Wooden Baby Gyms & Mobiles
Wooden baby play gyms are among the most versatile, functional, and beneficial things you can get for your little one. They give parents peace of mind, knowing their child is happily occupied and entertained for hours. Best of all, they're great for helping foster a baby’s developmental skills. They aid with visual tracking and depth perception, hand eye coordination, sensory stimulation, and tummy time.
There are different kinds of wood used for baby play gyms. But they're not always created equal in terms of strength, quality, and safety. They can be made from materials like plywood or medium density fibreboard (MDF) that may use toxic glues as a bonding agent.
That's why choosing a good quality wooden play gym, like the ones at Hello Charlie, lets you know it's safe because it's made from natural materials with non toxic finishes. We research our products thoroughly, so you can focus on taking care of your baby.
What is a wooden baby play gym?
A wooden baby play gym is a developmental plaything for little ones. It usually consists of one or two arches with different toys or activities attached, which allows babies to play and explore.
Some wooden baby gyms have age appropriate hanging toys like rattles and rings that little ones can reach for and bat around; or baby safe mirrors that allow them to see their reflections. These help to improve babies' gross motor skills, as they use their muscles to reach and grab the toys.
A wooden baby play gym comes in different colours, textures, sounds, and materials. You won't find lights and music on a wooden baby play gym, as these can be overstimulating for the baby.
At what age do babies use play gyms?
From newborn, babies love looking at bright colours and patterns and will be interested in the wooden baby play gym early on. The colourful toys stimulate their vision and help foster their development.
At around three months old, babies will start to reach for and grasp the toys on the wooden baby gym. This is an important developmental milestone, as it helps them learn how to control their movements. Their hand eye coordination starts to develop, enough for them to start interacting with the toys in the wooden baby play gym.
Do babies need a play gym?
Babies need tummy time and stimulation to help them to develop essential skills. A wooden baby play gym can answer these needs.
Developmental benefits of using a wooden baby play gym
Visual tracking and depth perception
Newborns are nearsighted at birth, so they mostly see blurry shapes. The objects they see are only visible if they're at a distance of 20-30 centimetres from their face. For this reason, a wooden baby play gym provides the perfect distance for little ones to watch different dangling toys.
An activity gym often includes hanging toys that have brightly contrasting colours. As babies begin to recognise faces, they also start to see colours. That's why bright colours play a vital role in a baby's cognitive development.
Hand eye co-ordination (grasping, reaching, using both hands)
From about four to five months, babies are fascinated by objects hanging in a wooden baby play gym. They'll try to grab the swinging objects and learn to cross their bodies' midlines.
A body midline is an imaginary line down the middle of the body separating it into two halves: the right and left sides. When your child moves their hand or foot to the other side of their body, they cross their body's midline. This is a developmental milestone, as it helps them to learn how to balance their body, control their movements, and become more coordinated. This is important for brain development because it helps process information from both sides of the body equally.
When it comes to any wooden baby play gym, having various colours, textures, and sounds can help with sensory stimulation.
The hanging toys on a wooden play gym often come in different colours. Colours help enhance visual awareness as babies learn to focus on objects and track them as they move. The varied textures of these toys also help with tactile development. They'll feel different surfaces and learn to differentiate between them.
The sounds that baby gyms make can also stimulate auditory development. Little ones will learn to identify rattling and clanking sounds when they shake or bang the dangly toys against each other. This is an important step in developing their language skills, as using toys that make sound help encourage infant vocalisation like babbling. Babies learn best by listening to sounds and trying to imitate them.
Babies spend a lot of time on their backs, especially when sleeping. It's the ideal position, as it's safe and comfortable. But they also need to exercise, and tummy time can provide that. This is where a baby gym can help, too.
A wooden play gym can be helpful in their muscle development. It can help strengthen their arms, shoulders, back, neck, and stomach muscles. Put them in a baby play gym and find a place for them to move to. This is beneficial for the baby because it helps prepare them for when they start to crawl, sit, and walk. Not only do they help develop strong and healthy muscles, but they also provide a fun and stimulating environment for little ones to play in.
When it comes to your baby’s development, you can encourage them to play on their own. This can start from newborn, and a wooden baby play gym helps to encourage independent play. An activity gym can keep your baby entertained, while you do other things. It's ideal to have around, especially when you need to get a little work done and want your baby to be close by.
What to look for in a wooden play gym
Entertainment: is an activity gym engaging?
Babies need stimulus, especially in their early months and years when their brains are growing and developing. There are many ways to provide your new baby with the stimulation they need and a wooden baby gym is a great way to do this.
An activity gym is entertaining because it includes a set of hanging toys, so there's no need to look for age appropriate toys separately. But as they get older and become more familiar with the gym and its toys, you can start introducing new ones. Adding new toys will keep the toy fresh as they grow and develop.
Safety: is a baby gym with hanging toys stable?
As your little one starts to grow, they'll become more and more curious about their surroundings. It means they'll start grabbing for things and exploring with their hands and mouths. That's why it's important that the baby activity gym you get is safe.
When shopping for a wood baby play gym, one of your top priorities should be physical safety. Baby gyms should have a stable and sturdy frame with no sharp or protruding edges that could harm your baby. The arch should also be secure, so the gym will not collapse or fall over your little one.
Another thing to look out for are small parts in the baby play gym that a child could easily swallow. You'll want to make sure that all of the attachments on the gym are securely fastened. Otherwise, they could come loose and pose a choking hazard.
