During the first year of your baby’s life, you will spend a lot of time holding your little one close. But, there will come a time when your baby will need more than swaddling and rocking, and the time will come sooner than you think.
So, when your baby is ready to move past your arms and on to the next phase of their development, a baby play gym may be a beneficial investment.
As your baby grows, a baby play gym can boost many vital areas of their development, as well as provide stimulation and a fun way for them to begin exerting their independence. Here are six benefits of using a baby play gym for the littlest members of your family:
A Baby Play Gym Improves Hand and Eye Coordination and Motor Skills
During the first year of your baby’s life, they will develop many new skills, but you can help them by providing ways to encourage their development. A baby play gym is one way you can boost your baby’s development.
The play mats and play gyms made especially for infants feature objects and designs that your baby will reach for. Some of these have designs that are directly on the mat, so that your baby can enjoy the mat during “tummy time”, even before they are ready for interactive toys.
There are models that have small hanging objects that your baby can grasp. If you choose to use a play mat, you can provide baby with items to foster grasping, such as a favorite rattle, a soft and plush age-appropriate cuddly character, beanie or teethers. As your baby begins to reach, grasp, turn and kick, they will develop their hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
Stimulates Baby’s Senses
A great baby play mat and play gym uses contrasting colours to attract baby’s attention. Bold patterns stimulate visual development. Black and white designs tend to be a popular choice because they are contrasting shades, which are among the first patterns that babies will notice. Bright, vivid colors are also attractive to your baby.
Your baby will hone their auditory skills as they listen to the sounds that are made when they rattle, squeeze, pull, or kick the various toys, fabrics and attachments. A play gym provides sensory stimulation with assorted textures that feel unique and interesting to little fingers.
Provides an Interesting Diversion in their Daily Routine
During the first weeks at home, your baby was content to be swaddled and held. But soon, they will require more to keep them entertained and meet their needs. A baby gym is an exciting and fun diversion that allows your baby to improve areas of development during play time, which is an essential part of their daily schedules. It also gives parents the opportunity to interact with their little ones.
Take time to sit and point out the different types of characters that are featured and sounds that the play gym makes. Use this opportunity to reinforce language and communication between parent and child.
A play gym can be helpful to you, too. Don’t dismiss the power of a play gym when Mum and Dad need to take a break for a few minutes, make a bottle or take a quick phone call. It provides an entertaining diversion when you need something to keep your baby amused for a short period of time while you tend to a necessary task, but ensure you do not to leave baby unattended while they play.
Boosts Cognitive Development
In addition to developing a baby’s senses and motor skills, play gyms help intellectual development as well. They illustrate cause and effect and boost knowledge of patterns, colors, shapes, sounds, imagination and self-discovery. These are vital to your baby’s cognitive development.
When parents and caregivers use the gym to spark language and communication, this can benefit brain power, too. And, play gyms feed a natural, inborn curiosity that will be crucial to problem-solving and critical thinking throughout their life.
Encourages Freedom and Movement
It won’t be long before you begin to notice that your baby is becoming more active and sleeping less. As early as infants, we need the freedom to move and exert our independence.
A play gym gives you a safe place to let your baby kick, scoot, and roll around. It encourages activity that is the equivalent of exercise for infants. It also gives them the freedom to make choices and exert their energy apart from others. This is paramount to helping your baby grow confident and secure, without being attached to Mum and Dad.
Provides a Portable Activity Centre for Families On the Go
One of the great things about owning a play gym is how convenient they are. The soft play mat and attachments can be easily packed and set up almost anywhere you go.
Play gyms are compact, lightweight and portable, unlike some other popular infant playthings, such as bulky walkers, bouncers and swings. Yet, they are capable of providing just as much entertainment as these heavier, space-consuming items that can’t always go wherever you do.
Is Your Baby Ready for a Play Gym of Their Own?
You may be wondering if it’s time to buy a play gym for your baby. Since most play gyms have a soft play mat, you can begin letting your baby get comfortable with one as soon as they aren’t satisfied with only being held and swaddled. This usually occurs anywhere from six weeks to two months. Then, they are probably ready to begin spending a few minutes of playtime each day.
At first, aim for short periods of tummy time, lasting only a few minutes. As your baby grows and becomes more comfortable, you can increase the amount of time by a minute or two each session. Eventually, your baby will enjoy using their baby play gym in regular increments of about fifteen minutes, up to several times per day.
Get Started Creating Your Own Play Gym
Your baby’s development and happiness can be enhanced with high-quality safe baby products. A play gym is one of the items that can help you and your baby during the first year of life. It provides stimulation, learning opportunities and activities that your baby needs.