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8 Best Toys for Baby Play Mat to Encourage Learning

8 Best Toys for Baby Play Mat to Encourage Learning

Baby play mats are a perfect place for your little one's learning journey to begin. There are so many styles to choose from, you will soon find one that suits your home at the price that suits your budget. But what about toys for baby play mat?

Which baby toys should you choose for your baby to play with that will also help with their development and learning? You have a huge choice so we've selected the top 10 toys that will encourage learning and are also a lot of fun!

#1 Baby Play Gyms

baby playing with baby play gym

Baby play mats and baby gyms are the main sources of entertainment for babies during the first few months of their life. They are just the thing for helping with many areas of your baby's development.

Baby play mats are a safe, practical and comfortable surface for you to place under baby gyms. Some play gyms are available with their own soft play mat - just like the gorgeous MiniDream Baby Playmat Baby Gym. You can also get a stylish wooden arch with fascinating hanging toys and they are used with a separate playmat.

The hanging toys teach your baby about cause and effect. They hit the toy by accident at first and discover that it moves, this is caused a primary circular reaction. It is a vital stage in your baby's cognitive development.

Babies can see things most clearly when they are 8-12 inches from their face and play gyms are designed so that the toys hang at exactly this level. Focusing on the toys helps with their visual perception.

#2 Baby Gym Detachable Toys

detachable elephant play mat toy

Many of the toys on play gyms are detachable and safe for your baby to grasp. As your little one starts to reach out and grasp toys hanging from the baby gym, they learn how to hold onto objects and develop the fine motor skills in their little hands.

From birth, this is controlled by a reflex action. As your baby lies on play mats they relax and start swinging their arms around. They will accidentally brush their hand against the toy hanging from the activity gym and instinctively grab it. They can look a little surprised when it comes away in their hand and they end up holding it!

By the age of five months or so, your baby will be making the decision to grab the toys from the activity gym themselves. Play mats are the ideal location for you to create this amazing learning environment for your baby.

#3 Floor Play Toys

activity floor mirror on play mat

You can encourage your baby to start exploring the world around them by giving them the opportunity to lie on their side. You will probably need to support them to begin with but eventually, they will have the strength to support themselves.

All you need now is some suitable toys to keep them entertained. This Activity Floor Mirror ticks all the boxes. It has colours, textures and sounds. But the best thing is that it stands up on playmats and displays a mirror towards your baby. Babies adore looking at themselves in mirrors because they just love human faces - even their own! It also helps them learn how to identify faces and facial expressions. These are vital skills that they will need as they grow up and become toddlers.

#4 Tummy Time Toys

baby having tummy time on play mat

Perhaps the most significant developmental benefit of baby playmats is that they allow your baby some tummy time. As the name suggests, tummy time is simply allowing your baby to lay on their front. Tummy time is only safe when your baby is awake and supervised.

Tummy time on suitable playmats encourages a young child to lift their head and this strengthens the muscles in the neck, upper back and arms. It also supports the development of gross motor skills such as rolling and crawling. Babies learn how to use the muscles in the arch of their hand and start to explore their environment from a different perspective. This will eventually lead to crawling.

However, not all babies will tolerate being placed face down on a playmat and will soon let you know about it. You can help this by using a firm tummy time pillow or ball to start off with. You will need to support your baby in the face-down position as they get used to it.

#5 Sensory Toys

 baby playing with sensory ball

As your baby grows all of their senses will develop. Their sight, hearing, fine motor skills and awareness need loads of stimulation for them to develop at the right pace.

Baby playmats are an ideal place for this sensory learning to take place whether your baby is lying down or can sit up. However, you need the right baby toys to stimulate their interest.

A simple rattle is a great place to start and is suitable for a newborn. This Trixie Baby Wooden Round Rattle is a perfect example. It is totally safe and eco friendly, fun for little hands to touch and makes a cool noise.

When your baby is ready to move onto something a little more sophisticated, the Sophie la Giraffe Musical Light Up Baby Book stimulates sight, sound and touch.

#6 Toys Encouraging Rolling

All babies are different and develop at different rates. However, the newborn stage where they stay in exactly the same position that you placed them is very short-lived.

Your baby will probably be able to roll from their stomach onto their back by four months of age. By six months, they can roll from their back onto their stomach. This is a very big developmental milestone for your little one and playmats are the perfect location for them to practice their new skills.

Experts believe that babies are more likely to roll over if they spend plenty of time playing on the floor. By being on a play mat, they have more incentive to move. You can give them even more incentive by putting toys near to them but just out of their reach. Toys with contrasting bright colours and rattling sounds are useful for attracting your baby's attention. These Jelly Soft Toys are perfect because they are also soft and will not hurt your little one if they get hold of them.

#7 Musical Toys

baby playing with drums on floor

From just a few weeks of age, a young child can distinguish between different sounds. As they get older, listening to music helps them to learn how to pick up subtle changes in sounds which helps with their speech recognition. Baby playmats are a perfect place to hang out with your baby and throw some tunes together!

Settle your baby on the playmat in a comfortable position between your legs and help them to discover the noises that simple musical instruments can make. The Hape Musical Magic Touch Drums is a perfect place to start. By establishing a life-long love of music, you are giving your child a tool to help with numeracy and literacy and to help with their mental health as they get older.

#8 Story Toys

Settling down with your baby on a playmat in a warm room to enjoy a good book together is one of the most special parts of parenting. Even though a book may not be classed as a toy, it can still be a lot of fun. The value of instilling a love of stories and reading in your child cannot be over-stated. As well as the obvious advantages for their literacy, it also helps with many other areas of reasoning and cognition.

There are countless types of books that include sensory experiences. There are books that crinkle, books that have buttons that you can press to make noises and even books that you can take apart and put back together.

This does not have to stop as your child gets older and you can even combine a good story with a cute toy. All children adore the Gruffalo and with the Tonies The Gruffalo - Audio Character you get an audio book to capture their imagination, some fun sing-along songs and a Gruffalo character with his "knobbly knees, and turned-out toes. And a poisonous wart at the end of his nose!"

#9 Stacking Toys

stacking blocks on play mat

Stacking toys are a classic activity for an older baby to play on mats. No nursery is complete without some stacking cups or blocks. There are many different designs to choose from but the principle is the same.

For a child, stacking blocks is all about problem solving and experimentation. It is fascinating to watch them as they try to figure out how to put one block or cup on top of another and in what order. This is really stretching their brain and helping to develop their cognitive skills. They are also learning to concentrate for longer periods and discovering that they are rewarded for the concentration with a huge tower - that they can then knock over and start all over again! Of course, knocking over a tower that you have built is also a lot of fun.

#10 Real Life Toys

Toys that look like everyday objects that Mum or Dad use are always a huge hit with babies. They soon learn to mimic the adults and older children around them with amazing accuracy. Before you know it, they are putting a toy camera up to their eyes or a phone up to their ear.

These days you can get a toy version of just about every device and because they are ethically made from sustainable wood, they are a lot less damaging to the environment than the real thing. Your baby will love toy card machines, smartphones, cameras, and coffee machines. Your only problem will be deciding which to choose!

 

Sources

When do babies roll over? Age and how to help them. - Medical News Today

How well can newborn babies see?- Web MD

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