Buy from a reputable brand, like the ones at Hello Charlie, that has been safety tested and is age appropriate.
Materials: are wooden baby gyms better?
A wooden baby play gym is generally safer than its plastic counterpart, as they do not contain harmful chemicals like PVC, BPA, and phthalates. These toxic nasties can leach out of the plastic and into your baby's skin. These can also be ingested if your baby puts these toys into their mouth. In addition to containing harmful chemicals, many plastic baby gyms may have synthetic fibres, dyes, and glues that can release toxins into the air. These toxins may cause skin irritation and respiratory problems in babies and young children.
However, not all wooden baby play gyms are made from natural materials. There are some that are made from engineered wood like MDF and plywood, which are commonly bonded using toxic glues that contain formaldehyde.
But the ones sold at Hello Charlie are eco friendly and safe. The baby gyms are made from natural and sustainable solid wood, and without toxic finishes and dyes.
Hello Charlie researches and reviews every single product to ensure that we only stock environmentally friendly, sustainable, and safe materials; and many, with eco certifications like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) - an independent organisation that verifies that wood comes from a sustainably managed forest. We consciously select these products because they're in line with our core values as a company.
The Best Baby Gyms
When it comes to eco friendly baby products, wooden play gyms are a great option. Some of the best ones come from Wild Indiana, Hess Spielzeug, and Plan Toys.
Wild Indiana has a variety of beautiful and sturdy wood play gyms. Hess Spielzeug is known for its high quality toys made from sustainable materials. And Plan Toys is a leader in eco friendly toys, using reclaimed rubberwood and non toxic paints.
Wild Indiana wooden baby gyms are handcrafted and folds flat for easy storage, so it's perfect for small spaces. The baby gyms have the best materials using natural beechwood and food grade silicone for the toys.
Beech trees have shown their potential to be sustainable in the production of beechwood because of their capacity to capture and store carbon and increase the species' population. Making beechwood into a baby toy also has a low carbon footprint because the wood waste can be recycled fully as by products, so nothing truly goes to waste. It's also hard and very difficult to break. This makes it a perfect choice for creating wooden baby gyms because it guarantees that the toys will last a long time and is safe for children to play with.
The Hess Spielzeug baby play gym is a great way to help teach your baby to grab, crawl, sit, and stand up. The top bar adjusts to three different heights, which makes it perfect for babies of different ages. The play gym is made from FSC certified sustainable beech wood and finished with water based non toxic paints, so it's safe for your child to touch and chew on.
Plan Toys baby play gym is also a perfect option for parents and families that want a durable, eco friendly, and non toxic option. It's made from reclaimed sustainable rubber wood, with water based and formaldehyde free finishes, so they're safe for babies to chew on.
The gym has four legs to prevent it from rocking, which makes it safer for babies. And to further stimulate your baby's curiosity, the gym includes two suspended toys: a planet and a rocket ship.
Invest in a versatile baby activity gym that you can raise or lower to different levels, so you can hang toys at different heights. This way, as your baby grows, the gym can too.
When a baby is playing on their back, remember to put hanging baby gym toys on the sides instead of directly over their head. This encourages them to turn their heads as they play, avoiding pressure on the back of their head. Placing a few toys in this position will also keep your baby occupied while avoiding potential health risks.
Even after your child has outgrown it as a toy, it can still be used as a learning tool or activity gym. Your toddler can use it as a tent or fort during pretend play. And if you buy a good quality toy, it can be handed down to the next baby or member of the family.
When looking for the perfect baby play gym, you need one that's easy to clean and maintain. This includes hanging toys, which need to be easily wiped down with a damp cloth.
Consider how often you'll be using the baby play gym, too. If you plan on taking it with you on trips, make sure it's lightweight and folds up easily.
Other things to consider when using a wooden baby gym
Most wooden baby gyms come with a warning, so you don't place them on a bed or table. Even though these surfaces may look like they would be soft and comfortable for the baby, they can be dangerous. A baby gym should always be placed on a low, flat surface, as babies can roll off these surfaces and get injured.
It's also important to keep an eye on your baby's cues and limit how much time they spend under the gym. It'll help ensure that they have a good experience with the play gym and don't become overwhelmed or overstimulated.
Other Useful Items for Baby Play/Activity
Mobiles for Baby
Babies love looking at things that move, and a baby mobile can help keep them entertained and distracted during nappy changes. One of the best baby mobiles is the Manhattan Toy Company Infant Stim Mobile. It's a perfect choice as it features high contrast images and colours that can help your baby to develop their cognitive skills. It easily attaches to most prams and carriers, too.
We recommend not putting a baby mobile above the cot as it can overstimulate your little one. Making the cot a calm, soothing space helps babies to learn to get themselves off to sleep more easily.
Baby Play Mats
When using a baby play mat or just allowing babies to do their tummy time, play mats can be useful. They come as padded fabric surfaces or flat foams that give babies something soft to land on if they roll over. And because they're padded, they also help cushion falls and lessen the impact.
Hello Charlie's selection of baby play mats aren't only multi functional but are safe and non toxic, too. Take Wee Gallery, for example. Their baby play mats feature high contrast black and white images for baby's visual development and are made with GOTS certified organic cotton.
Buy the best wooden play gyms, mobiles and play mats at Hello Charlie
Hello Charlie has a great range of wooden baby play gym products that are sustainable, eco friendly, and non toxic. This also includes accessories such as mobiles and play mats. We offer Australia wide shipping, same day despatch when you order before 10am.