playpen, ball pit or something else?

S is almost 8 months, and I want something he can play in, in the kitchen while I'm doing jobs. I can only sit him in his highchair with his toy for so long before he gets bored or expects food!

I've seen a playpen with a soft base that looks good and also converts to a fire guard or room divider, and was thinking I could put balls in it and / or toys and he should be pretty happy for a while. I know there are also pop up ball pits though, which I can pack away easily so better space wise, but will be hard on our kitchen floor, so I would need to pad it which seems a faff. I also thought a PP might be better longer term, when he can pull himself up and is generally more mobile, as the ball pits aren't high or very sturdy looking.

Do you have anything like the above that works / doesn't work well for your LO? Or is there a further option I haven't thought of?



  • Glad you've asked as we need something too and unsure what to get!

  • For your purpose I'd go with a playpen...especially as,the one you describe has dual purpose for once he's pulling up/walking as you can then use to section off bits you don't watching getting to. We've never used one with O but I wouldn't have hesitated if we'd needed to.

  • We use the travel cot and he loves it in there lol

  • We couldn't have managed without our playpen! We put toys in there and it meant that he could play safely whilst I did things such as cook dinner, pop to the loo, etc. It sounds like a PP might be better suited for your needs.

  • We've just been given a playpen by a friend (its one of those hexagonal ones, which can also open out to be a room divider).  We've found it really useful to keep her safe (she's been crawling since she was 6 months old) as she is always into everything if you don't watch her like a hawk!!!  It is really sturdy too, so she can't pull it over when she stands up and pulls on it!

  • Great, thanks everyone. Sounds like PP is the right move, glad yours was of good use Weather Girl.

    Alocin, I think the one I'm looking at sounds very similar - it looks pretty big and convert to a room divider. And wow at E crawling by 6 months, exciting but exhausting?!

    TP - I wondered about the TC but don't really want it stinking of garlic! It would save buying something else though, although as this one is multi use I'm thinking I can justify it!

    Smarties - This one is on offer in Kiddicare atm, I reckon we will get a fair bit of use out of it as I think will need dividers and guards etc. for a while?!

  • We used a travel cot wih see brought sides as playlen and as with most things he's gets bored quickly. Major successes here are the Jumparoo in the adjoining room but I can see him from kitchen. and walker which we leave in kitchen

  • We use a travel cot with mesh sides, works brilliantly! We can put some toys in and she's happy in there even now at 16 months!

  • We've a play pen and ball pit. The ball pit doesn't contain her and the balls get thrown everywhere. She likes the playpen, but we've ended up using it as more of a toy box, so she enjoys going in and emptying it. I intended to use it as a room divider and bought the extra kits, but it's so difficult to take apart it wasn't used as we'd expected. It's also very heavy, so really they're not very portable and take up a lot of space. You'd prob get more use out of a travel cot and they're cheaper. I can also highly recommend a jumperoo. X

  • We've just baby proofed the lounge/kitchen/everywhere. E will not be confined without a fight and so we've stopped fighting and let her lose.  I'd love a playpen, so I could hide in it away from E while I drink just one hot cuppa. That said it totally depends on your LOs nature,  if you left in the cot what would he do? That is what tells me it's not for E. We did use one over early summer, but as soon as she could crawl at 19 weeks ish it was game over and now since she walked she'd have just climbed out.. she can climb her cot on lowest setting.. that said I know many people find them awesome!

  • Thanks all. Maybe I will try the travel cot then, we already have it so I might as well before forking out! I guess if we just use the padded base, not the separate mattress, it doesn't really matter if it ends up smelling of food a bit!

    We have a jumperoo in the living room, but he doesn't like it atm when I leave the room for more than 25 seconds!!

    LWO - That's really useful to know about your experiences with both. I think we will definitely leave the ball pit then, and maybe the divider isn't for us either as thinking about it, I'd use it, if anywhere, in the dining area of the kitchen, to keep him away from cooking, but wouldn't be keen on drilling into the cupboard which is on one side, so I shouldn't really let that sway me to buy that particular one!

    LM - He's more than happy playing in his cot, so long as he can see me!

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