There are a few ways to witness pure toddler joy in action: You can put your kid in an outdoor swing and let them soar through the air and kick their pudgy little legs around. You can let them, oh, say, play with pretend butter, or thanks to the latest brilliant trend in sensory play, you can also let them roll around in a baby ball pit full of… well, plastic balls. In a world crowded with STEM toys and others that make big claims about development, the best ball pits for kids are a refreshingly simple way for toddlers and preschoolers to experience what play really means: letting go and having fun.
But before you invest in a ball pit for kids, there are a few things you must keep in mind: Make sure your child can sit up on her own before using it. Unless you have tons of floor space, you’ll want a ball pit that folds up and keeps the balls contained. And you want balls you can clean. The reason for that shouldn’t need any further explanation.
The gold standard of miniature ball pits: This one is suitable for babies 9 months and older. It's a zippered turtle that houses 60 plastic balls that are multi-colored. The bottom is non-skid. And this thing zips up when your kid is done playing and becomes a pillow.
When one ball pit isn't enough, broaden your horizons. First, your toddler will go to town in the turtle ball pit. And then, he or she rides a horse with sensory stimuli aplenty, including a rubber horseshoe that clicks and turns, rattling reins, and a crinkling mane and ears.
If you have the space, get thyself this three foot wide ball pit. It comes with 30 multi-colored balls and has an electronic activity panel that features a hoop that counts the balls and buttons that play phrases, animal sounds and music.
How absolutely genius if you don't have much space. You inflate the ball pit (which has a self-inflater), fill it with balls, and the rest takes care of itself. And then you deflate it and put it into a storage bag. Balls sold separately.
If bright reds and blues and greens make your eyeballs hurt, behold this neutral ball pit. The memory foam walls will hold their shape, and the set needs about 200 balls, which are not included. The removable zippered cover is machine washable.
Another of the less garish options, this one is made from microfiber with a non-slip bottom. One bonus is that the outer cover is removable and washable. Note that the balls are sold separately.
A ball pit that actually won't give aesthetic pain? Here it is. It comes with 300 balls, and is made from a soy-based foam with an organic cotton outer layer. The balls are crush-proof, and the pit itself actually looks, dare we say it, elegant.
The brand known for its intricate play tents delivers again, this time with this sweet baby ball pit. The exterior is made from heavyweight heathered cotton jersey; it takes 300 balls to fill it, and — downside — the balls are, in fact, sold separately and cost extra. However, if aesthetics are important — you may be looking at this thing a lot — this one is very easy on the eyes.
When bigger really, truly is better, this is the ball pit calling your name. There are six brightly colored petals to get to the center of this rainbow flower, the inside of which is filled with 130 balls. The flower itself is made of vegan leather.
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