5 Best Play Gyms For Your Baby’s Development
The first 18 months of your child’s life is spent absorbing the world around them and accomplishing milestone after milestone. Play gyms are a fantastic way to help your little one make the most of that imperative learning period.
From birth, babies come out ready to explore, learn and grow.
For years, play gyms have become increasingly popular due to their overwhelming advantages when it comes to aiding the development of your child.
By actively playing, babies learn how to engage and interact in the world around them. The simple acts of moving, making and doing encourage creativity and imagination while developing your child’s dexterity, physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Baby gyms can dramatically assist with healthy brain development.
To help you fully understand the benefits and find the right non-toxic play gyms for your tot, we’ll go over their following:
- The benefits of play gyms for your baby’s development
- The best play gyms for babies (The non-toxic edit!)
Scroll down to learn more!
The benefits of play gyms for your baby’s development
When babies are born they are near-sighted, which means objects far away are blurry. It takes around 6 to 8 months for their sight to become clear and for them to differentiate colors and perceive depth. In the early months, objects placed 8-12 inches from their face are easiest for babies to scrutinize. Because of this, baby gyms are strategically designed to accommodate for a newborn’s developing visual perceptual skills.
Most play gyms come with a play-mat, which is a safe place for tummy time. From day one, babies can begin practicing tummy time, which helps strengthen their necks, backs and abdominal muscles and eventually aids with their ability to crawl, roll over and sit up. Because babies spend so much time sleeping on their backs to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,) tummy time can also help prevent a flat spot that sometimes forms on their heads. Doctors recommend doing tummy time for 1-2 minutes a day. As your baby grows stronger, you can eventually build up to 30 minutes a day. One of the many added benefits of babies being on their tummies is the strengthening of their muscles in the arches of the hands as they bear weight on them when pushing up.
Play gyms are great for promoting hand-eye coordination and honing your little one’s depth perception. Most play gyms are safe to use from birth, however, they don’t get fully used until up to 18 months of age. As your baby’s sight develops, the toys, colors, textures and shapes will become clearer and the way they play and touch toys will evolve. You may find that putting extra toys on the ground in front of them can encourage your baby to reach, which leads to crawling.
Cause and Effect
Around 4 months of age, babies begin to develop depth perception. This often coincides with your baby starting to intentionally push, pull, or drop things to see what happens (i.e. cause and effect.) By allowing your little one to spend time in a baby gym, they can safely experiment with the toys, mirrors, textures and sounds around them.
As previously mentioned, when you give your baby interesting things to look at, their hand-eye coordination develops much faster, which aids in their ability to reach the milestone of grasping. Because play gyms are designed to be easy for little hands to discover, they propel your child into a world of tactile stimulation and help them do things like follow a moving object, recognizing themselves in a mirror, and differentiating between bumpy or smooth objects.
Remember to always stay close to and supervise your baby during tummy time. As they get stronger and start moving more, clear away any potentially dangerous objects.
The best non-toxic play gyms for babies
All Tot Tested and approved, these are the best non-toxic play gyms for babies.
The Lovevery Play Gym is a tried and trusted baby shower gift for a number of reasons. Unlike many mainstream play gyms, it comes with month-by-month developmental activities for you to do with your baby to help them reach specific milestones. Made of FSC certified wood and non-toxic water-based finishes, it has five developmental zones as well as numerous removable accessories like an organic cotton, high contrast Montessori ball and ergonomically designed wooden batting ring.
The best part: it transitions into a toddler tent!
Designed with little learners in mind, the Lily & River Little Mobile is a perfect space for babies to lie on their backs while learning to reach, bat, grasp and kick! Made from natural, premium bamboo with birch hardwood rungs and stainless steel hardware, it includes soft silicone beads connected to organic, unfinished wooden items. The best part: it folds flat for easy travel and storage!
Designed with an easy-to-fold frame, balls, and rings handmade from solid, non-treated, FSC-certified wood, Aspen & Maple Activity Gyms are simple and sweet. With numerous themes to choose from, babies will love exploring the soft crocheted toys while honing their hand-eye coordination. The best part: the removable toys can later be used to help your tot navigate the world of open-ended play.
Available in more themes
From around five months, you may want to introduce play gyms that allow babies to sit up and eventually climb! (More on the climbing options soon!)
The Wonder & Wise Baby Den is a soft and stimulating place for your baby to explore. Designed with high contrast black and white images, it’s a fantastic activity to strengthen eyesight, expand vocabularies and motor skills. The best part: the baby den has crinkles and squeakers for an added sensory experience.
Suitable for use from 6 months, the Lily & River Birch Wood Climber is designed to help your baby discover and hone their natural instinct to climb! Made from FSC-certified Birch hardwood and non-toxic finishes, you have the option of adding accessories like a ladder or rock wall to keep the developmental fun going into your tot’s toddler years! The best part: It’s fun for both independent and social play!
Ranging from $350 to $533.95
Available in more colors
- Find out more about the importance of tummy time and how to make sure your baby gets the most out of it.
- Sensory play is a major key to babies reaching developmental milestones, however many mainstream options are made with harmful materials like BPA and phthalates. In this article, we look at the importance of sensory toys and share our favorite non-toxic product picks.