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Review: Tiny Love Gymini Total Playground

A compact play gym that has plenty to entertain, encourage and distract your developing baby

Posted: 29 November 2006
by Maria Muennich

Tiny Love Gymini Total Playground

happyface Bright colours, interesting toys and playmat detail, very portable
sadface Toys may hang a little low for big babies, ribbons on duck need cutting off
Features: 3-D activity gym with bright detail and textures on the mat, crossover arches with detachable hanging toys, mirror and light-up music touch-pad, open/closed side border option
Price: £48
Contact: The Tiny Love website

The Gymini Total Playground concept:
The Gymini Total Playground aims to support your baby's development in the first year by providing stimulation through different fabrics, textures, shapes, colours and music. The mat is brightly decorated with an ark of animals, and includes different textures of fabric to pull on and play with. The two arches are designed so that you can move the hanging toys and mirror around and tailor the gym to your baby's changing abilities, interests and size.

The Gymini baby gym in action:

Gymini in action in baby's early days
Ease of use
The Gymini is simplicity itself to set up with the arches which popper in at each corner and where they meet in the middle. It's also nice and quick if you want to collapse the gym so you can carry it around as a simple playmat or put it through the washer. You can sponge off small pukey accidents easily, plus the mat washes well at 30 and line dries very quickly. This does, however, come at a cost of being a bit on the thin side as far as padding goes, so unless you have a plush carpet you'll probably find that you want to set the gym on a rug or blanket for baby's comfort.

Growing with baby
For baby's early days the mat fastens up at the corners to reduce its size and gives a tiny baby a feeling of security, later you can fold these out to make the play space bigger. The gym is in theory 0+, and there's no reason why you shouldn't use the mat very early if your baby likes it. We didn't use the mat until baby was six weeks' old and it was an instant hit with our tot, although for the first couple of weeks just five minutes at a time was enough.

The Gymini does genuinely grow with your baby through the first months. Our tester has gone through phases of being fascinated with individual toys - batting at the chiming duck, kicking the music pad, chatting to the lion, chewing the giraffe, preening in the mirror, gnawing on the teething butterflies - alongside times of trying to play with as much as possible all at the same time. The five toys are easily detached and moved around the gym with a series of interconnecting plastic rings which allows you to dangle the toys at different heights, place them on the mat or swap toys in and out to keep things interesting and new.

Keeping a growing baby amused
While many play mats have brightly decorated surfaces for when baby begins to spend time on his tummy, not all that many have bits on the mat itself to play with, the Gymini is great for this with things like a crinkly kite, squeaky sheep and soft racoon tail to pull and chew on. This also means that the mat still has plenty to offer with the arches removed, so you can fold up just the mat and easily take it with you anywhere, and once baby has outgrown the arches.

You'll want to remove the arches at the latest when your baby starts to pull on them to pull himself up or support himself while sitting, as this could be dangerous. You might find that your baby outgrows the arches even a little sooner, particularly if he's a big baby.

Once your baby's really on the move he'll probably still like playing with the mat, just don't expect it to keep an inquisitive baby in one place for very long.

Lights and music
An all singing, all blinking playmat isn't necessarily everyone's cup of tea and we were rather sceptical of this part of the package. Our son, however, thought it was great. Not so much the lights - which turn off and on slowly rather than blink and aren't really very obvious anyway - but the music elicited delighted giggles for months as he realised that he could make the music play. You can set the mat to play either a plonky 12-minute extract of a Mozart symphony or some very short and cacaphonously silly barnyard noises which we far preferred.

Independent and joint play
Just how long the Gymini will keep your baby occupied for alone will depend entirely on your baby and his mood. At times our little one can keep himself independently busy for an hour on the mat, allowing mummy to shower, iron, eat or whatever else needs doing. At other times only audience participation will do. Even over six months the gym still does get plenty of use, although now more often with other toys creeping onto the mat and baby creeping off it.

A word of warning
We have heard from one ThinkBaby member that she found her daughter gagging on the short ribbons attached to the duck chimes on the gym. The company has been alerted to the potential choking hazard but if you do already have the gym then you might want to cut the ribbons off, just in case.

The ThinkBaby verdict

Great fun and stimulation for baby for many months and a useful prop for independent play allowing mum or dad to occasional put the kettle or washer on. The padding is too thin to comfortably use alone on harder floor surfaces but this does mean that the mat packs up very compactly for transport and washes and dries well.
Quality: 4/5 review4stars
Value 3/5 review3stars

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Review Tiny Love Gymini Total Playground

Discuss this story

We bought the kick and play playground for my daughter when she was 3 months old it was a great product, the lights and colours kept her happy for hours. She is now 6 months and the other day she had hold of the duck that hangs from the gym, i realised she had something in her mouth. The duck has got ribbon hanging from it and the threads had frayed and came off in her mouth. I removed the threads from her and luckily she is fine. I have contacted mothercare where i bought the product and i have got to send it to the returns dept to be looked at. I would advise all parents to remove the duck from the playground as they could choke on the threads.

Posted: 27/10/2006 at 10:49

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