When your baby turns about 5 months old, they start wanting to move into a stations kind of a schedule. They spend a little time eating, then playing, then reading, then sleeping. Babies move from one activity to another based on their mood and how bored they are. So the longer you can keep your baby entertained and occupied, the better. This is why a baby jumper like the Skip Hop Explore and More 3 in 1 Activity Table is just about the best investment you can make.
So what is so great about this product? Well, lots of things actually! But mostly it grabs your baby’s attention and keeps it for a long time. This toy will also grow with your baby and it will be a useful station in your home up to years.
Here are some of the features I love about it.
The Skip Hop Explore and More is primarily a jumper. Jumpers are just about my favorite baby product on the market, honestly. They become such a lifesaver during the period of life where your baby has a lot of energy for the small amounts of time that he or she is awake.
When your baby turns about 5 to 6 months, they start being more particular. They want attention and they need all their needs met. Your baby used to just lie there and now he wants to do anything but lay around. Babies are constantly on the move and exploring things. This is a great period of life for learning! But it comes at such an exhausting price sometimes. There are only so many times that you can take reading the same book over and over again.
The Jumper function of the Skip Hop Explore and More is amazing because it gets your baby moving and gets all the energy they have out. They are safe and yet they are still exploring, still learning. They are being stimulated in all the right ways.
There are a lot of different baby jumper designs on the market. There are a lot of different ways that you can have a jumper–the doorway jumper, the stand jumper (like the Jolly Jumper I reviewed here!) or the seated jumper. I like this particular design of a jumper because instead of raising the baby up and down, which can be difficult to do accurately without the baby in the actual seat, and it can be difficult to do physically with the baby in the seat, you can adjust the base where your baby’s feet will rest.
The legs of the unit have 5 notches that you can adjust the base to go up higher or down lower. This will allow your baby to use the jumper at the optimal height at each stage of their life until they grow out of it, or are skilled enough to walk independently.
The Skip Hop Explore and More spared no expense when they developed the toys that they put on their Jumper. There are a lot of great learning activities that are not the norm of what you usually see.
One of my favorite aspects of the Skip Hop Explore and More is the piano that they have and how they use it. You can connect the piano to the top of the table for the baby to interact with or you can put it down on the base for your baby to play it with their feet. That seems pretty cool right? Well it gets better because Skip Hop thought about your baby and added a little transparent window that you baby can watch their toes and the piano through.
This is incredibly important because it adds another layer of entertainment, but it also gets your baby more deft with their feet. It helps your baby understand cause and effect better as well, and shows your baby that they don’t need to necessarily see something right in front of their face to know that cause and effect still works.
The piano comes with three distinct settings:
- The first setting is one note for each key. Each key will make one sound and one sound only when the button is pressed.
- The second setting will play a song each time one button is played.
- The third setting causes sound from movement alone. This is important when your baby is still very early in fine motor skills. This is also helpful when your baby is using the piano down by their feet since it can be more difficult to press the buttons right away.
Clip On Toys
The Skip Hop Explore and More has 5 clip on toys, not including the piano toy. These all have a specific function in teaching your child different things.
There are these toys:
- A pop up cloud that squeaks
- A bead mover
- A cloud rattle
- Swaying stars (that look more like little trees)
- A bowl for snacking
All these toys teach your baby about how things move and helps them develop their fine and gross motor skills as they manipulate them. They will be able to learn how sound can be connected to movement and learn about cause and effect. They will learn about different textures and about different colors.
I love that the toys are clip on, so you can remove one if it is something that is annoying to you or frustrates you. You can even take all of them off if you want if your baby gets overstimulated easily.
In most Jumpers the middle chair will swivel so your baby can view all the different toys, and the Skip Hop Explore and More is no different. The chair in the middle clicks in easily and your baby will be able to move it around in circles at their leisure with very little difficulty.
This is a great option because there are some jumpers that seem a bit overwhelming and overstimulating. I love that with this particular jumper, you can spread the toys out exactly where you want them to go so that there isn’t one spot that is too overstimulating for your baby. You can even switch the toys out or only put a couple out at a time for your baby to look at. This option is a really great one and gives you a lot more freedom as a parent to control your baby’s experience.
This jumper really is a great option for the more minimalist households who like to keep things fairly simple.
The Skip Hop Explore and More 3 in 1 has the 3 in 1 in its title for a reason. The second part of the Explore and more is that you can convert it into a table without a swivel seat in the middle.
You can change the jumper into an activity table by removing all the clip on toys and removing the jumping base. You can then remove the swivel seat in the middle and place the jumping platform on top of the table. It will click securely into place and then you can put the clip on toys back on again.
At this point you will definitely want to bring the piano back up to the top where it can sit on the platform tabletop.
Why The Activity Table?
Once your baby can walk independently, he or she will not be excited about getting into a jumper anymore, but that doesn’t mean that the toys are any less interesting for your baby. They will still be very intrigued by the toys and will likely want to use the table as a support for them if they are still new to walking.
