If you’re a parent looking to adopt the Montessori at-home approach, you could start right from the newborn phase. A play gym could be among your baby’s first few Montessori toys, tapping into your little one’s natural instinct to learn.
This Montessori-inspired classic toy is among some of the favorites of Montessori parents.
There’s nothing more exhilarating for new parents than witnessing their newborn’s firsts.
When your infant, who has been observing a toy hanging above, intuitively reaches for it with their tiny hands and even makes it move, it’s one of the precious firsts.
A carefully prepared Montessori values the freedom of movement for babies. A movement area and a Montessori play gym would make a perfect choice for your baby to move around and explore without being overstimulated.
Let’s look at Montessori play gyms your newborn will love.
What is a Montessori Play Gym?
Unlike mainstream play gyms with a play mat and bars over your baby’s head, with lights, sounds, or hanging toys, Montessori play gyms are simpler and not overstimulating for your baby.
It is a sturdy tripod-like wooden structure that will arc over your baby.
You could start using Montessori mobiles and switch from visual to tactile ones to suit your baby’s development. The hangings can be changed or rotated to keep your baby from getting bored.
Benefits of a Montessori Play Gym
Montessori play gyms are mostly wooden, eco-friendly, and made of organic materials. These are free of harmful substances and non-toxic, making these suitable for babies.
According to child development experts, a Montessori play gym has several developmental benefits when used between 6 weeks and 4 months.
Some of the benefits include:
- Helps improve vision and hand-eye coordination
- Encourages movement and strength building
- Sensory stimulation
- Fine motor skills development
- Enhanced visual and tactile perception
- Problem-solving skills
- Cognitive skills development
- Helps promote learning of cause and effect (primary circular reaction)
Setting Up Your Montessori Play Gym and Movement Area
A growing baby needs to play and explore in a safe environment. Babies a few weeks old need tummy time as much as open-ended toys for imaginative play when they grow by a few more weeks.
Here’s how you can set up your baby’s play area:
- It would be ideal to choose a communal area in the home to set up your baby’s Montessori play gym and movement area, making it easier for you to keep an eye on them.
- Include a low Montessori shelf with a small number of toys or activities within the movement area, like the object permanence box, the Montessori egg cup, and a classic first puzzle, to name a few.
- The play gym should be located within your little one’s movement area.
- Include a play space cover like a soft rug or mat to facilitate your baby’s free, easy, and safe movement.
How to Use A Montessori Play Gym
With a Montessori play gym, what’s otherwise known as an activity gym, you could switch between the hangings to keep your baby playful and interested.
Ensure you place a soft cotton mat or a sturdy and comfy mattress on the floor before placing the play gym. It works well for your baby’s tummy time and eventually helps in rolling over and crawling.
For a Montessori play gym, you could go with:
- Visual mobiles
- Tactile mobiles (it would be good to introduce different textures too)
- DIY ideas, like a rattle, bell, ring, or puzzle ball hung on a piece of elastic or ribbon
- An organic cotton teether to soothe your baby’s teething phase
Top Picks for Play Gyms
Here are some of the top picks for Montessori play gyms available online!
Willow and Pine – Montessori Mobile Hanger
This handmade play gym, made of hardwood, has rubber feet for extra stability and a metal hook for hanging toys or mobiles. It can be used from birth till your infant starts crawling (around 6 months) away from it.
The Play Gym by Lovevery
The Lovevery play gym is an awesome addition to your baby’s playtime. What sets it apart from other play gyms is Lovevery’s commitment to sustainability, using eco-friendly materials and designing the set to last for years to come. With 5 Developmental Zones featuring activities that encourage exploration and growth, this play gym is truly designed with purpose. Plus, it comes with 4 detachable activity toys and 4 sets of cards with clips to hold them in place, providing endless entertainment and learning opportunities. The Play Guide developed by experts provides tips and activities based on your baby’s stage of development. And when your little one gets older, the Play Space Cover transforms the baby play mat into a cozy fort for toddlers! This play gym truly grows with your child, providing years of fun and learning.
MontessoriProducts Wooden Montessori Baby Gym
This play gym is made of beech wood, and the installation is complete with 2 screws. For a max length of 30 cm between your baby and any Montessori mobile you opt to hang from the bar, the baby gym’s height is 80 cm.
It’s sturdy and taller than most other play gyms; it could be used as a clothes rack once your baby outgrows it.
PgUp Wooden Baby Play Gym
To help your little one develop the extremely important skill of motor development, apart from keeping them occupied and learning, this wooden play gym comes with 4 hanging toys.
It’s made 100% baby-safe, is organic, has no toxic substances or chemicals, and is easy to assemble. In addition, the hanging toys help build your baby’s hand-eye coordination and strong motor skills.
Baby Joy Portable Wooden Baby Gym
This wooden play gym is made of superior pine, lotus, and beech, with an environmentally friendly paint finish, making it baby-safe. It comes with 3 hanging toys and can also be used for the teething phase.
With no tools required and a fast assembly with just 2 screws, this is one strong and durable play gym.
Funny Supply Store Baby Play Gym
This impressive play gym comes with a high-contrast ball, rainbow baby mobile, silicon teether, sunshine wooden rattle, tent cover with window, and a tummy time mat.
If you’ve other children, you could turn this play gym into a tent, promoting imaginative play.
The 3-in-1 uses include a baby play gym, tummy time mat, and play tent. In addition, there are 6 Montessori-inspired development zones on the baby play mat.
It won’t be long before your baby can transition from a simple Montessori wooden play gym to a full-fledged Montessori jungle gym.
Montessori at home can be fun for parents, too; lie beside your baby near the play gym and spend quality time with them. Don’t forget to rotate the hangings every few days.