While you don’t need a playard - an activity mat can entertain a pre-crawler and a childproof area enclosed by baby gates can rein in a toddler - playards do offer a bevy of benefits. Depending on what model you choose, playards can double as a diaper changing station (especially great if your home has multiple stories!), a bassinet, a portable crib and a worry-free play spot. Of course, bouncers and swings are great worry-free play spots as well, but playards offer a bit more freedom of motion. Playards are definitely great for day trips to grandma’s house, where uncovered electrical outlets and delicate knick knacks could be within your toddler’s reach, and for overnight vacations, since your little one can use it as both a playspace and a portable crib.
If you plan to have your little one sleep in your room or your baby has a smaller room you might want to try a pack 'n play that has a smaller footprint. This one acts as a bassinet when your baby is in the newborn stage but can convert to a mini crib when they get older. This model only holds up to 30 pounds but for some that can be well past the age of two. What's also great about this is it looks more like a permanent crib instead of something portable so if you plan to use this all the time it has more of a design aesthetic.
We have our 9 month old grandbaby visiting, and needed a secure place for him to play. This play area gives him room to play without him feeling confined, and I love the handles on top of each section, as he is pulling up and doing his best to walk while hanging on. We also purchased interlocking floor pieces to go in the floor, making this a clean,fun, safe,and colorful place for baby to play. Love it!