As parents and guardians, we all want nothing but the best for our babies. The little one’s development, both physical and cognitive, is paramount. To help us in achieving that, we need to provide them with conducive environments. A baby gym is a great example. However, many people are sceptical about baby gyms. Are they necessary?
Baby gyms are worth it. They help our kids develop strong motor and coordination skills. They also help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will help them their entire lives. If you want a sharp child, both cognitively and mentally, then consider baby gyms.
With that, read on for a detailed discussion of what baby gyms are, how they work, their advantages to your child and even how much they cost.
What Is A Baby Gym?
During the early times of your child’s development, you will spend a lot of time holding them in your arms. However, there will come a time when your baby will need more than just swaddling and rocking. Time does fly, and before you know it, your baby will be crawling and standing with support. This is the perfect time to get your little one a baby gym.
A baby gym is a soft mat that has two arches to support the toys that dangle overhead. Baby gyms are made of softwood or plastics, and they tend to have different colours, sounds and textures to stimulate your little one. Others may also feature lights and sounds.
Your baby will grow beyond being just held in your arms to the other stages of development. During this time, the baby gym will be a very crucial investment. As the baby develops, the baby gym will help boost some of their baby and cognitive areas. It will also provide them with stimulation and an exciting way for them to start exerting their independence.
Here are some of the ways the baby gym works and its importance to your child’s development.
A Baby Gym Works By Improving Hand And Coordination And Motor Skills
The baby gyms work by stimulating your baby to reach out for the various toys or paintings on them. Baby gyms or play mats have designs and objects that will excite your infant and will prompt them to reach out and grasp them.
Some of the baby gyms have paintings and designs that are directly on the mat. One advantage of this is that your baby can enjoy the mat during tummy time. Playmats will suit them early, even before they are old enough for interactive toys.
There are baby gym models that have hanging toys that your baby can reach out for and grasp. However, if you have a baby mat only, you can provide your baby with items to make them want to hold.
Their favourite rattle, soft and plush cuddly characters like a beanie or teethes, will do just fine.
As the baby will be grasping the toys, staring at the paints or turn and kick, they will develop there and boost their motor and hand-eye coordination skills.
The Baby Gym Works By Providing An Exciting Diversion In Their Daily Routine
When babies are growing, they will require more than just a swaddle for their entertainment.
A baby gym will be a perfect and exciting diversion to keep them happy and meet their ever-growing needs. A baby gym will provide them with fun play times, which is essential for babies’ development; moreover, it will improve their physical and cognitive development.
During playtime in the baby gym, parents spend a lot of time interacting with their kids and even talking to them when they play. This reinforces the communication and language between the child and parent, developing a solid bond in the process.
Baby Play Gym Works By Stimulating The Baby’s Senses
Most of the babies’ play mats and the baby gyms use contrasting colours to catch the baby’s eyes and attract their attention. Black and white colour patterns are the most common. They provide contrasting shades, which are among the first pattern that a baby will notice on the play mat.
Some playmats have bright, vivid colours that are also very attractive for your baby. These bold patterns will stimulate your child’s visual development.
In developing your baby’s auditory skills, the play gym will often have toys that will produce different sounds when pulled, squeezed or kicked. These different sounds are crucial in developing your child’s hearing ability.
The soft fabrics and attachments on the baby play gym or the playmat are made with an assorted texture that feels uniquely special and interesting in the hands of your little one. This stimulates the sensory abilities of your children and aid in their development.
Boosting The Cognitive Development Of The Child
Play gyms help in the development of the intellectual abilities of babies. They bring a cause and effect, boosting the knowledge of sounds, shapes, colours, imaginations and patterns. These skills prove to be very important to the child when they grow into adults.
Baby gyms create a natural inborn curiosity in the child, which is vital for critical thinking and problem-solving in all their lives.
Encouraging Freedom And Movement
It won’t be long before you notice your baby being more active. At this time, you will see them sleeping less and spending more time playing around the house. Baby play gyms will help them in exploring their newly found energy well at such a time.
You will have to give them freedom for them to exert their independence. Baby gyms will provide them with a room to kick, scoop and roll around. This is equivalent to exercise for infants.
The baby gym will also give your baby the freedom to make its own choices. This is significant in helping your baby grow up secure and confident and not attached to their parents.
