Even those who embraced the playpen, however, did so somewhat reluctantly (“a necessary evil,” ran one headline), and when I reached for the parenting bookshelf, it seemed the anti-playpen voices began to dominate. In Your Baby and Child by Penelope Leach, I was told that “babies who spend hours confined in cribs or playpens, with few toys and minimal adult attention, are very slow in learning to reach out and get hold of things and that means they are also slow in discovering what can be done with things.” In a book called Smart-Wiring Your Baby’s Brain, we are advised to “minimize the time she is confined to a crib or a playpen during waking hours.” Mavis Klein, in The Psychodynamic Counseling Primer, writes that “it has actually been shown that children of about seven or eight years of age who were, as infants, regularly confined in playpens, are less competent at reading and writing than those who were not so imprisoned”; while John Rosemond’s New Parent Power! warns that “there is evidence suggesting that children who spend lots of time confined in cribs or playpens suffered delayed speed and are less coordinated.”
The Summer Infant Pop n’ Play Portable Playard is a playpen designed for indoor/outdoor use. It weighs in at just 12.2 pounds, so this ultra-light playpen can be folded up and moved around with ease. There’s an optional full-coverage canopy that you can purchase for an additional $37—it works great for blocking sunlight so baby can enjoy the outdoors safely and comfortably. The floor is made from weather-resistant canvas, making it a no-brainer for outdoor use. However, some parents don’t like that the bottom of the playpen is so flimsy. It is definitely not intended for napping. This playpen folds up compactly and has a travel bag with a strap for ease of transport. Some consumers do not like the metal bars of the playpen; they make it easier for baby to pull up and climb out, and they can also cause babies to knock their heads. Overall, the general consensus seems to be that this playpen is not super durable, so it is not recommended for extended use. But for the price, this is a great option for parents who like to spend a lot of time outdoors with their kiddos.
The pieces were super easy to assemble. Just slide the rods on one piece into the holes on the next piece to connect them. I was a little disappointed that the rods/holes were not hexagonal like the instructions state. That would have locked them into position either straight or at an angle. Instead, the rods/holes are round, so the panels move around (accordion style) and won't stay in a straight line. There are suction cups on the bottom of the panels that might help if you're using it on a hard floor or smooth mat, but they're useless on carpet or textured mat.