Few things occupy our minds more, as parents, than the proper development of our babies. To that end, we buy and use products designed to help the growth of our children, such as educational toys and stroller arches, also called “baby gyms.” Do you already have one of these? Have you heard of them?
Although these types of baby toys are well-known for their benefits of aiding in the development of a baby’s sensory abilities during the first few months months of life, there are many types of baby gyms available, and we are fully familiar with them all. This practical guide on baby gyms will teach you about all the main factors you should consider when purchasing one of these educational toys.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Our Selection: The Best Baby Gyms on the U.S. Market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Baby Gyms
- 3.1 What are baby gyms and what are their benefits?
- 3.2 From what age should a baby gym be used?
- 3.3 At what age should you stop using the baby gym with your baby?
- 3.4 What objects should a baby gym have?
- 3.5 Is it safe for a baby to use a baby gym?
- 3.6 Are there any regulations that cover baby gyms?
- 3.7 What do I do if my baby gets bored with the baby gym?
- 3.8 What is early stimulation and how is it developed with the use of baby gyms?
- 3.9 Is there a baby gym for twins or multiples?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- The relationship that a baby has with their environment is fundamental for their future development, both physical and intellectual. A baby gym is a good resource to encourage your child to exercise their arms and legs and to develop proper hand-eye coordination.
- By using baby gyms, babies develop the ability differentiate between colors, shapes, textures and sounds, and they learn to interact with these toys in a growing, developing way that is also fun for the baby. A baby gym is a useful and practical product, since there are many different types, and you can choose one to suit your baby and you perfectly.
- When buying a baby gym, it will be important to consider factors such as the age and size of the baby and the specific accessories that are included in the baby gym.
Our Selection: The Best Baby Gyms on the U.S. Market
For your baby, you want only the best, of course. But how do you find the best and how can you be sure you have chosen correctly? It is not unusual to feel like this, especially the first time you are buying an accessory of this type. We have prepared a selection of the 5 best baby gyms on the market to help you decide which one is best for you.
- The Best Baby Gym With Stroller Arch
- The Best Baby Gym for Fine Motor Skills
- The Best Baby Gym for Strollers
- The Best Baby Gym With Animal Designs
- The Best Flexible Baby Gym
The Best Baby Gym With Stroller Arch
The ideal baby mobile to entertain during rides in the stroller. This mobile includes fun hanging objects of different colors, as well as soft and crunchy textures that make baby-pleasing noises. It also has a pinwheel that the child activates, for a new experience every time.
You can take this mobile wherever you want, since the hooks are universal and fit perfectly to a wagon, car seat or the crib. The arch is flexible, so it allows you to regulate the distance that the hanging objects are from the baby. It adapts to their growth and to the improvement of their abilities.
The Best Baby Gym for Fine Motor Skills
Each of the eye-catching, colorful figures on the Baby Björn Wooden Toy spins and twirls, providing plenty of entertainment. Plus, your baby will be practicing fine motor skills and developing hand-eye coordination. The Wooden Toy is a great accessory for all BabyBjörn bouncer models and encourages play and self-soothing.
Particularly unique is the center figure featuring large, cartoon-like eyes. This comical character, along with the vivid colors and fun shapes of the other figures, will capture your baby’s imagination. Tested and approved as a safe product, the Wooden Toy complies with strict toy standards and is guaranteed to be free from prohibited substances.
The Best Baby Gym for Strollers
This soft colored mobile/arch is perfect for stimulating newborn babies’ vision. It is specially designed to provide entertainment for the baby when traveling in a carriage or a stroller, perfect for practicing eye-hand coordination, learning to control their grasp and it helps develop baby’s senses and motor skill development.
Easy-to-grasp rattle promotes healthy, natural development. Playing and grabbing the colorful toys encourages the baby’s sensory development and teaches them about cause and effect. Attaches easily – plastic clips securely attach to most strollers, carriages, car seats and bouncers allowing baby to play while on the go.
The Best Baby Gym With Animal Designs
The VX-star baby gym is made of soft material, is comfortable, safe, and non-toxic. This versatile activity toy is also ideal for encouraging baby to reach, pull and squeeze, which helps strengthen their developing muscles. Multiple colors encourage visual perception development. When baby shakes the toy, it makes sounds which stimulates the baby’s auditory senses.
