If you’re a parent, you know that giving your baby plenty of opportunities for exploration and learning is essential for their growth and development. One great way to do this is by using a playpen. Playpens provide a safe and stimulating environment for your baby to explore indoors or outdoors, which can help them develop their motor skills and cognitive abilities. In addition, playpens are a great way to keep your baby occupied. Here’s how to support your baby’s development using the baby playpen.
Baby Motor and Cognitive Development
There are plenty of developments happening with your little one. You’ll be surprised just how fast they turn from vulnerable newborns into little miss or mister independent.
When they reach seven months, they’ll begin laying on their tummies, doing the commando crawl, until their muscles are strengthened enough for brisk crawling. As they work out their muscles and bones, they’ll explore everything while learning through their senses. Everything is eye-catching for babies, and they satisfy their sense of touch by grabbing items. Baby exploration includes putting stuff into their mouths too!
While their movement and excitement for adventure make you feel proud, you feel the instinct to protect your little one. You know that they may grab and swallow objects that aren’t meant for babies. Crawling or walking on plain ground without your supervision may also cause injuries.
The great thing is that a playpen for babies can satisfy both your desire to be a supportive parent and the goal to protect your little one while they explore. There are a variety of playpens suited for the indoors or outdoors. With them, you can continue nourishing your baby’s development in the safety of your home and even outside, where the view is new and the air is fresh.
The Different Kinds of Playpens
To get the best playpen for your baby, you need to know the different kinds of products. You also need to know your child’s development level to know which products will support and protect them best. Here are the main types of playpens you’ll see and the moments when your baby can utilize them.
Infant play crib
Initiate your little one’s motor development by investing in an infant play crib. Find a crib with a mobile, a removable cot, and a breathable guard rail if they’ll be playing in the crib. The mobile will help develop their hand-eye coordination as they reach out to the hanging toys plus auditory development if there is music. The cot and breathable guard rails, on the other hand, will give them comfort and safety.
Mat and gate combination
Some playpens have both gates and a mat. These satisfy your baby’s need to have a clean floor to crawl and walk on within the confines and safety of a playpen. Most designs look like an enlarged version of a crib on the floor, so your baby can roam around freely.
If you already have a baby play mat or a cushion, you can add extra safety for your little explorer through baby gates. These products are made either with plastic or wood that are set up like a gate. Depending on the available space, you can shape them in rectangular, circular, or hexagonal shapes. They are heavier than the two types of playpens we mentioned earlier, but they are more robust and less susceptible to damage.
These playpens are the cutest and the best baby play yard accessory, looking like mini domes, camping tents, or castles. The smaller versions are intended for travelling as they are easy to set up, lightweight, and portable. Most also have a detachable plastic roof to protect your little one from the sun.
Playpen Characteristics to Look For
Now that you already have an idea of the different playpens there are, you can make a wise choice of which one is best for your little one. You’ll surely be extra picky as you browse through the product details. Here are the characteristics to look for.
Lasts long and is durable
Play pods made of aluminum railings with nylon cloth can withstand windy and sunny conditions outdoors. They are the best playpen to lay on sand, grass, or soil. Indoor playpens can include gates made of safe and durable polyethylene plastic. When it comes to wood, go for the soft, baby-safe, and durable ones. Playpens using these materials will surely last long and can be used again for your successive pregnancies.
Despite the robust materials playpens are made of, find one that has a baby-friendly design to entice and excite your little one to stay in them. For instance, baby domes have calming pastel hues. In contrast, play gates often have various designs, from plain and minimalist ones to those with animated characters and shapes. The playmats can have educational designs like baby animals, shapes, and numbers.
Instant baby activities
Aside from adorable and educational designs, you can also pick playpens with built-in activities. There are sets with plastic slides, horsey, mini cabinets, tables and chairs, see-saws, and swings. Let your little one enjoy shooting balls in playpens built with a basketball hoop and board with the mat designed to look like a court. You can also fill the playpen with colorful plastic balls they can swim in.
Portability has a lot of advantages. If you have a play pod, you can set it up both indoors and outdoors, saving you the cost of investing in two separate play areas. If you are travelling, you do not have to worry because these portable playpens can be disassembled quickly and fit into a bag. Setting it up is easy too, whether inside hotels or outdoors.
Playpen Indoor Activities
When everything is set and you’ve picked the playpen for your little one, you also need to ensure that your baby’s time inside the playpen is well spent. Here are some playpen activities that are helpful for a child’s holistic development.
- Drawing and painting: Holding a paintbrush, crayons, and colored pencils or using their hands and fingers for painting—artistic activities trigger your little one’s creative side. This is the time they can learn about colors too, so don’t forget to show them which is yellow, blue, or green as they enjoy creating a masterpiece.
- Storytelling: Babies’ language acquisition begins by mimicking what they hear. Let them listen to words from a compelling storyteller like you. By introducing books at an early age, you can hope that they grow up valuing learning, with a solid grasp of language too.
- Song and dances: Songs and dances are always a great hit to babies, toddlers, and kids, especially when their favorite nursery rhymes are playing. Add energetic movements as you sing for fun and exercise. They’ll be conditioned that a playpen is a happy place where they sing and dance with the people they trust and love.
- Hanging out with family and friends: While you have a lot scheduled for your little one, schedule downtime too when you sit, lay, or play together in the playpen. You can also accompany them as they explore the various educational toys inside the play area. These quiet moments are also priceless.
Outdoor Activities Inside a Playpen
The outdoors offers the same exciting learning opportunities. So, allot some time when you and your little one can get some sunlight and breathe fresh air outside. The outdoor play pods will ensure both you and your child can relax outdoors. They can play while you are sure they are safe.
- Basking under the sun: Sunlight is an essential part of a baby’s life, especially during their first months when they are more prone to jaundice. But even when they are already crawling and walking, the sun is still a good source of Vitamin D. Set up the play pod roof when the sun gets too hot.
- Texture and color lessons: The grass, sand, soil, pebbles, gravel, and even asphalt roads are great opportunities for your baby’s little feet to learn textures. The leaves, flowers, twigs, and stones feel different too. Aside from satisfying their sense of touch, the colors are also a joy to your baby’s eyes!
- Introducing outdoor object names: Extend your indoor language lessons outside by teaching your little one the different names of trees and flowers. Anything you see are opportunities for your baby to learn. When they play outdoors often, they’ll eventually remember the names of the objects they see.
- Meeting the neighbors: Widen your baby’s social circle by introducing them to the neighbors, especially those of the same age as them. They can learn companionship and sharing through this. Perhaps you have pets outdoors?You can also introduce them to your baby!
Get Your Playpen from Ashtonbee!
Now that you understand the different types of playpens and what to look for, it’s time to decide. Keep in mind that a good playpen will last long. It should also have a baby-friendly design with built-in activities available. Finally, it should be portable so you can take it with you on trips. We hope our list of the best playpens has helped narrow down your search. If you’re still unsure which one is right for you, don’t hesitate to check out the baby playpen we have here at Ashtonbee!
The playpen has a baby-friendly design and is equipped with beautiful illustrations, an early abacus, and various shapes. The panels are easy to set up and can be used both indoors and outdoors to keep your baby safe while they play. It may just be the playpen you’re looking for!