Young children are very easily entertained, but equally as quickly distracted. If you want to keep them safe and having fun - a playpen is a great solution.
A good playpen will provide you with precious minutes to get things all while keeping baby occupied. Whether you need to clean up a mess or just want to encourage some independent play time, playpens often serve as a multi functional must have.
Some things to consider before your purchase are size and portability, if you find a good one you'll want to make sure it fits your space and can be easily transported on holiday with you, to a friend's or family members home or just around your own.
Below, we've rounded up some of the best baby playpens for every home and also some things you may need to consider before making that investment.
Are playpens a good idea?
The main purpose of a playpen is to allow your baby or toddler to play and rest in a space that is safe and secure. Giving parents the time to get on with other things in and around the home, and the reassurance that their little one is safe and content.
Some experts feel that playpens can be restrictive, however, the design of your house, or your circumstances at home, means that they are a healthy and practical solution for many, who occasionally need somewhere safe to place their baby for a short period of time. In these situations, a playpen can be really useful.
Today's playpens are made to be safe, ensuring nothing but fun and comfort for your child, and peace of mind for parents. With so many available options on the market, there's no reason why you wouldn't be able to find the best playpen to suit your needs.
What age is a playpen suitable for?
A playpen is suitable for babies once they begin to crawl. It's always a good idea to think about where in your home you will use the playpen, as size and storage will be a factor. You will also need to consider which features you want it to include before parting with your money.
There's a wide variety of playpens from travel cot playpens to plastic panelled playpens, gated, wood, metal, multipurpose and activity playpens - most features depend on what age your child is at.
Toddlers will want to be entertained so an activity playpen is ideal. Babies learning to stand will want to be able to hold on to the sides, so fabric playpens may not be the most suitable option.
What age do you stop using playpens?
Most parents will stop using a playpen once their toddler is 15kgs (30lbs), or a height of 86cms and can climb out of it on their own. Generally once it becomes unsafe for him or her.
Types of playpens
What is the best baby playpen to buy?
1. Bright Starts Play Gym
Best interactive playpen
The first on our list is a fantastic option for keeping your baby out of harms way at play times.
Bring the joy of a ball pit right to your living room with the 5-in-1 Your Way Ball Play Activity Gym & Ball Pit from Bright Starts.
With five ways to play, this activity mat is super flexible for whatever your baby’s age or stage needs.
You can even adjust the plush walls down or up to fill the play gym with 40 colourful balls, making the joy last through the toddler years.
Mum and dad can get in on the action (and get lots of co-play bonding time) by dropping the balls through the mesh canopy hole.
As baby grows up, they can practice motor skills by dropping the balls themselves.
For younger babies, the jumbo playmat lays flat for tummy time (psst, we even added in a tummy time prop pillow).
The cheerful elephant toy plays music and lights up to catch and keep baby’s attention.
You’ll love the totally tropical fashion complete with toucans, palm trees and more.
Playtime is all around with six additional toys: bead chaser, safari-themed crinkle toy, baby-safe mirror, flash cards, hanging leaf toy and bead rattle. So cute!
Suitable from: Birth.Dimensions: H113 x W52 x D76cm.Cleaning: Machine washable.Key Features: Ball pit play gym that includes 40 balls. A musical elephant toy that plays music for 20mins and detaches when on the go. Includes 7 toys.
2. Joie Playpen
Best newborn baby playpen
This playpen is suitable to use from birth and comes with a removable mattress for nap times. Simply change the mattress to the included play mat when it's time for play.
The neat design and practical functions of this pen make it ideal for most homes. If space is scarce in your home this is a great option, two essential items rolled into one.
Suitable from: Birth to 15kg.Dimensions: H: 76cm x W: 96cm x L: 96cm.Cleaning: Wipe Clean.Key Features: Removable mattress. Two built-in toys that attach to side wall.
Buy now from Mamas & Papas ( £74.99 )
3. Summer Playpen
Best portable playpen
If you're looking for a playpen to take with you on your travels - this could be the answer.
This design folds neatly into its own little bag, making the ultimate travel companion.
Mesh sides in the design are great for easy visibility and visibility - there's also a weather resistant canvas floor, so you can use indoors and outdoors.
Suitable for: Toddler.Dimensions : H130cm x W66cm x L122cm.Item Weight: 5kgCleaning: Wipe Clean.Key Features: Compact fold and travel bag with strap. Lightweight
Buy now from eBay (£107.99)
4. MJmark Playpen
Best wooden playpen
This is a great option if you have a little one who've just started to crawl or walk - you'll know better than us that one minute they're there and the next.. well you know.
The stylish MJmark wooden playpen is made from solid hard wood, and is essential for every home with small children. The cosy playpen includes a comfortable cushioned playmat for little ones to sit, sleep and play on.
The gate means that you can get on with household chores knowing that baby is comfortable and safe.
