babies who can’t walk quite yet, you can pop each leg off with the press of a button and set the center on the floor at their level. This will change the scenery for your baby and allow them to play with various sounds and lights. It also makes it easy to travel with the table or store it.

With the activity center at ground level, this fun toy is excellent for encouraging tummy time with older babies still working on sitting unsupported.

Babies and toddlers will learn new ways of play with the table’s rewarding slides, spinners, buttons, seven piano keys, and even an interactive book sporting Leap Frog’s popular puppy characters, Scout and Violet.

Our favorite feature on this toy was the volume switch, which is a little challenging for tiny hands to manage but perfect for parents. However, we actually enjoy the 70+ cute little songs and sounds the table plays as they help children learn numbers, letters, shapes, instrument sounds, popular tunes, and more.

Pros

  • Suitable for infants, babies, and toddlers.
  • Super lightweight — less than 5 pounds.
  • Legs pop off easily for travel or storage.
  • A variety of sound and light options to encourage hand coordination.
  • Choose a pink or green design.

Cons

  • Because it’s so light, it will slide on hard floors if leaned on.

3. Baby Einstein Around We Grow Activity Center

Best for Small Spaces

This activity center’s unique design makes it ideal for small spaces. It consists of a smaller round activity table containing different sensory activities. You can connect the detachable chair to the table when needed or remove it for areas that don’t have space.

Once your child can safely sit unsupported, you can begin to put them in the movable chair. The chair attaches to the table and is able to follow a track around the entire table. This will allow them to control which activity they play with.

Once your child can stand and cruise alone, you can take the chair away. The table will act as a standalone activity center. You can also pull it up to existing chairs in the home, allowing you to save space.

Pros

  • Provides a variety of toys designed for touch, hearing, and sight.
  • You can use it on carpet or hardwood floors.
  • Plastic material makes it easy to clean.

Cons

  • Not designed for newborns or babies who cannot sit unaided.

4. Lupante 7-in-1 Activity Gym Mat

Best Activity Center Mat

My child was not a jumper. My little one also didn’t like sitting in chairs where the legs had to be separated. As a result, we relied heavily on activity mats for exercise and learning time.

This activity mat has a lot of great options for babies who don’t want to sit in a chair. The extra-large, cushy mat has a sweet animal print, allowing you to start pointing out things to your child and encouraging language development. And because it has more space than most activity mats, it’s a great option for twins.

Two padded bars cross overhead, givivg your baby something to look at while lying on the mat. The bars hold various ring toys you can move around and watch as your baby tries to grab them. Our little ones especially loved the detachable touch-safe mirror and soft, crinkly book toy.

The mat is machine washable. And once your baby can sit up comfortably without help, you can detach the bars to give them more room. At that point, you can place other toys on the mat to encourage touch and play.

Pros

  • Doesn’t have weight or height restrictions.
  • Includes plenty of soft, crinkly, and other sensory toys.
  • Great for tummy time.
  • Extra large size (36.5 inches long) is great for twins.

Cons

  • Doesn’t encourage walking or cruising.

5. Baby Einstein Activity Jumper

Best Jumper Activity Center

This activity center is designed for babies who like to jump, while still offering many of the great features of more traditional exersaucers. When seated, your baby can turn 360 degrees to reach a variety of toys. These include a piano, a bead chaser, and a few ring toys to encourage hand-eye coordination.

You can attach the seat to the railing with short bungee cords, allowing your child to jump and dance to the music. While typical jumpers require the use of a door frame, this one allows your child to jump anywhere in the house.

The seat adjusts to five different height settings, allowing it to adapt to your child as they grow. However, it does have a maximum weight of 25 pounds. The structure doesn’t have wheels, so you can feel confident that your baby won’t stroll away.

Pros

  • Combines the best features of jumpers and exersaucers.
  • Features sound, light, and touch toys.
  • Unique language introduction feature.
  • Toys and frame are easily cleaned just by wiping.

Cons

  • Once your baby outgrows the seat, there isn’t much use for the product.

