It starts off as a walled activity centre for tiny babies with lots to look at and reach for; a mirror to look in and a lights and sounds panel for added fun. The walls are padded, but have slide-in plastic inserts to keep them fairly rigid when upright.
Tatiana is 6 months old, but still likes this mode with the sides to look at and all the hanging toys and rattles to reach for and pull at. It comes with six toys to attach, but there are lots of loops to attach more toys if required. Tatia loves looking at all the bright colours and the animals on the side panels, as you can see below.
As baby grows, you can open up one or more of the sides to give them more space and to increase the possibilities of the play mat. Look at that little face, do you think she likes it?!
The hanging bars are easily removed as they just slide into pockets on the outside of the gym, a clever idea. Once the cross bars and the flexible plastic wall panel inserts are removed, the padded area becomes a large, flat play mat for an older baby to roll around on, sit on to play with toys or treasure baskets, or practice tummy stretches for future crawling.
Tatiana loves the freedom the lay flat option gives her and rolls around on her back and her tummy to look at the different colours and shapes of the animals. You can also attach the toys in this mode for baby to explore and play with. Tatia also has her soft blocks, Lamaze toys and other things on there to play with and is quite happy to play by herself there for a good while, which means I can fix lunch for the other two, or join in with their game for a little bit.
I think this variant on the traditional baby gym is a great idea. With the different variants and adjustability it means that it will last far longer than the usual baby gym does, and it is a great price too, considering how long it will last and the extra features and possibilities involved. Available currently from Kiddicare for £59.99 (RRP £69.99).
Oh, and it apparently makes a great cat bed too!! Just as well the mat is fully machine washable!