Animal designs with different, vivid colors make it easy to attract the baby’s attention. You can hang the over the crib, the stroller or the car seat. This toy allows the baby holding a toy to play interactively, training the baby’s hand-eye coordination. Toys are suspended over the baby using a variety of different textures of fabric in a variety of colors help baby stay entertained.
The Best Flexible Baby Gym
Add this versatile arch to your baby’s stroller and suddenly strolling and shopping becomes an adventure! The Flex ‘n Go Activity Arch from Oball easily attaches to almost any stroller and keeps a baby entertained with an easy-to-grasp Oball, a lion rattle, an elephant rattle and Oball Linky Loops to attach additional toys.
The flexible, soft material of the Oball Arch keeps little hands busy with bold colors and tactile challenges. Designed with easy-to-grasp Oball toys that are easy for tiny fingers to grasp and with loops so you can attach more toys. Safe for ages 0 months and up.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Baby Gyms
When we prepare to buy anything for our baby we usually shop and research until we are sure we are making the best decision. During the purchase process, questions often arise, related to both the product and its use. Therefore, we hope you find it helpful that we have provided answers to the most frequently asked questions about baby gyms.
What are baby gyms and what are their benefits?
This type of toy offers great benefits for babies during their first few months of life, since this is the time when they begin to use their little arms, hands and fingers while trying to reach the various objects that hang from the stroller arch. The objects come in different textures and colors, which stimulate the little one’s interest, senses and imagination.
In addition to the baby’s sensory motor skills, their sense of touch and sight is encouraged by these toys as well, and it supports autonomy of our children, since they an pay with the baby gym all on their own, without needing any intervention of an adult. Finally, these toys help with the improvement of the baby’s flexibility and strength.
From what age should a baby gym be used?
So, three months would be the ideal age to start using a baby gym. At first, the baby will remain lying down all the time, but, little by little, we will observe how their instinct causes them to entertain themselves. Parents should adapt the different types of baby gyms that exist to the development of the baby.
At first you might use arches, or baby gyms that have a a base, a blanket on which the baby lies, but with the passage of time, you can use other gyms that are hooked onto a stroller, a high chair or a walker that allows the child to use it while seated. The most important thing is to offer different stimuli to the child so that they can always have an opportunity to learn.
At what age should you stop using the baby gym with your baby?
What objects should a baby gym have?
- Different Colors: In the first stages of life black and white hanging objects are recommended for visual stimulation. Later, other colors are added for multi-sensory stimulation.
- Different Shapes: Although the baby is not able to recognize the forms, he sees them as different, something that surprises him and that he will enjoy exploring.
- Different Textures: These help to stimulate the baby’s sense of touch and to create different sensations with each hanging object.
- Sounds and Music: The baby also develops their hearing and is surprised by the variety of sounds that he hears. In addition, these objects are highly recommended to calm children.
- Mirrors: to assist in brain stimulation and the perception of your child’s world. Thanks to these, the baby begins to recognize the movements he performs and improves coordination.
- Reflective objects: Similarly, the reflective elements capture the baby’s attention very well and keep him entertained.
Within this wide range of toys, there are endless possible combinations for your baby. Everything will depend on what each baby likes and what entertains them the most. Today you can find even universal object “hangers” that are sold separately and that you can add to your baby’s gym, to keep them interested in the baby gym by changing the objects over time.
Is it safe for a baby to use a baby gym?
Even so, it is important to take certain precautions. Although we allow the baby plenty of autonomy to discover, play and learn with the objects, we can never lose sight of the baby. As for the arch itself, we should periodically check to ensure that all the accessories are well anchored and that none of the pieces are broken or damages, so we can prevent the baby from swallowing any pieces or cutting themselves on any sharp edge from a broken piece.
If the baby gym is safety-approved and complies with established regulations, don’t worry, you can relax while the baby plays, discovers and learns with the different accessories. Although it is difficult for us, we must let our baby experience and discover the world autonomously.
Are there any regulations that cover baby gyms?
These safety regulations regarding toys for very young children, focus on the importance of ensuring that the article does not contain small parts or that they can be detached, with the aim of reducing the risk of suffocation. They also state that these toys should not have sharp edges made of metal or glass.
What do I do if my baby gets bored with the baby gym?