Your child can also use the flat surface of the desk to use cars or other rolling toys on it, or it can be a great area for them to play with action figures or dolls.
The 3rd part of the Skip Hop Explore and More 3 in1 is the desk. As your child grows, they will develop different hobbies and interests. Their skills will develop and they will value having a flat surface desk to color or do crafts.
You can use any standard child size chair for the activity table, but if you want chairs that match and that fit perfectly, Skip Hop makes some just for this table. You can find them here.
There is one model of the Skip Hop Explore and More Activity Table that comes with a normal desk. (that one you can find here!) This is the original model and the one that used to be the only one. Recently Skip Hop developed another, newer model.
Silver Lining Cloud
And there is another model that converts to a desk with a chalkboard, and that one you can find here. This one has a cloud theme. All of the toys are based on sunshine, rainbows and clouds. So the toys are different, but basically the only difference is that the toys are different and the table turns to a chalkboard. Essentially they have the same functions.
How Well Does It Bounce?
The Skip Hop Explore and More is not a typical bouncer, though the Skip Hop company does produce one that you can find here. This one is a 3 in 1 activity center where in one of the stages your baby can sit, stand, or bounce.
So does this product have the bouncing capabilities that a typical bouncer with springs has? Not really. It doesn’t bounce your baby like the other bouncers do, but you baby can use it just like it would a bouncer. Other jumpers will give your baby momentum so they can keep bouncing for long periods of time. This jumper provides a platform that your baby can pull themselves to standing and bounce up and down similarly to how they would do that standing in your lap.
Your baby will still use the same muscles and use the same movements that they would in a jumper and they will have the benefits of having a grow with you product that will be useful for years.
What Are The Benefits Of Grow With You?
I review a lot of different baby products and the ones that I am most excited about when I start to research them are the ones that serve multiple purposes. The 3 in 1 products, the grow with you products, however they are marketed, I am here for it!
So why am I obsessed with these things? Here are a few reasons:
Smaller Physical Footprint
I have talked about it before and I will likely talk about it again, I don’t love the clutter that comes with having kids. Love, love, love the kids. But it can be so hard to keep things organized when you have a million baby products. It can be hard to feel like your home is actually a home and not a daycare too.
The thing that I want to make sure I do is have a good amount of baby products that I LOVE and none that I don’t! I’m not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do buy into the philosophy of only owning and buying things that you love and that are good quality.
To keep my home happy, healthy, and not overstimulating, I want to buckle down on the things, and the best way to do this is by buying baby products that will serve multiple purposes at once or that will serve different purposes at different times in my baby’s development.
Smaller Environmental Footprint
You don’t have to be an environmentalist to believe that there is just way too much garbage in the landfills (and out of them, for that matter). I’m not on a soapbox right now, but I try my best to be more environmentally minded. I’m not perfect by any means, and I’m sure there are people who would argue against me that using plastic at all is evil, but I do what I can. I try to be conscious and buy products that will serve me well through many stages of my child’s life and are durable enough to last through more than one baby.
Less Expensive Overall
The Skip Hop Explore and More is not the most affordable jumper that I write about and it isn’t the least. However, it does serve several purposes and if you were to buy all of the products that it serves as, it would be much more expensive by far.
Most jumpers are useful from about 4 months to about 12 months. This jumper will be interesting and useful to your child through their toddler and preschool years. So it really is a cost effective choice, especially if you don’t already have an activity table or desk.
Fun For The Whole Family
Another thing that I love about the 3 in 1 products is that they are made to be interesting for several age ranges. So you might have a baby and an older sibling. They can be interested in the same toys and begin to play together. Playing together is a social skill that does have to be learned and it is great to have a product that encourages siblings to play together.
If you want a closer look as to how your baby could actually use this, watch the video below:
The Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association, or the JPMA, uses a strict guideline to certify baby products. According to the JPMA, “Baby products must meet minimum government requirements based on safety and use. The JPMA Certification Seal signifies a product meets these and additional requirements in today’s marketplace. To become certified, each product is sample-tested at an independent laboratory to verify it meets the highest standards for safety, performance and functionality.”
So why is that important? Because in 2017, the Skip Hop Explore and More Activity Center won the Innovative Award from the JPMA. This means that this product is extremely safe, and beyond that it is the most innovative product of its kind.
If that isn’t a seal of approval for a product that is really in line cost wise with most the other jumpers on the market, I don’t know what is.
All baby products that are sold in the United States have to pass the guidelines from the FDA, but if the product passes even more guidelines and wins an award, you know it is going to be safe for your baby, which is really the most important thing when you are buying a baby product anyway.
Overall, the Skip Hop Explore and More Activity Center is not your typical jumper, but it has so much more that it can offer your child as far as development and interest longevity. This jumper may not have as much bounce as the others do, but it will be something that your baby enjoys to jump in and that will help your baby develop physically and mentally.