The Infantino Monkey’s Jungle Retreat Gym ($60) is a new cute and colorful play mat that unfortunately loses the call of the jungle when it comes to the sounds and lights module. The five activity toys have a nice variety of textures from corduroy grooves to satiny smoothness as well as crunchy sounds and rattling beads, and the mat includes a booster pillow for tummy time.
My friend’s son, Tahir, three-months-old, played happily on his back for a while, but the crossbars that Infantino calls the "Tiki Hut" were so low that the toys dangled in his face and didn’t encourage him to reach up and grab for them. My son Egan, six-months-old, liked the tags on the toys and pulled everything to his mouth right away, but was too big to be happy under the structure. The package suggests removing the Tiki Hut and using the play mat for babies who sit, but babies who sit are also babies who roll and Egan was across the room sucking on the banana toy in seconds.
The sounds-and-lights portion soon had me looking for a coconut tree to climb. While the packaging boasts “Plays two 10-minute tunes!” it takes exactly 31 seconds to learn the truth. In “motion mode,” baby kicks the toy once and it repeats the same 30-second melody 20 times, for 10 whole minutes. And it’s loud – really quite loud – and there’s no volume control. Very early on I learned to put stickers over the speakers on the loudest musical toys, but the Monkey’s Jungle Retreat Gym has the speaker concealed in a soft case so there’s no way to mute it.
The bottom line: By the time I’d removed the Tiki Hut and hidden the sound-and-lights module in the basement, the $60 suggested retail price seemed too steep. I’d choose another play mat with volume control and a taller structure.
Pros: Cute colors and sweet accessory toys.
Cons: Repetitive music is too loud and the crossbars are too low.
- – Kristen