6. Evenflo Exersaucer Bounce & Learn

Best on a Budget

This activity center has three different themes: Zoo Friends, Moovin’ & Groovin’, and the Barnyard Center. The seat pad is machine washable and dryable, making it super easy to keep clean.

When your child is in the chair, they can spin 360 degrees on their own. The toys are designed to develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and a strong core.

At 8 pounds, this activity center is one of the lighter products on the market. Anyone can carry it from room to room or outside into the yard to allow your baby to play in different environments.

Once your baby outgrows the seat, you don’t have to give it away. It can still serve as a fun table for your toddler to use as they learn to walk and cruise from spot to spot.

Pros

  • Adjustable to three different heights.
  • The seat has a bit of spring to encourage jumping.
  • Comes with a mobile to encourage neck strength.

Cons

  • No music or sound features.

What are Activity Centers?

The activity center category is a broad one that includes many different kinds of toy centers and options. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re centralized areas of play designed to encourage curiosity.

Whether you have limited square footage or a giant playroom, there are activity center options to help your child learn and develop.

How to Choose an Activity Center for Your Baby

Before you buy an activity center, you may want to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the different factors that may affect your choice.

Age Appropriate

Challenging your child is a great way to teach perseverance and independence and give them an early sense of self-confidence. However, you also don’t want to set them up for failure.

Some activity centers are made with multiple stages to grow with the child. As your little one begins to master specific tasks, you can add new toys or options to give them new challenges to conquer.

Other activity centers are designed for certain age groups. These are usually easier to assemble and may take up less space. If you choose to go this route, it’s important to upgrade as your child grows.

Jumper

Some exersaucers have jumper seats at their center. If you’re like me, you spent much of your pregnancy reading and hearing about how much babies love jumping. I thought it was a given.

However, not all babies love jumping. Mine wouldn’t even look at a jumper seat. If you aren’t sure whether your baby will like this option, you may want to take them to the store and try one first.

Activity Mats

Activity mats are an excellent way to introduce play to young babies who can’t quite crawl or walk yet. Some mats are pretty simple, and you can re-format them by adding different toys or sensory items. Other mats are packed with activity bars, mobiles, and sound stations.

Many activity centers will come with mats to be used as the first stage of play. Once your baby starts to crawl, they can quickly lose interest in mats.

Noise/Light Sensitivity

You will also want to gauge your baby’s sensitivity to light and sound. Some babies don’t like noises that are too loud or lights that rapidly move and change colors. This can change as your baby gets older.

If they’re sensitive to these things, and you buy a loud activity center, they might be afraid of it. In this case, look for a center with volume control that lets you turn off the sounds and lights when needed.

The Importance of Play

Long before your baby walks and explores on their own, they’ll want to touch, see, and hear new things. This instinct is critical to their development, and it tells them how the world works and responds to them.

For the first few years, this exploration will be in the form of play. Much research has shown the importance of play for children’s development (1). It’s necessary to give your child the right balance between challenging them and keeping them from getting too frustrated.

What are the best kinds of play for different ages?

  • Newborns: New babies don’t have a lot of muscle strength. Tummy time on a mat with an unbreakable mirror or laying on their backs to look at a mobile is enough to stimulate them (2).
  • Three to six months: Until your baby can sit up on their own, mats and stroller rides with activity bars are a great way to encourage them to play and move. They love to make and hear noises and to hold and inspect simple toys (3).
  • Six to 12 months: At this stage, your baby will start to be on the move. They’ll most likely be crawling and even starting to walk. Activity centers and exersaucers become a great way to keep them safe, confined, and entertained.
  • 12 to 24 months: During this time, your baby will get the walking down. They may begin to resist being confined in an exersaucer but will still want a place to play that’s all their own. Activity centers that convert to tables are a great option to keep them focused while encouraging independent movement.

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Headshot of Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Reviewed by

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children's Hospital of New York for the past 14 years. Jennifer also has extensive experience teaching Maternity and Obstetric Nursing, as well as Pediatrics Nursing.