Baby activity mat or play gym it is even called place mat. Is an interactive, brightly colored sometimes educative mat for babies to make use of during play time. There are different varieties or shapes, color, make, size and theme, and are very safe, comfortable and useful for your baby to play, relax, be occupied while you are busy, and it also assist your little one on their skill development.
Does a baby need an activity mat
An activity or play mat is very essential, and handy plus it is useful for both you and your baby, because once your baby starts to grow older, you will not be able to hold them 24 hours of the whole day. Whenever you need to quickly use the bathroom, cook, or run to the grocery store, or do the laundry.
Activity mats or swings are safe and fun spot for your baby to play and be distracted when you have things to do. And activity mats are good for tummy time or some other exercises which will help your baby;
- Develops some motor skills
- Prevents your baby from getting a flat head from lying on his or her back too much.
- Strengthen their shoulder muscles as the try to grab toys.
- Improve their identification skill on colors or toys.
When To Start Using Baby Activity Mat
Your baby can start using an activity mat from six months to 1year of age, during this period, most babies are usually active, and you will need to keep them busy and an activity mat is the perfect idea. Reaching for the attractive dangling toy above them is a good practice for objects identification and hand to eye coordination, and once your baby can crawl or stand, they will try to move to get the toy of their choice.
An activity mat or a play mat was well designed by child development experts to be able to easily draw your baby’s attention to pretty toys, contrast pictures, teeth rings and many other objects which will help in your baby’s sense development skill. Some parents may think too many pictures or toys can make their baby over stimulated and confused, if you feel so, you can take off some images . Some activity mat comes with a guide or examples of activities your baby can try.
A play mat or Baby gym is an essential item for your baby, because it benefits includes; a comfortable spot your baby can play and stay in different positions other than lying down on their backs, and also play on their tummy, your baby will be active and entertained by playing with his or her toy as well, another benefit is that an activity mat will encourage your baby want to interact with his or her surroundings.
An activity mat will also help your baby achieve development mile stones, a play mat will also make your baby’s shoulder, thighs and hand muscles develop more. There are various types of activity mats, but they all have some major characteristics in common such as:
- A comfortable and soft surface with lush foams, cloths or blankets and pillows.
- Attractive dangling toys or other objects attached to a bar. The bar decorated with toys can easily be detached and later added and the mat can be folded for easy movement maybe when traveling
- Some expensive activity mats comes with built in music system with fun and catchy songs, different shiny lights, even a mirror (for older infants), some safe chewy rubber toys.
When to introduce an activity mat to your baby
You can get introduce and activity mat once you baby can roll or sit on his or her own, this ability usually starts from 6 to 7 months of age. An activity mat will be a good way to encourage your baby move, roll, sit, on his or her own just to get the nice toys they can see. You baby will try to stand, crawl, move to reach for things on the activity mat. If these continues.
When your baby is up to 9 or 10 months, they will fully be able to start crawling, standing while holding on to some thing. For some babies who has had their activity mat for about 5 to 6 months, and has started to crawl, it shows that they are bored and no longer want to sit on a spot and play, but they want to explore the other parts of the room, or they want to start moving about in the whole house and play with anything they fine laying around.
But this doesn’t mean you should get rid of the mat, you can still leave it, or change the room it is in, they might eventually feel like playing with it some more, you don’t have to force your baby to continue playing with his or her activity mat if him or her needs some more entertainment.
You can decide to upgrade the activity mat, get new toys, shiny objects and colorful blankets, add a sound system or some talking / singing toys or educative pictures/ images with letters or numbers, to boost his or her intelligence or identification skills.
Importance of getting an activity mat for your baby
- Activity mats are convenient for movements, stress free for you and actually portable for example it can me set up at a park or outside in the garden.
- Some babies will want to be held at all times, and this will be a problem for you when you have things or chores to attend to, so placing your baby in an activity mat, will take their mind off not being held, because of all the attractive toys around and make your baby feel safe without being held.
- An activity mat can be an indoor form of new experiences for your baby everyday, by adding different new toys and images every time they want to play.
- An activity mat can provide stimulus through bright lights, colors, fun sounds, soft toys and lush material, making your baby more alert, smart, happy and smiling.
- Reaching or grasping for things and infant wants can take some time to do, but the attractive items and objects on an activity mat will make them acquire the ability to grasp things fast.
In conclusion, weather called an activity mat, a play mat or a baby gym, it a good option to assist your baby interact and explore his or her surroundings, identify things fast, be happier and assist in their muscles development, and at the same time keep your baby occupied and entertained.