Imagine if you could only lie on your back and had only the ceiling and ceiling fan to stare at? Things would get quite boring. This is what we want to change for babies who can’t turn over yet. We would like them to have beautiful things to look at, things that move gently, things are make soft pleasing sounds and things that shine when natural light hits them – in other words, baby mobiles. But where and how would you hang these mobiles in a safe manner? That’s where the baby gym comes in. Yes, we know what you are thinking – little babies exercising at the gym. Though that image is rather amusing, this isn’t that at all
Play gyms are designed to facilitate a very young baby’s play in a safe manner. They are kept at the floor level and can be used to hang baby mobiles and other fun elements that a baby who is supine (on their back) can interact with.
Why does my baby need a play gym?
- Baby gyms are perfect for hanging visual mobiles. Visual mobiles and other elements encourage your baby to track and observe them. Providing just the right amount of visual stimulation helps the development of the visual sense.
- Observing the movement of the mobiles also helps your baby develop focus and concentration
- Tactile mobiles encourage your baby to reach out and touch them, helping your baby improve their tactile sense
- When babies reach out and try many times before they are actually able to bat the mobile, it helps them understand their own bodies and the ways it can move.
- Batting a mobile is not an easy job – babies mentally calculate the distance between their hands and the mobile and the exact angle and force with which they need to bat the mobile element in order for it to move – this involves a lot of cognitive processing and support brain development.
- Interesting elements on the mobile encourage your baby to move their hands and legs as well as make sounds and interact with these elements.
- Understanding that it is the movement of their hand or leg that has caused the mobile element to move, is your baby’s first lesson in cause and effect.
- Mobiles encourage your baby to spend time on their own and is the beginning of independent play.
What are the different things I can hang from it?
- Visual mobiles – start with mobiles that have black and white elements, then move on to those with primary colours before introducing those with many colours.
- Tactile mobiles – a simple wooden ring teether or light rattles can also be hung from the mobile – just ensure that it is secured well as your baby is quite likely to pull hard at it.
- Elements from nature – leaves, flowers and feathers found in nature can also be hung from the play gym – this is a great way to bring the outdoor in.
- Small plush or soft toys can be hung from the baby mobile.
- Small windchimes or dream catchers can also be hung from the baby mobile.
- Simple and colourful scarves can be hung from the baby mobile.
- Small bells and anything that makes a gentle sound can be hung from the baby mobile
- Real photographs and realistic pieces of art can also be hung from the baby mobile
Pro tip - Just remember to lie down under the baby gym and look at how the element would look for your baby before you introduce it to them. Try pulling it and batting it to ensure that it is the right length and that it is secure enough before you introduce your baby to it. Get creative and have fun!