At What Age Can You Use Baby Gyms To And From?
Since most baby gyms are made of softwood and plastic, you will be sure that your child, however minor, won’t be hurt. It is, therefore, reasonable to start using the baby gym on your child as soon as you feel that they are not getting enough freedom they want.
You will notice your baby being uncomfortable when swaddled and prefers not to be carried all the time. You will start seeing this from about six weeks to two months, and they will be ready to spend a few playtimes on the baby gym daily.
However, at this early stage, your child will only be able to reach for the toys nearest to them. As such, they will only be spending the tummy time in the gym, which will be lasting for only a few minutes.
As the babies grow, their sight develops and becomes stronger. Colours and images will then become more precise, and the focus will grow sharper. At six months, they will be able to see all toys in the gym very clearly. At this time, they will start using their arms and feet to explore the gym. They will evolve from reaching and touching to bat and pull.
Once your baby has grown old enough and can sit and crawl, you may now move them to other activities or toys for older babies.
How Much Are Baby Gyms?
The average price for getting a baby gym is around 50$. However, the costs will vary from baby gym to another because they are made of different materials, features, and quality. Despite the difference in the baby gyms, 50$ is the mean price that most of these products will be sold.
A baby gym like the Baby Einstein 4-in-1 kicking tunes music has four modes, laying, sitting, tummy time and take along. It has seventy sounds, activities, and over twenty-five minutes of music. It includes seven detachable toys; it is machine washable and requires a 3AA battery, which is not included. With these features, this baby gym goes at 37$.
Compared to baby Einstein 4-in-1, the play gym like the Lovevery weighs costs almost three times the average price. The main reason for such a huge price difference is the feature each baby toy has.
Lovevery baby gym has unique quality features. It has five Montessori-inspired development zones on the play mat, revealing or concealing over stimulation, sound making, teaching focus, exploring colours, hiding and finding, and sensory exploration.
Baby gyms with guides for age-appropriate activities to promote brain and motor skills and removable accessories specific to stage-based learning are more expensive than standard baby gyms.
Another reason for the baby gym to cost higher than others is the card display clips for every angle. It engages your baby senses with 14 unique learning cards while they’re on their back. This prevents flats spots when side-lying or during tummy time.
Are There Any Less Expensive Alternatives To Baby Gyms?
There are other less expensive alternatives that you can use instead of the baby gym to help your child develop physically and cognitively. They include baby walkers, baby bouncers, and jumpers that can help your child develop well.
Some baby walkers and baby jumpers are made of different contrasting colours that will have your baby’s attention, and they will notice them quite early, boosting their identification skills. They also have toys and other materials that the baby can grasp. This will increase your baby’s motor and coordination skills and consequently improve their general development.
Another way you can achieve the experience of a baby gym without having one is by giving your soft baby material to grasp when they are awake. Playing with your baby while giving them soft materials to hold or trying to exercise them by stretching them can help you create the experience of the gym even if you don’t have one.
How To Save Money On Buying Baby Gyms
Buying second-hand baby gyms is a great way to save some cash. You can quickly get a cheaper baby gym by buying from a parent who has one and is no longer using it. You are sure to get a good one at a considerably lower price.
You can also find deals in the store. Taking advantage of the baby deals offered in stores that sell baby gyms will help you save a lot of money you would otherwise spend if you don’t take advantage of the deals.
Borrowing from a friend will also save you a lot. If you have a friend who has a baby gym but no longer uses it, you can borrow it and let your baby enjoy the benefits of having a baby gym.
Are Baby Gyms Worth Buying?
Yes. Baby gyms have proven to play a massive role in the development of an infant. They promote the child’s hand and coordination and motor skills, boosting the intellectual abilities and stimulation of the baby’s senses. All these are beneficial towards developing a healthy baby, thus making it worthy of having a baby gym.
On the flip side, baby gyms may not be worth it for several reasons. For starters, they are relatively expensive. There are cheaper alternatives to baby gyms that promote the child’s healthy development. Inexpensive toys and devices such as the baby bouncer still provide similar utilities to the baby gym.
For good child development, a baby gym is not necessary to have a tool. A baby gym is more of a luxury than an essential tool for perfect child development.