There are many developmental benefits of using a Playgro Play gym, we outline some of the reasons why. Playgro has a wide range of Play gyms to choose from so that you can find the perfect one for your little one. Read more to find why out the benefits of using a Play gym.
Benefits of using a Play gym for babies
At first glance, Playgro Play gym’s are bright with many toys and attachments to keep your child entertained for hours. There are different combinations with lights, mirrors, dangly toys and a variety of textures. Playgro Play gyms are not just great for playtime, but have many developmental benefits.
What Is A Baby Play Gym
A play gym is a soft mat on which a baby can lie down, play gyms usually have an arch that has various attachments, like lights, toys, balls, various colourful objects, rattlers, teethers and others. Also, on most models there are engaging activities on the mat itself, like mirrors. Most also come with sounds, like music and animal sounds, some of which are activated by the baby. Playgro have a range of themes and options. Some, like the Safari 3-in-1, have a removable arch that can be used in the infants cots.
Why are Play gyms beneficial for your child?
Cognitive benefits of using a Play gym:
Infants learn through play, they often accidentally do something and then realise the reaction that they had (primary circular reactions). Through this play they begin to repeat the action and begin to intentionally repeat these actions because they are fun (secondary circular reactions). This teaches your infant cause and effect. When choosing a Play gym consider what the toys do, and if there is a reward attached for an action – for example playing a song when the toy is pushed. Many gyms are designed to stimulate baby’s imagination and aid mental development as they become more curious about the world. An infants attention span is quite short, by offering many different stimulus you will keep baby entertained for longer periods of time.
Visual Perception benefits:
Playgro’s Play gyms feature bright contrasting colours that help baby develop depth perception. They are encouraged to reach out and try grab the toys as their visual perception improves. The sense of sight is stimulated through the wide array of colours. Play gyms are suitable from birth, although your new baby will only be able to focus on what is closest to them. As their sight develops the colours will become clearer. At around 6 months baby will see the toys as clearly as you do.
While engaging with Playgro Play gyms infants encounter many different textures, sounds and colours. Infants will enjoy playing with the rough ribbons, smooth plastic and soft animals. Playgro also includes surfaces like mirrors to help infants to develop self-awareness when they see the reflection. Playgro incorporate music and crinkly fabric as well as rattles that make a noise when baby plays with them.
The dangly toys on Playgro’s gyms encourage grasping and reaching for the toys. Babies are born with natural reflexes – like when you press something into their palm, they will reflexively grasp (palmer grasp reflex). Reaching and grasping encourages baby to develop their muscles in their arms, legs, backs, tummies and necks. This also stimulates fine motor skills used for grasping and holding items later on. When babies are excited typically they kick their legs, this also supports muscle development. With continued use of Tummy Time and the use of play gyms, baby’s hand-eye coordination improves which will help them to sit, crawl and walk faster. Babies have a reflex called “ATNR” whereby whenever their head turns to the side the same arm extends to the same direction. This is beginning of hand-eye coordination, as the play gym encourages this reflex they will develop the skills required faster.
Baby will learn to bring their 2 hands together at the midline of the body in order to hold a toy (around 1 – 3 months). At 4 – 5 months they will learn to reach for an object with 2 hands at midline and reach across the midline of the body. Crossing the midline of the body is a vital skill and is said to help babies learn to crawl later on. Bilateral skills (2 handed coordination) and hand dominance is also developed.
Benefits of using a Play gym for parents
Playgro develops toys with the safety of infants in mind. All products are tested to ensure that your precious bundle is kept safe while playing. Play gyms are large enough to provide a safe space for baby to play on. The dangle toys are large enough to avoid being a chocking hazard and all stitching is reinforced to be durable and withstand play. Playgro toys are made for your infant to “Play” and “Grow”. Before your little one is crawling around you can safely seat them on the play gym. The mat is cushioned for comfort for all types of play. Of course, parents do need to be cautious and stay close by whilst their child plays. Never leave a child unattended for long periods of time. Never place a play gym on an elevated surface like a bed or table.
Travelling with an infant can be overwhelming and can require a separate trailer just to cart all their paraphernalia around. It can be so useful having a play gym that can entertain and soothe your child while you are visiting friends or relatives. This provides a safe and clean spot for your child, no matter where you go. Most gyms fold up making it easier to store or tote around wherever you go.
The best part about play gyms is the versatility that they offer. For a newborn, the play gym will be a comfortable nest to lie. As their sight improves the overhead toys can enhance his/her grasping skills. When he/she outgrows the play mat, all you need to do is remove the arches and use it as a normal play mat.
Other benefits of using a play gym:
- Easy to clean and can often be tossed in the wash
- They create a natural boundary on the floor so that they won’t be accidentally bumped
- You can customise your gym by rearranging the toys as they grow
- Most of the toys are removable so that baby can play on their own with them
- The toys can be used in other places such as the cot or car seat