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Looking for a safe place for your baby to play both in and out of doors? How about a portable crib to take to grandma and grandpa’s house? What about both?
That’s where a playard can really come in handy to have around the house. They are highly versatile, giving your little one an enclosed place to play as well as a place to sleep when the crib isn’t accessible.
Some playards come with special attachments for newborn bassinets. Others are adjustable according to your child’s current development level.
But how do you go about choosing the right playard for you and your little one, especially since there are so many available on the market today?
We have put together this guide for you in order to help you find the right playard overall as well as break down the best ones for each stage of development through toddlerhood.
Best Playards for Babies
Here you will find a quick summary rounding up our top playard category choices for newborns, infants, and toddlers.
How to Choose the Right Playard for Your Baby
One of the best features of playards is the fact that they are portable. You can take them to a family sleepover, move them from room to room in your home, or take them outside for a playdate in the fresh air.
A playard that is easily collapsible and/or includes wheels is ideal for the best means of portability.
Playards are aptly named: an enclosed and safe area for your little one to play both in and out of doors.
However, it’s always nice to get more than one use out of a large piece of furniture like that. It’s ideal if the playard can be converted into a place for your little one to sleep or for you to change a diaper.
Everything that your baby interacts with should be safe, but it is most important to make sure anything they will be sleeping or lying down on is very safe.
There shouldn’t be any hazardous or irritating materials used, no suffocation risks, and the structure should be very sturdy.
In addition to safe materials, there should also be additional safety measures taken with the playard’s wheels and folding mechanisms.
Make sure any existing wheels have locking mechanisms and that the joints fully lock out so there is no risk of collapsing on your little one.
It is important to know when and for how long you will want to use your playard. Do some research and be aware of the age and weight limits for each model you are considering.
If you are moving the playard on a regular basis – whether it is just in your home or taking it on the go – it should be very easy to setup and take down.
Easy to Clean
Babies are notoriously messy. There will be episodes of spit up, diaper blowouts, and loads of drool that are sure to leave your playard a mess.
A waterproof coating on the mattress (if applicable) and machine washable materials will be your best bet for easy clean up.
Further Read:15 Best Play Mat & Play Gym for Baby we have put together for you.
Best Playard for Newborns
Our Top Pick:Ingenuity Smart and Simple Packable Playard
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The Ingenuity Smart and Simple Packable Playard checks on the boxes on our must-have list for a newborn playard.
You can always have your little one close within reach thanks to the bassinet attachment. There is also a changing table, which will save you space without the need for an extra piece of furniture.
The inner bed platform is also adjustable, so you can lower it as your child gets older and keep them within arm’s length during the newborn stage.
On the side, you have 3 storage pockets, perfect for diapers, wipes, and everything else you need to keep close by during diaper changes and bedtime routines.
This playard is highly portable, both within the house and on the go. It folds easily and fits into the travel bag that is included. You can also roll is around the house easily with the attached wheels.
- Includes attachable bassinet and changing table
- checkAdjustable bed height
- Side storage pockets
- Folds easily and has wheels
- Machine washable fabrics
- Changing table is low
- Adjustable bed surface bends easily
- Size is only good for newborn and early infancy stages
- Low price means lower quality
- A bit difficult to set up
[amazon box=”B019D3SVPK” /]
2. HALO 3-in-1 DreamNest Rocking Bassinet, Portable Crib, and Travel Cot
[amazon box=”B07K8XQ9D7″ /]
The HALO DreamNest is very expensive, considering it only comes with the playard. However, the quality of this product speaks for itself.
The sides are completely mesh, making them breathable and safe in case your little one rolls into the sides.
It is very easy to set up and it still includes an adjustable bed surface, making is suitable for the newborn stage and onward.
3. Babymoov Babyni Premium Baby Dome
[amazon box=”B01M7SLK3C” /]
The Babymoov Babyni isn’t much of a portable crib, but it is a nice, safe area for your newborn to play and practice some tummy time.
There is a canopy that fully extends to include a net dome, making it ideal for use outside to keep the bugs off your little one. There are also a couple of hanging toys to keep them entertained.
The best part is that the whole thing folds up nicely into a small, easy to carry size for use on the go.
4. Baby Trend Nursery Center
[amazon box=”B01F9FLEL4″ /]
If you’re looking for a great bargain for your newborn, the Baby Trend Nursery Center may be the right one for you.
It is portable yet can also be kept in a permanent location thanks to locking wheels.
Though there is no changing table, there is a diaper stacker on the side to keep what you need close by.
5. Chicco Lullaby Baby Playard
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The Chicco Lullaby playard is very similar to our top newborn choice, but with a few minor differences.
It is quite a bit more expensive, which may be a deal breaker for bargain hunters. It also only has wheels on one side.
However, it does still have an attachable bassinet as well as a changing table with side pocket storage to keep everything close and within reach.
