If you are looking for a versatile product for your baby’s cognitive development and motor skills, the activity gym is the perfect solution. The activity gym is packed with toys that dangle and sparkle, music, lights, pillows, and other textures that promote mental and physical stimulation. The question here is, should the baby be able to see first before using the activity gym? In this article, we will discuss when to use activity gym for baby and the benefits an activity gym can provide.
What Is An Activity Gym?
The activity gym allows the baby to learn the fundamentals of action and reaction with its many accessories. Because babies are born with a limited sense of vision, when should the baby be exposed to an activity gym? Before we talk about when to use activity gym for baby, let’s discuss what an activity gym is first.
Also known as the baby play gym, an activity gym is a soft mat with a plastic arch that supports dangling toys. The gym is loaded with different colors and arranged with a lot of objects the baby can play with when lying down. It is best known to boost a baby’s cognitive development and a baby’s motor skills. The baby will practice grabbing and pulling on toys while touching different colors and patterns which provide for freedom of movement and imagination. Let’s go through the other advantages to know when to use activity gym for baby.
Advantages Of An Activity Gym
As a parent, we have to help our babies learn and grow. From birth, we feed, nurture, teach, and protect them with all our might. The activity gym has become more popular because of its numerous advantages for a baby’s development. Here are five advantages of an activity gym that help supports its popularity:
In the first few weeks of a baby’s life, objects will still be blurry from afar. The baby will only be able to see from a close distance of 8-12 inches from their face. An activity gym is specifically designed to cater to a newborn’s eyesight. The dangling toys and colorful patterns help aid in the development of a baby’s visual perception skills.
- Strengthening the muscles
An activity gym also promotes tummy time where the baby lays on its back. Research shows that tummy time helps strengthen the back, neck, and abdominal muscles, which will later assist in crawling and sitting-up. One of the core advantages of tummy time is building muscles on the arms of a baby as they try to get up.
- Hand and eye coordination
The activity gym can also promote your baby’s depth perception. As your baby’s sense of sight develops, shapes and colors become clearer, which will alter their behavior of playing with the activity gym. A baby will try to slap and hit the toys dangling on the plastic arch. The baby will also start throwing toys to pick it up or reach for toys intentionally in short distances during these times.
- Cause and effect
The activity gym promotes the baby’s intentional actions of pushing, pulling, and dropping things. The baby will start to explore the possibilities of actions they do, to see what happens next. It is important to allow your babies to explore and experiment during these times, but as parents, always supervise your baby for safety.
When To Start Exposing The Baby To An Activity Gym
When to use activity gym for baby? The activity gym is made to accommodate newborn babies as early as four weeks. Although, the first year of a newborn is mostly spent in the arms of the parents. But there will come a time when the baby will need more than just rocking and swaying. If the baby is ready to move past the parent’s arms and on to the next chapter of development, the activity gym will be the next best thing.
The activity gym teaches the basic functions of cause and effect around six weeks to 4 months of your little one. In this stage, the baby will discover things by accident in the gym, called “primary circular reactions.” The baby will then intentionally repeat some actions at 4 – 8 months because they find it amusing and fun. These intentionally singled-out actions are called “secondary circular reactions”. A good example of secondary circular reactions is pushing buttons, rattling toys, and making things light up and sound.
At around four months, the baby starts to develop depth perception, which facilitates movement around the gym. They will begin reaching, grabbing, and grasping toys they like. If the activity gym comes with a mirror, around 3 -5 months, the baby will notice themselves. At 5-8 months, the baby will respond to actions in the mirror and start laughing, patting, or making faces. This is also essential for a baby self-awareness development, which the activity gym can provide. Know more about play pens.
Understanding your baby’s capacity to see goes hand-in-hand with when to use activity gym for baby. Because a baby is born nearsighted, it is essential that when you use an activity gym, objects should not be more than 12 inches away from a baby’s face. This helps the baby see clearly and aids in cognitive stimulation.
Once the baby is aware and familiar with the objects, the baby will start practicing its motor skills. It will push and pull objects intentionally, which strengthens the muscle and bones. The activity gym is something every parent should consider and purchase to aid in their baby’s development. Not only is it nurturing, but fun and exciting as well.