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.
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.
|Keeping a growing baby amused|
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.