Our top picks
Best overall: Manhattan Toy Tree Top Activity Center
"An extremely popular wooden activity center from Manhattan Toys is a gorgeous tree split into four colorful zones each exploding with tactile possibilities. "
Upgrade choice: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Play Table
"This quality low-to-the-floor activity table will make the perfect centerpiece for your child’s playroom."
Best for budget: Gleeporte 5-in-1 Play Cube
"A great value and compact activity cube to keep your infant engaged while developing their motor skills."
Best for toddlers: ALEX Sound and Play Table
"Allow young toddlers to sit or kneel at this gorgeous miniature wooden table, featuring six colorful and musical activities."
Best V-Tech learning table: VTech 2-in-1 Discovery Table
"This easily cleanable plastic table is reversible, with a drawing table on one side and interactive buttons, lights and sounds on the other. "
Best combo: Little Tikes Light ‘n Go Activity Walker
"An activity table that switches lickety-split into a walker."
Best sit and stand: Fisher Price Sit-to-Stand Activity Center
"With a secure seat for pre-standing infants, this activity table can start young and progress to standing toddlers."
Most variety: Evenflo Exersaucer Learning Center
"If your baby is easily bored, this activity table is jammed full of play possibilities that will provide a myriad of new experiences."
Best musical activity table: LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table
"Introduce musicality into your child’s play early allowing them to engage their ears along with their eyes and hands."
In this article:
Decent baby activity tables stimulate little minds through touch, sight, and sound. Really great ones teach infants to toddlers all sorts of things while keeping them active and amused for long stretches of time… ah, the busy mom’s holy grail!
We’ve researched and identified what we believe to be the best baby activity tables currently on the market. This shortlist is based on safety, fun, and educational opportunities.
Our picks of the best baby and toddler activity tables
Manhattan Toys are renowned clever and cool toys that encourage child development. This wildly popular Manhattan Toys Treehouse Activity Center (check price on Amazon) is a three-dimensional solid wood treehouse with four different play areas exploding with color. Several babies or toddlers can stand around the tree simultaneously with their little fingers exploring all of the other beads, clickers, twirlers, and gliders.
What we love
- Eco-friendly with no batteries
- Babies as young as 1 can play with it, as long as they’re walking
- A huge number and variety of activities
- Not strong enough for crawlers to pull themselves up
This Melissa & Doug activity table (check price on Amazon) will last for years and will find many uses throughout your child’s development. It is perfect for your little ones to pull themselves up to or stand beside and play with their favorite toys. It has plenty of room for train sets, dollies, puzzles, or a stuffed animal playground.
What we love
- Trusted brand
- Will grow to match all ages and stages
- Smooth surface easy to clean
- Recommended for ages 3 to 8, so supervision needed for babies
- Table has corners, so be wary if your baby is a little wobbly.
Best for budget
Don’t let the simplicity of this Gleeporte Wooden Activity Play Cube (check price on eBay) fool you. The wooden cube has four sides each with a separate play area, and a beaded maze on the top. It’s small enough to wrap their little legs around and large enough to hold a lot of fun activities.
What we love
- Small enough to hug (and they will!)
- Multiple bubbas can play at once
- The top surface can be turned upside down for easy storage
- Recommended for children older than 2-years
- Maze sits snugly on top but can be detached by curious kids
Best for toddlers
ALEX’s Sound and Play Activity Table (check price on Amazon) is a sturdy, colorful, little wood table with bright red legs. All corners are rounded, and the alphabet is painted around the edge along with other fun shapes. Standing about seven inches off the floor, babies can either sit and play or be on their knees.
What we love
- It doesn’t need batteries
- Three babies can play at the same time
- The solid wood construction makes it very durable and eco-friendly
- It was a Today’s Parent Canada Ultimate Toy Winner as well as the winner of the Dr. Troy Best Green Toy award
- It’s not recommended for babies younger than 18 months
Best V-Tech learning table
Here’s a fun, little activity table. The VTech 2-in-1 Discovery Table (check price on eBay) is constructed of durable, high-quality plastic with happy, brown bears as the legs. The top is reversible, with an artistic drawing table on one side and a fun, interactive play table on the other side. Babies will be able to explore colors, numbers, and shapes, along with chiming in for sing-along songs. They’ll be giggling right along as they discover all of the different sounds. There’s even memory and logic games to challenge their growing minds.
What we love
- It’s easy to assemble
- Babies love pushing the buttons to make sounds and music
- It does use batteries, although the first two are included
Little kids love a lot of activity and that’s exactly what Little Tikes Light ‘n Go Activity Walker (check price on Amazon) provides. It comes in two orientations. One is its walker formation which allows babies to use it to walk around and play with the objects attached to it. This form also projects lights and shapes on the floor for the baby to be dazzled by.
It also can be shifted into a flat form to be used as an activity table. Perhaps, most astonishingly, is that it comes with over 70 different songs and activities for our baby to amuse themselves with. That’s plenty of things for them to focus on and entertain themselves with.
What we love
- Saves the need for a seperate baby walker
- Gorgeous jungle theme
- Jungle and animal sounds
- Assembly is a little tricky (be patient!)
Best sit and stand
Whether you’re looking for a way to occupy two children or you find your child outgrowing multiple toys and activity centers, the Fisher Price Sit-to-Stand Activity Center (check price on Amazon) is the real deal. For younger infants, there’s a center section where they can sit and rotate to play with the toys all around them. As they get older, they could stand on the outside of the activity center, placing a new piece in the center, and exploring it in a whole new way.
