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Developmental Playtime

Activity Center Review

Tiny Love Developlay $29.99

I love old-fashioned toys: wooden or cloth toys that require imagination.  There are few toys that are plastic with push-buttons which light up or beep that I find creative, beneficial, and durable.  Most of the ones Calvin does have were gifts or hand-me-downs.  But, very rarely will I spend hard-earned dollars on a plastic, push-the-button-and-it-lights-up “toy”.   Of course, with all things, there are exceptions.

One of my favorite toy manufacturers is Tiny Love which is celebrating its 15 year birthday of the first Gymini.  Calvin first fell in love with the Tiny Love Symphony-in-Motion Mobile with farmyard animals.  He was sad when we had to pack it up.  He’d outgrown it and could reach and tug on the animals.  But it was by far his most favorite and stimulating toy.  Based on his reaction to the mobile, we registered for a Tiny Love play gym: Gymini Super Deluxe – Lights and Music, and Calvin received it as a gift.  What joy!  Hours of playtime from 3 months until 8 months.  It’s designed for babies 0 to 10 months, but since Calvin’s mobile, it’s mostly lost his interest lately.  However, the soft jungle toys are still his favorite playtoys when strapped in his carseat.

When I was looking for an old-fashioned crib activity center, I couldn’t find one anywhere.  Most of them were flashing lights and required very little thought and interaction.  Also, most of them looked like they wouldn’t last past one baby.  I was disappointed in what was available on the market.  I returned to the Tiny Love site to peruse their developmental toy inventory, and I was so pleased to find a Developlay Activity Center which could be used attached to the crib and on the floor!  Already a fan of Tiny Love, I knew this fantastic toy with numerous thought-provoking bells and whistles would be entertaining for Calvin as well as helpful for developing dexterity, teaching cause-and-effect relationships, and even supplying some brain enhancing classical music.

This double-sided activity center is for ages 3 – 24 months.  The green side is the advanced side for ages 6 – 24 months.  It features moving “gears”, clicking switches, squeaking buttons, and a push-button that flips open to feature a cuddly and “giggling” plush toy.  There are also 4 buttons, 3 of which feature actual recordings of individual instruments: piano, trumpet, and violin.  The buttons can be pressed to add or subtract each instrumental sound.  The fourth button features all 3 instruments playing the Turkish March in a trio.  The buttons light up in rhythm to the tune.  The giggle and instrument sounds and lights only work when the activity center is “on” with working batteries, but there are still numerous features that don’t require a battery to function.

On the reverse is the blue side for ages 3 – 6 months.  It features a large smiley face.  When pressed, the nose lights up to the beat of the tune “Oh, Susanna!”.  There’s a cool, texturized spinning windmill, a baby-safe mirror, a spinning ball, squeaky ball, and a ring-pull toy that makes a “knocking” sound.

The plastic red feet stabilize the toy, and are easily removable to alternate from the blue side to the more advanced green side.  When Calvin gets bored with one side, we simply switch out the feet to the other side.  It also comes with a crib attachment to hang from the side which is great for younger babies or those who spend more time in the crib than roaming around on the floor.

I love that this activity center incorporates audio, visual, and kinesthetic learning in a colorful and fun way.   Gross and fine motor skills are strengthened.  What a fun way to help baby grow and learn! The tunes aren’t annoying electronic baby-toy sounds, but they’re actually somewhat pleasant.  And, if you really do get tired of them, you can simply select the “off” switch, and baby still has a variety of action toy activities on the Developlay.

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