Suitable for: Baby.Dimensions: H70cmCleaning: Wipe Clean.Key Features: Gated. Includes playmat
Buy now fromAmazon(£124.99)
5. Costway Foldable Playpen
Best baby playpen with bassinet
This versatile Costway travel playpen also transforms into a bassinet which is ideal for travelling with a young baby.
It comes with a detachable mat for changing nappies, a hood to keep the sun out and also has an attached mobile with a separate music box to help your child sleep.
It also includes a detachable and adjustable net that will keep bugs well away from your baby, and comes with two wheels for easy mobility and breaks for extra safety.
The mesh sides encourage good air ventilation and offer parents a clear view of their child.
Suitable for : Baby to 3 years.Dimensions : L100 x W70 x H75 cm.Item Weight: 15Kgs.Cleaning: Wipe Clean.Key Features: Travel cot to playpen. Includes - mattress, mosquito net, music player and a carrying bag.
Buy now from Costway (£101.95)
6. Crenex 14 Panel Baby Playpen
Best 3-in-1 outdoor playpen
This smooth plastic BPA-free playpen has a fun design and is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
Easily fold and store this playpen when it isn't in use and when you do want to use it - the 14 piece structure is sturdy, easily built, what's more the panels can also be used to divide the rooms in your home.
Suitable for : Baby.Dimensions : 76x26x65 cm.Item Weight: 10.2kgs.Cleaning: Wipe Clean.Key Features: Can be made into multiple shapes. Non-skid base. Coloured shapes built-in to help build motor skills and cognitive development. Easy-to-operate baby lock
Buy now fromeBay(£59.99)
7. Babymoov Tent
Best budget playpen
Another great option for anyone off in the sun with a little one.
This pop up tent has an all important UV ray protective technology, making your baby completely safe outside.
The mesh design means you are easily able to see your child, but we'd recommend this playpen for children who are a little bit older and able to go longer lengths of time unaided.
Suitable for : Baby.Dimensions : L98 x W90 x H85 cms.Item Weight: 0.2kgs.Cleaning: Wipe Clean.Key Features: Anti-UV protection 50+ - Protects against up to 99% of harmful UVA and UVB, large space for plenty of movement.
Buy now from Amazon (£34.95)
8. Koo-di Playpen
Best foldable playpen
This stylish and practical option from Koo-di is a great contender for keeping your baby safe and entertained.
It has an integrated zip door for easy access to your baby or for them to get out. A water resistant, padded base helps keep baby dry as well as providing extra comfort on hard floors for example.
The lightweight metal frame comes fully assembles and unfolds in seconds, which is just what you need, especially if you're taking it out and about with you.
Suitable for : Baby up to 15kg.Dimensions : L139 x W70 x H75cms.Item Weight: 6.17kgs.Cleaning: Wipe Clean.Key Features: Pops open and folds down in seconds. Water resistant. Padded base. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
Buy now fromAmazon(£85.00)
9. Costway Playpen
Best large playpen
This foldable design from Costway follows a neutral colour scheme, making it perfect for every home no matter what the interior setting.
By increasing or decreasing the number of panels, (total 14) you can combine them into squares, rectangles, hexagons or octagons to create different sized spaces for your little one to enjoy play time in.
If you have a luxury of space at home, you can even use the pen to divide the room - giving your child more space to play.
Suitable for : Toddler.Dimensions : L77.5 x W69 x H30.5cms.Item Weight: 12kgs.Cleaning: Wipe Clean.Key Features: Security lock and anti-skid design. Foldable. Easily portable. Adjustable shape. Puzzle game panel to entertain.
Buy now from Amazon (£85.95)
10. Lolita Baby Playpen
Best plastic playpen
Are you still too busy taking care of your baby to have time for housework and rest? This baby playpen can free your hands and give your children space to explore independently.
The baby playpen is made of non-toxic, BPA-free HDPE material to ensure the baby’s safety.
The design of a hinged door with a safety lock and non-slip silicone base increases the overall stability.
By adjusting the tightness of the hinges, you can adjust the fence to a suitable shape to adapt to different sized rooms and provide children with ample play space.
The game panel can not only stimulate children's imagination but also exercise their cognitive ability and motor skills.
Suitable for : Toddler.Dimensions : 67cm H x 160cm W x 200cm D.Item Weight: 15kg.Cleaning: Wipe Clean.Key Features: Security lock and anti-skid design. Foldable. Easily portable. Adjustable shape. Cute duck on the door makes sounds for added fun.
Buy now fromWayfair(£118.95)
Now if you're looking for the perfect gift for an expecting mother, why not treat her to a restful night's sleep - all thanks to a body pillow. Whether her bump is still growing or needs the extra support when it comes to feeding - we've found the best body pillows. They are also great when it comes to needing extra joint support at night.
If you've been on the hunt for a brand new mattress for your child, look no further than our round-up here. You'll find the best mattresses for kids - including foam and pocket sprung options too.