Congratulations, for the stage that you are at! Whether prepping up for birth and ensuring you make a safe area for your baby or after birth,researching while your LO is taking a nap.
Baby’s play area had a completely different meaning for me as for me I had to prepare for two! Yes, my first borns are twin girls. When I was looking for such articles, I hardly found any for twins and I thought it was so important to write. However, my learning has been there are many things that can be just individuals and your baby can take turns while the other is busy doing something else. Then there are some things that you need simultaneously like a baby chair or two cots.
Why Do Babies Need a Play Area?
The top reason is safety. A baby’s play area is not only for their development but also for a parent’s sanity while doing other chores that their baby is safe. I remember converting our guest room into my twin daughters' designated room. They had their two tiny cots placed together, with a large play mat so both could look at each other and reach out.
Once safety is taken care of then comes the fun part of them doing something adorable and picture worthy every single day (that is when you realize that your phone has their photos).
Think of how your baby coos and gurgles when you play peek-a-boo, turns their head when they see their favorite plush toy, or tries to reach for a rattle when you shake it next to them. In each of these situations, they are honing a skill while understanding something about the world around them. I remember my one daughter loved the rattle whereas the other loved being under a musical gym.
Babies are constantly absorbing, experimenting, and learning. For them, every interaction with this world is new and exciting and every attempt at movement becomes a game. Play is the backbone of a child’s development. Simply put they enjoy everything in their surrounding, They react to different kinds of smells
Many schools of thought, including Montessori, believe that right from the beginning, we must provide children with the tools and environment that facilitate independent play. Waldorf also believes that play is natural and the child should be revered and given a more nature-like environment, which is calm, quiet and weather friendly.
Children who learn a certain level of self-sufficiency from infancy onward often grow up to be more relaxed, focused, and joyful people. A play area can help with this not only during their baby days but also when they are headed towards their toddlerhood.
How To Set Up a Baby's Play Area in Easy Steps
1. Choose a space
There are countless ways to set up a play space, so consider what makes sense for your family. The space might be in your child’s room or the living room (true for most urban homes).
Find a place that’s convenient for you, perhaps where you and your family spend most of your time together. This may give you a chance to do your own activity nearby, like wash the dishes or prepare lunch, while your baby plays independently. Many parents are surprised by how long a child can concentrate and play independently when given developmentally appropriate toys and a safe, prepared environment. Like I shared our guest bedroom as converted into their play area which was right in the centre of the house. So it was always under surveillance from all sides.
2. Find a shelf
Arranging toys at your child’s eye level will further empower them to play and learn independently as they grow. You can use a store-bought shelf, a built-in bookshelf, a cabinet, or a heavy coffee table for your play area. Whatever you choose, make sure it is stable or bolted to the wall. This is great as they observe, then roll and notice and finally start to crawl to reach out.
This creates an organized place for your child’s toys and teaches the habit of putting their things away when they are finished. By having a place for everything, your child knows where to find it and where to replace it.
3. Display 6-8 toys at a time, and rotate them periodically
Keeping just a few toys and books on your play space shelf will help your child focus as they play. An uncluttered environment helps your child build an internal sense of order and calm. With the burden of overstimulation lifted, they are free to learn from and appreciate each toy they endeavor to engage with.
How to Set Up a Montessori Playground for Your Infant or Toddler
Ideally, anything in your child’s play space promotes their natural desire for independence. When materials, toys, and books are easily accessible, your child can naturally gravitate towards their interests, giving them autonomy over their learning experience.
A few great additions might include:
- a low-height open toy shelf
- forward-facing bookshelf
- a child-height flat surface such as a table
- a chair that is low to the ground to promote learning, playing, and creating.
Montessori spaces are often referred to as “yes” spaces because they respect the child’s natural need to freely move their bodies without restriction. Give your child plenty of uncluttered floor space and challenges that involve some risk.
Opportunities to pull up, step up and down, climb, jump, push, pull, and throw all allow your child to develop these skills during this period.
Children learn best in a clutter-free environment with a limited number of toys and materials available at a time. The best way to maintain the novelty and appeal of these materials is to do toy rotation. when your child is no longer showing interest.
Order helps keep a sense of peace in your child’s environment and promotes focused attention. An easy way to encourage order in the space is to categorize materials into trays, baskets, or shallow containers to help your child conceptualize what goes where
Just like adults, children gravitate towards what is beautiful. For this reason, you might see many objects in a Montessori space that promote natural beauty.
Some examples might include baskets made out of natural elements, with toys sorted into them by category, and artwork hung at your child’s eye level. A simple way to adorn a room with natural elements is by adding a potted plant, which your child can also learn to water and take care of over time.
That is why toys made of natural materials are encouraged.
How do you make a baby play area?
By designating a specific area that can be viewed from different corners or can be reached quickly. Ensure no sharp or heavy items at the wrong place.
How can I make a play area at home?
By ensuring it is a designated area, easy to reach, remove big furniture and use the floor as much as possible.
How do you set up a baby play area in a living room?
You can take a nice corner where there is good sunlight, cordon it off with baby pillows or regular pillows, put up an acrylic mirror on the wall, add a few soft toys and rattles and it is ready to go.
Are play yards good for babies?
Yes theta re designed for babies safety especially when there are pets at home or the baby has started to crawl.
Are playpens cruel?
In my opinion it is very personal. If it is just the parents or a single parent then it is a sheer necessity, Keeping a child is much safer than someone else’s perception.
Do parents use playpens anymore?
Yes, they do. It is an extremely a handy piece of equipment for a parent to watch over their child and work efficiently,