Once you become a parent, you are often bombarded by information about what to invest in from baby clothes to toys. Among all baby items sold in the market, baby play mats are the most practical and versatile. These mats have multiple uses, and it also offers a lot of benefits for baby’s proper development.
A baby play mat is a soft covering that has two arches that hang on top of support toys. Both parents and professionals consider this as one of the essential baby supplies. There are many known benefits of play mats for babies. First on the list is that it aids in their physical development. The mat compels the baby to use his/her hands and feet in exploring the mat and reaching out for the toys.
Having a baby mat also enhances the baby’s cognitive development, learning the basics of cause and effect. It stimulates primary circular reactions. This means that it encourages the baby to repeat an action he/she did by chance. The baby can also interact with the dangling toys, teaching them how to play and at the same time developing their reasoning ability and spatial awareness.
Play mats also help babies’ visual development. The contrasting bright colors and patterns of the mat aid the baby’s visual perceptual skills. The mat also helps develop babies’ gross motor development. A baby play mat also helps the baby to develop muscles and core strength as he/she crawls and uses his arms and legs. It also encourages the baby to lie on the stomach strengthening his/her neck and back. It also helps in developing dexterity, speech, hand-eye coordination, sensory, and even feeding skills.
These mats also help develop babies’ communication and interaction skills. Every toy found on the mat, all the colors, shapes, sizes, and sounds offer the possibility to widen the baby’s vocabulary, more so when the parents join in at times. It stimulates curiosity and also sets the foundation for problem-solving that are essential for developing critical thinking during adult life.
When buying play mats, it’s significant to bear in mind a couple of things. One of these is the physical safety of the play mat. A thicker mat is designed for babies and toddlers. This will protect the baby from the impact of falling over once he/she starts to crawl, walk, or stand.
The most important aspect to consider in buying play mats is the material used. Avoid those that use PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride which is known as poison plastic. It is known as a human carcinogen and is one of the most hazardous and toxic plastics from its production down to its disposal. It’s better to buy a play mat that uses TPU or Thermoplastic Polyurethane since it has lesser chemical additives compared to PVC.