What we love
- Plays musical notes & short tunes up to 20 minutes
- Adjusting the leg height can be a bit difficult
If you’re looking for a way to keep your baby occupied and give them the space to learn about their senses, the Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center (check price on Amazon) is just what you need. Comes with a wide variety of toys that will engage your baby in some active play. As a mom with plenty of things to do, it can be a huge relief to keep my baby occupied while I attend to household chores such as the dishes and making the bed
This activity center has the ability to adjust which toys are on display, allowing you to cater the center to your baby’s interests and avoid overwhelming them. This baby activity center is also very easy to set up, coming with intuitive instructions that are easy to follow out-of-the-box.
What we love
- Easy to set up
- Good variety of toys
- Customize or attach certain toys
- Some toys might be overwhelming
Best musical activity table
It’s no secret that stimulating your kid’s musical senses is incredibly helpful for their mental development. The LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table (check price on Walmart) allows your child to engage the multiple buttons to make many different sounds. The variety in the sound is also helpful, being associated with instruments visually on the table. This makes it also intuitive to teach your child which instruments relate to each sound, also helping develop their cognitive reasoning skills and association.
What we love
- Variety of buttons helps familiarize your child with different instruments
- Very affordable
- Buttons may occasionally stick
Overall, we have to give our nod to the Manhattan Toy Tree Top Activity Center (check price on Amazon). As well as being eco-friendly, wooden, and bursting with kinesthetic learning and play activities, it also accommodates multiple children at once. Plus, it is beautifully designed and so will look great in your home.
If you are shopping for an infant, the Fisher-Price Sit-to-Stand Activity Center (check price on Amazon) will allow you to snuggly sit them in place. It should also grow with them and can continue to be used once they are up on their feet.
How we chose these activity tables
Our editorial team is composed of real parents with real children. We are living it and know about ages and stages first-hand. That’s why we searched for activity tables that seemed to be designed by toymakers who clearly understand how children play and learn. We looked for tables that were age-appropriate and featured a myriad of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic play possibilities.
Additionally, we scoured parent reviews and feedback. These products had to be both easily cleanable and robust enough to take the inevitable beating that they receive once toddlers get a hold of them!
Can I put the table in my baby’s playpen or crib?
No. Never place anything in a playpen or crib that could allow a baby to climb out. Always use activity centers on secure and solid flooring in a safe area away from stairs or bathrooms.
Are tables with batteries safe?
Spills can, and will, happen! And sometimes cleaning will get the battery area wet. Just make sure the area around the batteries is dry, and you’ll be good to go. Plus, quality manufacturers will waterproof battery compartments.
Should I focus on fun or learning?
With babies and small children, play is learning. So don’t feel any pressure at all to look for special “learning” features. So long as the activity table features fun and engaging activities, then your baby will naturally learn. Just let them have at it! Explore other learning toys that are great for development.
How soon can a child need use an activity table?
Most tables recommend that children are at least 1-year-old. Before this time you can play together. Remember though, that children less than one do not need additional stimulation. A spot on the ceiling is often enough to keep them engaged. If anything, for younger infants you may want to reduce stimulation and so there’s no rush to use activity tables until your child is roaming around and actively seeking things to grab and play with.
Do activity tables promote motor-skill development?
Yes. Children’s fine and gross motor skills will improve as they learn to manipulate objects with their hands. All of those little knobs, beads, and buttons are the perfect size for their little fingers. To be honest, though there is no need to actively promote motor-skill development in this way, as children get all they need as they naturally roam around indoors and out.
What to look for in an activity table
Legs (or not)
Some activity tables have legs, others sit on the floor. The activity tables that sit on the floor would probably be safer for crawlers and babies just learning to walk. Once they’re off and running, activity tables with legs would be ideal.
From the time when they were infants cooing in their cribs, you’ve had all sorts of colorful toys for them to play with. Baby activity tables are just another step towards their independence. Oh, but don’t think about that yet! Let them play! and enjoy watching them play, or even give them a little alone time to explore. Just make sure to check and see what the manufacturer’s recommended age is for the activity table. Some of those little knobs and gadgets might not be safe for your baby until they are a certain age.
We’ve learned that price and quality don’t always go hand-in-hand. Hmm, imagine that! We only review high-quality toys from reputable manufacturers with a reputation of providing durable, well-made products that are safe for our little ones. After all, we’re trusting these toys with our most precious assets! And, quality is a crucial factor to look for when choosing the best activity table for your baby.
As you see, when looking through our picks, they come in all shapes and sizes. So, think about how your baby will be using it. Would it be best for them to stand or sit beside it? Or, should it lay on their lap while they play with it? Maybe, you need it to be big enough to have other playmates along for the ride.
There are two main types of activity tables:
- Wood. Some are made entirely out of solid wood. Others may use cheaper pressed wood. And, some may use a combination of wood and plastic. If you’re considering wood, solid wood will give you the best overall performance value. The manufacturing process of wood toys also doesn’t release harmful emissions into the environment, making it eco-friendly.
- Plastic. Today’s toxic-free plastics make very sturdy, long-lasting toys for babies and kids of all ages. Since plastic and wood toys will last about the same amount of time, the choice really comes down to your personal preference.