Baby Play Gym: Benefits And How To Get Started

Baby play gyms are one of the most important developmental toys you could get for your little one. A baby play gym is essentially a soft mat, with arches that allow toys to be dangled overhead. There are so many benefits to a baby play gym, and they can encourage your little one’s development.


baby play gym


Cognitive Benefits Of Baby Play Gyms


Baby play gyms will help your little one with their cognitive development. They can help your little one learn about cause and effect. Between the ages of six weeks and four months, babies learn to repeat actions, even if the initial action was accidental. From four months to eight months they intentionally repeat the action because they’ve learned that it’s fun. These actions can be things like kicking a toy or grabbing and pulling on something. Baby play gyms can help encourage your little one with their cognitive development.


Visual Perception Benefits Of Baby Play Gyms


Baby play gyms can help your little one with their visual perception as well. Babies are born with near-sighted vision, which means that they can only focus properly on things that are eight to twelve inches from their faces. A baby play gym has been set up to accommodate this, so the toys and objects are at a perfect visual distance for them.


Grasping And Reaching Benefits Of Baby Play Gyms


Babies are born with automatic grasping and reaching reflexes, which means that even from a very young age, they can grasp and reach for the toys on a baby play gym. It’s not intentional, but it does encourage them to learn about what they’re holding, understand cause and effect, and strengthen their gross motor skills. At five or six months, these movements become voluntary, rather than reflexive.


Gross Motor Benefits Of Baby Play Gyms


One of the most well-known benefits of baby play gyms is that they encourage the development of your little one’s gross motor skills. The gym can help your baby develop the muscles in their arms, legs, back, tummy and neck. Especially if you combine the baby play gym with tummy time.


Self-Awareness Benefits Of Baby Play Gyms


If your baby play gym has a non-breakable mirror, your little one can use it to develop their own sense of self awareness. Babies begin to notice themselves between three and five months. They start smiling at themselves between five and eight months, and can start making faces, laughing, and interacting with themselves between six and nine months.


Sensory Benefits Of Baby Play Gyms


Baby play gyms provide lots of sensory stimulation. They have a wide range of textures, sounds and colours for little ones to engage with. Some gyms allow you to change the toys which means that when they start teething, you can change some of the toys for teething rings, or toys.


As your baby grows, they will begin to look for the sensory stimulation in the baby play gym. This means that when something in the gym makes a noise, your little one will look towards the source of the noise.


Other Benefits Of Baby Play Gyms


There are many other benefits of a baby play gym. They’re easy to use, easy to clean and most are machine washable. Most are designed to be folded up too, making them easy to store, and portable to take with you if you’re travelling. Baby play gyms are also suitable for babies from birth to toddler age.


What To Look For In A Baby Play Gym


There are some basic features you should look for in a baby play gym.

  • Contrasting colours: look for black and white, or bright coloured gyms.
  • Customisability: look for a gym that you can change the toys on, or one with extra loops for adding more.
  • Detachable play mat: it’s highly likely that your little one will have some sort of accident on the mat, so you need to be able to remove it and put it in the washing machine.


Using A Baby Play Gym


You can use a baby play gym with your baby from newborn upwards. You should always supervise your little one as they’re using the gym, and always keep it on the floor. Watch your baby for signs of being overtired, or overstimulated.