Friday, 17 May 2019

Creating a Play Area for Your Baby (If You Have Limited Space)

It’s not easy to have a 3-room apartment and a 6 month old baby. Creating a play space in every room might seem like a good idea, because it gives you some freedom to move around the house while still keeping an eye on the baby, but then you barely have room to walk. So why not create a play area that you can move around in a few minutes?

I’m sharing these tips for a non-mobile baby (who doesn’t crawl yet), because it’s totally different after that (I’m a bit excited, but also terrified about the crawling phase). E. is extremely curious and constantly wants to explore but doesn’t crawl yet, so I need to give her things to keep her engaged.

It’s a wonderful experience to play with your baby, but sometimes the baby needs some time to play on her own. Or you need some time for yourself (while still being able to keep an eye on her). if you are always there to hand her everything, she won’t be motivated to develop her gross motor skills.

So…here are a few tips to create a play area.
  • Decide where in the room/s you want the play area to be. This depends on what you usually do there, also. For example, if the kitchen is connected to the living room and you need to cook, you should choose an area that you can see from there.
  • Find the right surface. A blanket is also fine, but if your baby hasn’t mastered tummy time yet and sometimes drops her head, I suggest using a mattress. This one from IKEA is cheap, firm, smooth, but at the same time soft enough to protect your baby from bumps.
  • Choose 4-5 toys and place them on the surface. I usually rotate the toys, and if I still notice that she is bored with them, I bring some stuff from the kitchen. Even with all of the cute and colourful (and expensive!) toys that we buy her, she still prefers kitchen utensils and random objects, such as parchment paper, spatulas, and empty baskets.
  • Once she will be able to crawl, I intend to place her toys (still rotate them) on the open shelves, so she can have access to them. At the moment I have a few on the shelf (the ones that I might choose for morning play), then the rest are all in a large box. That way, I can take the box to different rooms and choose a few toys from there. Cleaning up is also much easier like that.
  • Place your baby in the middle. You’ll see that it will take about half a minute for her to roll onto her tummy and pivot in a circle to try to grab her favourite toy. I suggest placing her favourite toys or new toys slightly out of reach, to motivate her to move around.
  • Once your baby can sit independently, you can introduce work shelves and busy baskets.
  • If you have the room, create the play area in front of a mirror – this will encourage your baby to imitate and play more. 
I hope these tips will help! Have fun playing!

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