I just became a parent six months ago and there are few things that seem different from my childhood when it comes to child products. One thing I noticed is playpens and their lack of size. When I was little my play yard seemed big, and according to my mom and dad — it was! Much bigger than the ones currently sold in major stores. So the past few weeks I’ve been on the hunt for a big, massive, over-sized play pen for kids. When not THAT big. Just something bigger than his crib.
I wanted something in the 5′x5′ range, but didn’t find anything. Our kid extremely mobile for his age. He’ll get from one side of the room to the other in under 10 seconds doing the infamous army crawl. So yep… we need something big for him. But I’m not a fan of the fence enclosures. He’s already so strong and destructive, I feel little Mikey will eventually break through and the whole thing would become pointless. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll need to invest in some fences to block out the kitchen and bathroom areas.
For those who are saying…
“But Mike — why do you want to lock up your child? How dare you???”
Don’t think I want to keep my kid in the pen for hours on end. No, I just need something to put him in when it’s time to make dinner, do some laundry, or vacuum the house. 10-20 minutes at the most!
The biggest and most portable play pens I can find
After reading tons of reviews on baby playpens I narrowed it down to two choices. It was between a big square one – the Graco TotBloc Pack N’ Play and the Joovy Room2. Both are portable and both have a good size. I also wanted something square instead of rectangular so the little guy wouldn’t feel like he’s in his crib, which he absolutely hates being in unless he’s in a deep sleep.
Which did I choose?
Like I said earlier… I read a ton of reviews. The great thing about shopping at Amazon.com is the customers love to tell everyone how much they either love or hate the products they purchased. Both playpens had a ton of reviews (like here), and both did well. With the price difference being only $35, I had to look at other factors. Some complained about the Joovy Room being too stationary and heavy, and a funny smell that couldn’t be eliminated. Some Graco TotBloc owners complained that the construction of the playpen was too weak and not sturdy enough. I’ll repeat the following statement many times on this blog — there is no perfect product. Eventually you have to weight the pros and cons and make a decision.
So far I’m extremely happy with the Graco TotBloc Pack N’ Play. Stay tuned for a full review coming up next week!
Have you found something better? Let us know in the comments below or tell us at our Facebook page!