Baby Play Gyms: Everything You Need to Know
What are baby play gyms?
Baby play gyms are wonderful structures to help your little ones grow and develop. Play gyms come in a variety of sizes and structures to grow alongside your children, depending on their age!
For newborns and young babies, baby play gyms come as sturdy structures that will arc over your baby and dangle fun toys overhead. These dangling toys are fun for the baby to look at, hold, and even push around and squeeze with their tiny hands!
For toddlers and growing children who have begun to walk and be more mobile, there are more advanced play gyms for them to practice climbing and crawling right from the comfort of your own home. As your kids develop and have more energy, in-home play gyms are a lifesaver for the days you can’t get your kids to the park to blow off steam!
When can your baby start using play gyms?
Depending on your baby’s personal development, you can start using baby play gyms anywhere from six weeks to eight weeks. As long as your baby can comfortably lie on their tummy and/or back to interact with the play gym overhead, you can incorporate the play gym. At this stage of development, babies don’t need any super-fancy gadgets. Make sure you continuously monitor your little one as you would during regular tummy time, to double-check that everything is good to go!
As your baby gets older and continuously requires more stimulation to further their development, you can upgrade your baby play gym as needed. From more interactive overhead toys to full-on in-home crawling structures as they become more mobile, there are play gyms for every early developmental stage.
What are the developmental benefits?
Baby play gyms are incredibly useful for enhancing your baby's development. Even from six weeks old, having a baby play gym can improve your baby’s cognitive development and understanding, their visual perception of the toys overhead, and their ability to grasp objects and practice their grip strength by interacting with their play gym.
As your baby progresses to more advanced play gyms, the accompanying benefits also increase. As play gyms get more complicated, your baby will enhance their hand-eye coordination and muscle development as they play. For older children, a play gym essentially has all the benefits of a playground, but all within your own home!
Are play gyms safe?
Play gyms are safe so long as you get an appropriate gym for your baby’s age (i.e., no indoor playgrounds for newborns), and so long as you set up the play gym with the correct precautions.
Whether for newborns or toddlers, it’s important to have a safe, secure, non-slip padded playmat underneath. For younger babies, this will make sure that they are fully supported and comfortable during tummy time and/or when lying on their back. For older children, this ensures that even if they have a slight stumble when playing, they have a soft surface to catch their fall.
For more advanced play gyms, it’s also important to make sure you don’t purchase any structure that’s too high off the ground. However, since the play gym will be indoors, most are manufactured with this in mind and won’t be too high anyways.
Finally, since your little one will be interacting very closely with the play gym, ensure you check the safety certifications and non-toxic guarantees of the baby play gym brand you’re interested in. You don’t want your baby to be face-to-face with any toxic chemicals while they play!
What should you buy for a baby play gym?
Firstly, a good quality playmat is crucial, as detailed above. ALZiP mat is a premium playmat option. It is made with buttery soft vegan leather that’s free of toxins- and is the only FDA approved food-grade mat. ALZiP mat is also easily foldable for easy set-up, stain resistant for messy babies and toddlers, and available in five different colours to match any play gym you choose! For the ultimate safety and style, ALZiP mat is the perfect complementary product to a baby play gym.
The next product you’ll need is the play gym itself! Here are some of the safest, highest quality options available for a variety of ages and development levels.
Newborns and Young Babies:
The Little Mobile by Lily and River is the perfect play gym for young babies. With stainless steel hardware, a non-toxic hardwood structure, and plenty of baby-friendly sensory toys, your little one will be mesmerized by this mobile, all while being perfectly safe.
The Macrame Play Gym by Finn and Emma is perfect for those looking for a quieter play gym option. Because the toys are made out of macrame, they are completely silent, but your baby will love their unique texture! This play gym is also height-adjustable, made with a 100% birch wood frame, and finished with non-toxic stains and lacquers.
For all the Montessori fans out there, you’re in luck. The Level 1 Montessori Box by Monti Kids has the perfect mobile and a variety of toys designed specifically to further your child’s development!
Toddlers and Young Children:
Cassarokids has a great variety of playsets, rockers, climbers, and towers. Whatever your little one’s favourite style of play is, Cassarokids will have the perfect product to make their dreams come true! Cassarokids’ structures are all made with solid wood, and are up to standard on key safety certifications.
Wedanta Kids has a ton of creative and complex indoor playgrounds for toddlers and young kids! Built to help develop physical skills, body strength, critical thinking, creativity, and more, the play gyms by Wedanta Kids are all made out of high quality, natural wood to ensure their safety.
If you aren’t interested in, or ready to splurge on a large wooden play gym, you can utilize ALZiP mat’s folding capabilities to your advantage! You can easily fold your mat into a variety of box and/or triangle shapes to create fun for the whole family.
Overall, baby play gyms are a great way to keep your little one busy and entertained while simultaneously helping their development!