All work and no play makes for a dull boy, but all play and no sleep makes for a cranky baby. So how do you navigate a child’s boundless energy and curiosity, while also equipping them with the comfort and support they need to wind down and allow their bodies to recover? With these top-rated play-yards and play-sets, your family can strike the perfect balance of good fun, and much needed rest. Set your baby up for success by giving them their own space to crawl, coo, giggle, explore, and eventually wind down and recuperate. Choose from an assortment of products ranging from portable playpens to more permanent fixtures; from bright, bold colors to tranquil tones.
We know you want to provide your child with the opportunity to be creative and expressive, while still maintaining structure and discipline throughout their day. We promise that with these best-of-market picks, there will be something that’s just right for everyone.
Best Playpens and Play Yards for Babies Reviewed in 2018
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Playpens and Play Yards
In order to properly assess the most worthwhile play space investments for families, we took into account three needs all infants and toddlers have. Those needs are the need to play, the need to rest, and the need to be safe at play or during rest. All playpens that are listed above have adequately met those needs and even have further indications on certain products of what age group those individual products are recommended for. The need for play is integral to development. Children learn through play, with the only variation being the type of play they enact, and that type of play is normally correlated with age and developmental stage.
These were some of the parameters that were used to judge the aforementioned products because we were seeking spaces that encouraged play. Some of the factors for the encouragement of play were spaciousness, colors, and lack of a bottom/flooring to the area; making it easier for toddlers to run, or play with messy things, such as play dough or other sensory objects. All varieties of play contribute to intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development so we value them all equally. Making the proper space to do these things encourages the child naturally to observe and experiment with what is in their space and what they’re observing outside of it. We favored in this list, playpens that infants and toddlers could see out of, so they can see you, observe tasks being completed, or be in the outdoors in a risk-free environment.
Secondly, the need to rest is not a commonly discussed need but is present inside every single person big or small. Being able to stimulate a child’s mind is an incredible thing for a play space to offer, but we also wanted to be considerate of the fact that some spaces children will not just play and learn in, but also rest in.
We sought out those spaces that would be comfortable for their body, gentle if they were to fall, but sturdy enough to handle a restless little one. We confidently offer all of those powerful attributes in several of the above products because we know that the little one in your life deserves more than just a spot to crash.
Safety is always a key priority because with infants and toddlers there is already plenty of fears that keep parents up at night. That’s why in our research we sought out the steadiest, sturdiest, and sometimes even securable playpens around. Offering family years of fun and freedom isn’t anything without some ensured peace of mind. We wanted to showcase products that are not only safe for any of your little one’s experimentation, but also for any accidents or mishaps.
How can you let yourself do the dishes or take a shower if you can’t be sure that your little one won’t be hurt if they fall, or could get their hand or foot stuck somewhere? We considered things of this nature very carefully to make sure that a solid selection was available for any loved one of an infant or toddler, who is having a hard time knowing just what they want or need, and what’s available to them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it ok to bring a playpen for a baby to sleep in on vacation?
A: Yes, though a crib is recommended for long-term use, there is nothing wrong with using a playpen for short-term use so long as it is built with some padded flooring. Additionally, playpens are much easier to travel with than a full sized crib.
Q: Is a playpen really necessary?
A: Though some people consider them a luxury, they are totally worth it. If space is a concern, you can get one that folds up and fits in a closet or under a bed or crib. They are excellent for travel and some outings, and even just to keep baby in a safe place while you get a few things done around the house.
Q: My baby doesn’t want me to leave their sight, is there anything I can do?
A: Excellent question! It is so crucial to be sensitive to your child’s needs and cries, and this is a scenario where a playpen can help as long as you select one with transparent (or mostly see-through) sides. That may help you put a little space between you and your little one for short periods of time so that you can get things done, but they can still see you and be comforted.
Q: I’m planning to use this outside, will that ruin it?
A: It is highly dependent on the product that you choose, but there are many waterproof, easy to clean, weather resistant options available above.
Q: Will this attach to the wall?
A: None of these attach to walls specifically, but many are shapable to fit various rooms, or corners in rooms so there is much flexibility still in functionality.
Q: Will this still stand if my 8-month-old pulls himself up with it?
A: Most of these products have additional safety mechanisms for stability to hold up to such force, check products individually for what will best suit your needs.