Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Infant Play Yard or Infant Area Suggestions

You might ask why is it necessary to setup an infant play yard? Your infant could benefit greatly when given an opportunity to explore with “tummy time”. As your little one is exploring, this area could be created as a safe spot for your infant to roam without the risk of injury or harm. This area can be setup in the living room or common area. Of course once your little one grows and is crawling, he/she will need more space like a childproofed playroom.

Why is tummy time so important? What does an infant area look like?

Tummy time is good for two main reasons:
1) For their brain development - as they explore with their senses.
2) For their muscle development – as they are strengthening their muscles by moving around. This prepares them for the next step of crawling.

I give infants ample opportunities to explore. This is encouraged as the little one learns how to push up while lying on his/her tummy, rolling over from tummy to back and back to tummy, scooting or reaching for a toy, getting up on his/her hands and knees and sitting up on his/her own. It’s important to have that interaction with you as well as exploring independently in a safe infant area.

You may wonder what I mean by "infant area". What does an infant area look like?

I usually only have one infant in the infant area while the older toddlers are playing nearby. The little one usually hangs out in this area until he/she starts the crawling stage. The attached picture shows how I typically have the infant area setup for an infant to roam around. In addition, there is enough room for me to sit with the infant as needed.
Iva's infant area

Here are a couple of suggestions that are popular and available online:

Little Play Zone
Try to find play yards that give enough space for the infant to roll around and explore up until he/she is crawling.

I found a play yard online at One Step Ahead called “Little Playzone with Lights & Sounds Play Yard” at www.onestepahead.com  

Versatile Play Pen
And another one online at Kaplan Early Learning Company called “Versatile Play Pen” at www.kaplanco.com  I would make sure it is big enough to give the space an infant needs to roll around. This item comes in 8 pieces or 16 pieces counting the corner pieces.

I also suggest making sure you have some sort of cushioned flooring covering the play yard area like; carpeting, foam cushions, or foam mats.

Here are a couple of suggestions:
Playspot Interlocking Foam Tile Mat

I found this item called “Playspot Interlocking Foam Tile Mat” at Kaplan Early Learning Company www.kaplanco.com

Natural Colors Vinyl Mat

I found this item called “Natural Colors Vinyl Mat” at Kaplan Early Learning Company www.kaplanco.com

26-Piece Foam Puzzle Play Mat
I found this item called “26-Piece Foam Puzzle Play Mat - Solid Colored” at One Step Ahead www.onestepahead.com

Little Playzone Foam Mat

I found this item called “Little Playzone Foam Mat” at One Step Ahead www.onestepahead.com

I'd love to hear what parents, grandparents, and or providers are using as a play area for their infant. Have ideas to share?

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