I received the Bright Starts RRRoaring Fun Activity Gym as a gift. I believe it retailed for approximately $30. lBright Starts regularly changes their styles of play mats and activity gyms. Although the theme of the gyms differ (For example: The version I am reviewing here is a “lion” theme, while another version currently available is a “backyard fun” theme), the toys and style of their basic gyms are essentially the same.
The Bright Starts Activity Gym consists of a play mat and two soft toy bars that stretch diagonally over the top of the mat. The toy bars consist of ribbon loops where parents can hang toys from links. A few ribbon loops are also on the mat for parents to attach toys during “tummy time.”
An assortment of toys are included with the basic Bright Starts Activity Gym. The standard toys are a rattle, a bead chaser, a teether, a mirror and a plush toy that plays music when tugged.
The overall quality of the Bright Starts Activity Gym is fair. The fabric feels like a cheap nylon, and the foam in the toy bars does not feel as if it would maintain its integrity if handled often by a rough toddler (which is something to keep in mind if you have older children in the house).
The plastic toys included with the Bright Starts Activity Gym are standard plastic toys. There is nothing exceptional about them.
I began using the Bright Starts Activity Gym when my baby was only a few weeks old. I’d lay her on the mat so she could see the toys that dangled overhead. At that age she issued few complaints.
By the time she was a few months old, she seemed to really enjoy the Bright Starts Activity Gym. When I placed her on the play mat, she’d try to reach for some of the toys. I’d often switch the location of the toys or use some of her other toys (not included with this play gym) to make it seem “new” and exciting again for the baby. When on her back, my child definitely found this activity gym interesting for five to fifteen minutes at a time around the fourth and fifth month of her life.
My baby never enjoyed using the mat for tummy time. However, she never enjoyed tummy time on any mat or cushion, so I suspect the Bright Starts Activity Gym is not to blame for her lack of enthusiasm in the tummy position.
Once my child reached the age where she could sit up, however, she definitely preferred sitting to lying on her back. And at that time, her interest in the Bright Starts Activity Gym significantly decreased. At most I could expect her to entertain herself in this play gym for a few minutes. Often, however, she’d immediately begin complaining when I laid her on the mat.
She did continue to enjoy some of the toys that were included with the Bright Starts Activity Gym. Sometimes she would sit up and shake the rattle, and she always enjoyed listening to the music played by the plush toy (in the RRRoaring Fun version of this gym the plush toy is a stuffed lion). The tunes are quite jaunty and happy, and they’re quite pleasing to the ear. I found the plush toy’s songs a lot more enjoyable than the standard baby songs played by other toys.
The Bright Starts Activity Gym tends to be one of the least expensive play gyms on the market. It has very few bells and whistles. However, since most babies outgrow the toys on a play gym relatively quickly, I think it’s a good bargain for parents on a budget.
Spend a little more on a fancier activity gym and you may get a few extra minutes of entertainment for your baby. But if the play gym is just a way to keep your baby amused for a moment or two, the Bright Starts Activity Gym should be adequate for your needs.