- Try to ensure that the time with the toy does not exceed an hour or so, since too much time in the same position will cause the child to lose interest faster.
- Although it is recommended to leave the baby to play autonomously, at first it is good for parents to touch the hangers to get the baby’s attention and show the child the different features of the toy.
- Try to set aside some hangers to exchange when you notice that the baby is getting bored.
- Ideally, the hangers should be varied and should not all be too similar.
- Babies may get bored because they have already developed enough in that area, and it is time to move on to another type of toy. But beware, because there are times when too many accessories are what causes boredom.
- When babies are subjected to too much stimulation, they do not know what to look at and end up losing interest in what is in front of them. The same thing happens if we show them external stimuli when they are playing with the baby gym. Therefore, we should avoid doing that as well.
What is early stimulation and how is it developed with the use of baby gyms?
Developing this type of skill early is advisable, since these skills are directly related to the subsequent growth of the child. Within early stimulation we differentiate between gross motor skills, that is, the large movements that the baby makes, and fine motor skills, the more exact movements.
If we develop and practice motor skills, we will be helping the baby to control their body and their movements. And this is another of the main goals of using baby gyms. After all, it’s about helping your child grow.
Is there a baby gym for twins or multiples?
There are stroller arches and activity mats designed specifically for these types of families. They have twice as much space for your twins or triplets to play together The only precaution we should take is to make sure there are enough hanging objects for each child to have fun and learn.
When we are preparing to buy a baby gym for our baby we want to choose the best possible. How do we do this? It’s actually very easy. We must take into account certain factors that are indispensable. If the baby gym meets these factors, it is the baby gym we are looking for. Let’s explain:
When choosing a baby gym, the age of our baby is a fundamental criterion to determine if this toy will be useful or not. Earlier we mentioned that the minimum age to use this type of toys is from three months. If the child is smaller, they will not know how to use it. If the child is already eightem months old, it may be past the optimal time for them to play this kind of game.
The ideal age to start using baby gyms is between three and six months, since this is the time in which the baby will engage the most with, and learn more with this toy.
Size of the Baby
We know that every baby is different, so it is important that, in addition to age, we consider the size of our little one to make sure we buy a baby gym that is suitable for them. Ideally, the baby should be able to reach the hangers, but not too closely.
If the baby reaches the hangers very easily and will not have to make any effort to exercise it will not help their muscles. This does not mean that we should make it too difficult, because if it the baby is not able to reach them, they will get frustrated and it will not play with it. As they say, “everything in moderation.”
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The “hangers” or hanging objects are the different toys that hang from the baby gym and provide most of the value of this toy, so that the greater the variety, the more entertainment and learning there will be for the baby. We must ensure that there are different colors and textures among the hanging objects.
There are also hangers that emit sounds and stimulate children that way. We can even find hangers with mirrors, which children love and which support the development of baby’s sight. You should try to put varied accessories on the arch so that the child has variety each day. One trick is to change them frequently.
As soon as your baby realizes they can reach all those hangers in front of them, they will want to bring each object to his mouth. And this is why the material with which the baby gym is made is important. It should not contain any toxic materials.
And in addition to the safety of the baby gym’s material, the baby gym must be made of appropriate material for proper cleaning. The health of our babies matter to us and, therefore, we must keep the toy as clean as possible. There are some made of materials, such as cloth, that you can just wash in a washing machine and they come out like new.
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Last but not least, is the quality of the baby gym itself. We must be sure, first, that the toy is durable. The more durable it is, the less likely it is that it will break and produce small pieces that the baby will put in their mouth or with which the baby can be harmed.
The quality of the product should also exclude possible allergic reactions in the child while playing. Finally, we understand that the better the gym, the more comfortable it will be for your child and the more comfortable he will feel during his activity.
When we are parents, we love to see how our baby grows and develops their abilities. A baby gym is the ideal toy for your baby starting at three months of age, when our little one begins to relate to their environment and respond to different stimuli. With these gyms, children learn while having fun.
We can observe how the baby differentiates the shapes, colors and textures of the hanging objects and how they are delighted by each one of them. When trying to reach for each accessory, the baby exercises his muscles and develops his motor skills. Without a doubt, this is the toy that will become your best friend, and your baby’s favorite toy during the baby’s early stages.
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(Featured Image Source: Ekaterina Pokrovsky: 114350251/ 123rf.com)