SureBaby Blog

Lamaze Playhouse Gym: Mom Diaries Product Review

Posted by Alissa Robson

Well, now that I’m well past the halfway point of this pregnancy, it’s time to start bringing home the baby stuff!

While my husband, myself and our budget are more than happy to beg and borrow as much as we can from other parents, there was something about a play arch that I wanted to pick out on our own. Maybe it’s because they get so much wear that there weren’t many used ones up for grabs, or maybe it’s that my tastes were a little different from other moms with arches up for grabs – I can’t be sure, but either way, when I saw the Lamaze Playhouse Gym, I was in love!

Don’t get me wrong, it came with a price tag hefty enough to scare off any potential suitor. But I rationalized the price by noting its easy fold-and-tote functionality as well as its “stages” play feature, where it could be used by your child from baby stage to toddler. The mat itself was also reversible for double the fun (you know, in case your 6-month-old gets sick of seeing an outdoor lawn scene, they can flip it over and see an inside-the-house scene. Pretty weak justification, I know!).

Needless to say, the Lamaze Playhouse Gym came home from the baby store with me, and I was so excited to put it together. As I took the pieces out of the box, I was happy to see that the floor mat, arch and included clip-on toys all felt like they were made to be durable. They were also strapped into the box as if their lives depended on it, but that’s another story.

Next I delved into assembly- and there came the rub! The Lamaze Playhouse gym has an interesting feature where, rather than being a flat mat with a supported arch, the arch actually slides into two fabric tubes that cause the sides of the mat to fold up like small walls. Great for baby, who won’t roll out and has more fun things to play with, bad for mom who has to somehow snake the arch through these two tight-fitting tubes!

It took me over 15 minutes just to get the tubes through completely, and in my books on children’s toys, that should be a deal-breaker. My husband and I have a rule that everything we buy for the baby should be convenient to use and easy to assemble. Uh-oh.

But again, my rationalization kicked in – how many times would I really have to put the arch onto the mat? Given how the mat folds up into a tent and the arch becomes essentially a handle, there would be no reason to have to take it off altogether. And secondly...well, what if I tried assembling it again?

Though I was loathe to do it, I took the arch and other pieces off and started assembling the gym from scratch. Admittedly, it was still difficult, but it was definitely a bit easier to secure the arch the second time around. And it will probably just get easier as time goes on.

Everything about this gym aside from this one little detail is completely what I’d envisioned for our baby, and I am already too attached to how cute it is to consider taking it back to the store. The attach-on toys are fun, the music that comes from the sun is not nearly as annoying as many other children’s toys.

All in all, this arch is a keeper. It may have tried my patience, but I’m a patient person...I’ll just have to make sure I’m the chief assembler of the arch, and my husband never knows I broke our rule!

Now, my question for you all out there – were there any impulse buys you had for your babies? Did you break any of your own purchasing rules? Let me know in the SureBaby comments so I don’t have to feel guilty!

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