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Best Activity Centers in 2017

One of these activity centers will be baby's favorite place to play.

Best Activity Centers in 2017

Activity centers provide hours of fun for your little one, but let’s be honest, they also give you a much needed break. Your babe might even be entertained long enough for you to finish that cup of coffee before it goes cold! So which type of activity center is right for your kiddo? Some grow with your baby and convert to toddler tables; others will have your baby jumping for joy (actually, applause). Or perhaps you need one that you can take on the go. We’ve rounded up seven activity centers, all offering something a little different, to help you choose. 1. Oribel PortaPlay Convertible Activity Center. If you’re looking for an activity center that grows with your child, look no further. The PortaPlay Convertible Activity Center from Oribel, which is the first of its kind, is a convertible activity table that, once your baby graduates from his bouncer days, transforms into a play table that's suitable for kids up to 5 years old. There are even matching stools and an art paper roll dispenser that clips on the table for endless hours of coloring in the future. In the meantime, the bouncy seat swivels for baby to play with all the fun animated characters. Plus, the table, which is modern in design and compact, folds flat for storage! $129, buy here and use the promo code SEASON15 to get 15% off of any orders that are $100 or more. 2. Skip Hop Explore & More Jumpscape Foldaway Jumper. The latest activity center to hit the market is the Skip Hop Explore & More Jumpscape Foldaway Jumper. So what sets this jumper apart from the rest? For starters, this jumper folds flat, which makes it perfect for small space living. But what makes this jumper truly unique is the light-up cloud that tracks baby’s jumps! It even applauds when your little one reaches 100 jumps, how cute is that? $130, buy here. 3. Evenflo ExerSaucer. The tried and true Evenflo ExerSaucer is such a classic and budget-friendly activity center. It comes equipped with a slew of colorful, stimulating toys, a 360-degree swivel chair and a three-position height adjustment. $49, buy here. 4. Fisher Price 3-in-1 Sit-to-Stand. The 3-in-1 Sit-to-Stand Activity Center is designed to be used from birth to 24 months. Talk about getting your money’s worth! From a tummy-time mat to an activity table for toddlers and bouncy seat for in between, this center has something for every stage of your child’s development. $79.99, on sale here! 5. Three Pears Bobbin Triple Play Centre. If a wooden activity center is more your style, this high-end one is sure to satisfy. The Bobbin Triple Play Centre is tres chic and eco-friendly. It converts from a baby play center to a toddler activity table and even comes with a chalk board insert, so unique! $492, buy here. 6. Summer Infant Pop N' Jump Portable Activity Center. For those times when you want to both entertain and contain your baby on the go, there’s the Summer Infant Pop N’ Jump Activity Center. Portable and lightweight, you can bring this activity center on playdates, holidays and even the backyard for some outdoor play. It even comes with a UV canopy to protect your little one from harmful rays. $49, buy here. 7. Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center. This gorgeous wooden tree activity center from Manhattan Toy will provide your kiddo with countless hours of entertainment. Beads, gliders and gears oh my, this center is sure to peak your child’s interest and curiosity $72.85, buy here.

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10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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