Best Playard for Infants
Our Top Pick: BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light
[amazon fields=”B07KGQMCX6″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]
BABYBJORN is a name all parents know, and their reputation for high quality products is proven in this travel crib.
Its unique design saves space while still giving enough space for your child to spread out when they are sleeping.
No need to worry about sleeping arrangements when you are spending the night elsewhere. This playard folds up nicely and fits in a small, convenient travel bag.
Setup takes no time at all; you just need to unfold the frame and lay the mattress down. From there, you can ensure that your baby is comfortable thanks to the thick (yet firm) mattress included.
Because there are no wheels and this playard sits directly on the floor, you can rest assured knowing that the structure is very sturdy and won’t roll or collapse onto your little one.
- Folds very compact
- checkThick crib-type mattress
- Very stable
- Completely mesh on sides
- Washable fabrics
- No adjustable bed height
- Somewhat small for playing
- Difficult to pick up baby
- Drafty in cold weather
[amazon box=”B07KGQMCX6″ /]
2. Lotus Travel Crib
[amazon box=”B00AKKDSNG” /]
Very similar to the BABYBJORN, the Lotus travel crib has the same basic structure but with a couple of minor differences.
The front mesh netting unzips, making it a bit easy to get your baby in and out without having to reach over the sides.
The travel bag is also different, with the crib packing into a backpack rather than a regular bag.
3. Regalo My Play Portable Playard
[amazon box=”B072BPGW6F” /]
Going from the newborn stage into infancy means your little one will be a bit more mobile. So, they will need more space to play.
The Regalo My Play portable playard is a great space for them to play in an easily collapsible, airy frame.
It’s not ideal for sleeping, but for the price, you can still afford a separate travel crib if need be.
4. Delta Children Playard
[amazon box=”B00GJIXMZW” /]
This playard design by Delta Children is likely what you typically picture when you think of play pens or playards.
Even folded it can be a bit bulky, but they are very sturdy and not typically too expensive.
This one from Delta Children also has a very cute animal theme, which will be visually stimulating for your little one.
5. Dream on Me Travel Light Play Yard
[amazon box=”B074WD1Z6F” /]
Back to the first style we looked at in this category, the Dream on Me Travel Light playard has the same design as the BABYBJORN at over half the price.
The sides are completely breathable mesh so no worries about suffocation hazards. There are also no wheels to worry about locking or rolling away.
Best Playard for Toddlers
Our Top Pick: Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Portable Playard
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By the time your little reaches toddler stage, they will start to outgrow the typical playard or play pen design, spending more time playing and less time sleeping.
At this point, it is best to find a rather large playard that will mainly be used for playtime inside and outside. The Summer Infant Pop N’ Play playard is a great option.
It collapses easily and stows into the travel bag for easy use on the go. It gives your little one a large area to play and a nice sturdy structure to keep them safe, even as they tug and pull on the sides.
The mesh sides are breathable, giving you the ability to see your little one easily and allow a breeze to blow through.
There is also a canvas-type floor that is water resistant to keep your baby dry when you take them to play outside.
- Folds compactly into storage bag for travel
- Lightweight design
- Large play area
- Water resistant floor and breathable sides
- Very easy set up
- Can’t be used for sleeping
- Canopy sold separately
- Metal bars are exposed
- Bag wears out quickly
- Screws are known to fall out after heavy use
[amazon box=”B00KBGTRAC” /]
2. 4moms Breeze GO Portable Travel Playard
[amazon box=”B076DC7PSZ” /]
The 4moms Breeze GO portable playard is a great option for a travel crib for your toddler. It is easily collapsible and stows away in the travel bag for easy use on the go.
It doesn’t give a lot of space for toddlers to play, but if they are content to sit with some toys or lie down to color for a bit, it is still a good option.
3. North States Superyard Colorplay Ultimate Playard
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If you simply need an enclosed play space for your toddler, this Playard from North States is a great choice.
It definitely cannot be used for sleeping since there is no floor, but it is perfect for use in the house and outside.
The side collapse easily as well making it easy to stow away when not in use.
4. Foldable Playpen Kids Activity Centre
[amazon box=”B07HF3BXN2″ /]
Similar to the previous playard, this activity center features plastic walls only with no floor for sleeping.
It creates a nice big space for your toddler to play and is easy to collapse into a nice compact stack to shove in a closet when you are not using it.
5. GrowthPic Baby Playpen
[amazon box=”B07J38H1PK” /]
This GrowthPic playard uses the same concept as the Summer Infant one, but it takes it to the next level by including a ball pit feature.
It is also much easier to get your child in and out of this playard with the zippered door on the side.
While there are great playard choices for every stage of your baby’s development, our top overall pick would have to be the Chicco Lullaby Baby Playard.
It will take you through all three phases of your child’s development that we have covered, with a bassinet for newborn stage, adjustable bed height for infancy, and extra large space for toddler stage.
Overall, for the price you would pay, you would get plenty of use out of this playard for your baby.