A baby play gym is likely to be one of your infant’s first toys. Is the play gym really important?
First-time parents often wonder why there is so much fuss about play gyms. In the end, they are nothing more than pieces of rubber with cute giraffes and palms and whatnot, right? Well, the things are really a bit more complicated than that.
First of all, it is recommended that you use baby play gyms virtually from the day your baby is born. Baby gyms help the baby to get the idea of cause and effect which is a foundation of logic and thinking.
Quality baby gyms offer your baby toys with highly contrasting colors so that they can easily be seen. Newborns can only perceive objects that are some 8-12 inches from their eyes: thus toys that dangle from the arches are very easy to notice. When your baby reaches the age of four months she will be able to see high trees, stars and birds that form the higher level of toys.
Baby gyms stimulate children to grasp things voluntarily and promote hand eye coordination. They help to develop an ability to reach for something with two hands, and make it possible to play on the back as well as on sides and the tummy which is extremely important for gross motor development and learning how to crawl.
Actually, the more time your baby spends on her tummy, the stronger her neck, arms and back are going to be. So called ‘tummy time’ greatly helps the baby to gain and utilize such higher level gross motor skills as rolling, crawling and walking. It is also proven that tummy time strengthens hand muscles and promotes visual, feeding and even speech skills. What’s more, when your kid spends time on her tummy, the back of her head is not overloaded: this helps to prevent flat spots.
Some baby gyms also feature small mirrors made of unbreakable plastic. Around 6-9 moths of age babies often enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror, making faces, laughing and patting their mirror images. These games help to develop self-awareness and intellect.
Baby gyms provide sensory stimulation: they feature toys of various colors and textures and some gyms can even reproduce sounds. Teething toys that hang from the arches will provide oral stimulation when you child starts mouthing objects. Small children like rattles and actively look for them with their eyes: this promotes visual awareness skills.
And here are some other reasons why play gyms are definitely worth buying:
- Gyms are portable so that you can always take them with you on a trip.
- Gyms are usually very easy to clean.
- You can customize or upgrade you gym by adding new toys.
- You can hang the toys from the gym on the stroller or use them in your car to help your baby stay calm when you are going for a walk or taking a trip.
Last but not least, you should never forget that these are your face and voice that provide the best stimulation possible. So, you should never neglect your parental responsibilities (then again, you have probably heard this phase way too many times).