Babies enjoy being entertained, and they frequently learn while playing. Play mats and play gyms not only keep kids engaged, but can also aid in their growth.
Baby play gyms are likely the most versatile baby product available. Moreover, not only can they be utilized in a variety of ways, but they also carry a number of significant developmental benefits.
What is a baby play mat?
A baby play mat is a mat that uses contrasting colors and textures (and sometimes forms) to encourage movement, play, and learning in infants. Some mats integrate sound as well. The purpose of a play mat is to encourage your infant to move on the floor, either on his or her stomach or by crawling.
Play mats are essentially foam or padded cloth surfaces on which infants can safely play. Activity mats come in a variety of designs. Some may be machine-washed, while others may be wiped clean. Numerous parents pair the baby mat with an activity gym. This is a wooden or plastic arch structure with hanging toys. You might also acquire a baby gym that combines dangling toys and a play mat.
Why Use a Baby Mat?
Activity gyms are typically categorized as toys, and you may not consider them a need for your infant. Nonetheless, nothing could be further from the truth than this. An activity play mat can be an important developmental tool for your baby and should be near the top of your list of newborn essentials.
Some play mats entice infants with stimulating sounds and music that help them concentrate. The majority of the time, your infant will move to locate the source of the sound; this is fantastic for developing neck muscles. Play mats are also fantastic for tummy time, which is beneficial for your infant.
A baby play mat encourages both learning and play. A play mat enables your infant to investigate their environment. There will be toys, textures, music, lights, and more to keep them occupied. It is a pleasant way to bond with your kid, and it increases motor skills and muscle growth. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a play mat that complements your child’s personality, given the abundance of options currently available.
What is a baby gym?
A baby gym is a freestanding arch (often made of plastic or wood) with toys suspended from it. Baby gyms are designed to enable infants to pull themselves off the ground.
Typically, baby gyms contain two arches with hanging toys, such as hard or soft toys, baby-safe mirrors, rings, and rattles. The arches permit the toys to drape above the infant, providing the infant with something to look at and grip. Some baby gyms have additional elements such as lighting and sounds. Others provide infants with a safe environment that is not overstimulating. Baby gyms will assist infants from the moment they are brought home. They will still be wonderful when infants are crawling.
It’s important to note that although newborns will be fascinated in the baby gym from an early age, they won’t begin gripping the toys on the baby gym until about three months old.
Benefits of Musical Baby Gyms and Play Mats
1. Provides an engaging play area
Play gyms are a stimulating and entertaining toy for infants. The baby is entertained for hours by a combination of the baby’s bright mat and a variety of brilliantly colored toys, such as teethers, rattles, and baby mirrors. They can soothe and quiet a fussy baby, as well as keep him/her occupied while you perform household duties. Some play gyms feature computer-generated music, nature noises, and/or bright lights that keep infants engaged for extended periods of time. Numerous play gyms feature removable toys so the infant can play with even while not on the play mat.
2. Stimulates the senses of sight and touch
Infants are near-sighted, therefore distant objects can appear hazy to them. When they are two to three months old, infants can adjust their sight or focus between objects that are 6 to 8 inches apart and 1 foot from their chest. Additionally, they are attracted to vibrant, contrasting hues. Bright, contrasting-colored toys in play gyms stimulate the child’s visual senses and aid in the development of visual awareness. Play mats have textured fabric and crinkly toys for sensory stimulation and tactile development, in addition to their vibrant hues.
3. Growth of the senses
Most gyms feature music and other sounds, such as the animal sounds of jungle gyms, which aid in the development of a baby’s hearing. Some gymnasiums have a piano so that infants can appreciate the music they create with their own fingers.
The various textures of the hanging objects engage young children’s tactile awareness, allowing them to learn through touch.
These types of toys really boost a baby’s sense of sight by exposing them to a wide variety of colors.
4. Enhances hand-eye coordination and fine motor abilities
Reflexes govern the grabbing and holding capabilities of a newborn. This is why they tend to grab your finger automatically when you press it against their palm. 5 to 6 month-old infants learn to hold objects independently. They are able to regulate their reflexes and learn how to grasp objects. When a youngster reaches out, grasps, and swings at toys suspended from the ceiling, their gripping skills and hand-eye coordination are enhanced.
5. Improves motor abilities
This is likely one of the most significant advantages of a play gym. It encourages the baby to use and develop his or her muscles. In addition, it provides valuable “tummy time,” which not only prevents flat spots but also strengthens his/her back, arm, and neck muscles. This is particularly important for infants who have recently learned to roll over. This “tummy time” also facilitates the growth of other gross motor skills, such as standing and walking.
6. Encourages self-discovery
In play gyms, the small baby-proof mirrors encourage self-discovery in infants aged three to five months. They begin to recognize themselves in the mirror at this age. Between the ages of five and eight months, infants respond to their reflections by smiling, laughing, and making faces. Baby gyms are extraordinarily beneficial for the development of these self-awareness skills.
7. Security and Mobility
Baby gyms offer a comfortable and secure space for your child to play. The padded cushion mattress provides a comfortable place for the infant to play while learning to roll over. Some models have tummy time pillows on which the infant can rest. Most play gyms are simple to clean and require minimal storage space. They are portable and easily transportable when traveling.
8. Grows with the child
The greatest benefit of play gyms is their adaptability. The overhanging toys might help a newborn develop gripping abilities. When he or she outgrows the play mat, simply remove the arches and use it as a standard toddler play mat.
A baby gym is one of the most adaptable and useful devices available for infants. They aid in baby’s development, keep them occupied for hours, provide parents with peace of mind, and last for generations.