Tag Archives: baby playmat australia

When should babies start floor time?

tummy time

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time?

It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing children from simply lying on the floor to play.

Children who spend most of their day in angled seats or swings are missing the valuable opportunity to stretch, play and work on their gross motor skills. Babies need the opportunity to stretch out and explore their physical world right from the newborn stage.

Let’s learn more about the benefits of baby floor time!

floor time

Benefits of Floor Time

Growth of the Skull: 

Your baby may spend plenty of time lying down in the swing or in their bassinet or cot on their back. Spending time on the floor, encouraging the baby to move head from side to side and providing lots of opportunity for tummy time is important. A change in posture, such as tummy time, will enable the head to form into a natural shape.

tummy time

Alleviates Gas Pain:

Parents are far too familiar with their baby’s toilet routines, and gas is an unfortunate occurrence at times. Being gassy is both expected and safe. The issue is, of course, sometimes babies need some help moving the gas along. Tummy time, can help as it places gentle pressure on the tummy which can alleviate gas. Lying on the back and allowing the baby to move and kick their legs can also help move gas along.

tummy time play

Spatial Intelligence: 

Allowing your child to feel the floor and play on it will help him or her develop spatial awareness. The child will appreciate and learn to recognize the environment better and gradually as they become older will be mindful of barriers such as tables, couches, or stairs.

tummy time

Balancing Act: 

Your child can learn to balance while lying on the floor. It is a natural phenomenon for your baby to turn sideways, backward, or upwards when lying on his tummy or back.

balancing tummy

When to start floor time:

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tummy time can begin when your baby is a newborn. Begin by putting the baby belly down on your chest or over your lap for a few minutes to get them used to the pose. Only don’t do it right after a feeding because the pressure on their full belly can cause them to spit up. You can do so while they are most awake and alert, such as after a diaper change or nap.

play mat time

Ideas to help babies start floor time

  • Get down on your belly with your face next to your baby’s face while he’s on his tummy.
  • Make silly gestures, coo, and other sounds to your baby.
  • Encourage your baby to grab for you with one hand at tummy time.
  • Also, inspire your baby to reach for you.
  • Choose toys about level with the floor to entertain and inspire your baby when he or she is on the floor. This allows your baby to reach out and explore the toy.
  • Toys that light up and make noise when touched are the best for keeping your baby’s attention and desire to reach for the toy and play with it.

tummy time

When to pick up the baby:

When your baby exhibits cues like yawning, looks away from your face or the toy, or can no longer support himself when raising his head straight off the floor, remove them from floor play. If your baby is repeatedly distressed and continues to be continues to be upset when doing tummy time, ensure you seek support from a health professional.

 

Getting your play mat to settle

How to get your play mat to settle? When your play mat first arrives you may find that you unroll it, and it re curls at the ends. This is totally normal as our play mats are stored in the rolled position in their boxes throughout the warehouse and shipping process. Play mats can take […]

Read more

Preparing for childcare

It’s in the preparation… preparing for Childcare Is your child about to start childcare? Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, it doesn’t matter the age starting daycare or type of childcare, the first time can be hard on both kids and parents. Preparing for childcare can help you and your little one make a smooth transition. Preparing […]

Read more

Pretend play

Pretend play – What is it? How do I do it? Why is it important? “Here Mum, I made you a coffee?” PJ announced proudly as he shoved a bucket full of sand in my face. The pretend play is strong at the moment in that one, and clearly I drink waaaay too much coffee. […]

Read more

Sensory play: How to make a sensory hoop for babies

sensory hoop play

Lets talk sensory play….

Have you ever tried to describe the smell of wet grass as you walk across it, or the taste of a warm freshly baked biscuit? It is not just one sense that we use to describe these things, but a combination of many senses.

sensory play hoop

Ethan playing with his sensory hoop. His mum @thefoolishobsession was our inspiration to give this a go. Featuring our Roadtrip play mat with Blue Geo.

Today we are focusing on baby sensory play and the benefits on their brain development as they have opportunities to explore the world through their senses. Exposure to a range of stimulating environments allows babies to understand themselves in their environment.

So why is this important?  As babies move from the newborn stage into the infant stage, their senses continue to develop. Research suggests the sense of smell, taste, sound and touch all develop while baby is still in the womb; they taste what we eat, smell what we smell, hear our voices and respond to touch when pressed. It’s the sense of sight that undergoes the most significant change after they are born. Maybe this is why we tend to focus on visual stimulation for babies. However, it is important not to neglect the other senses.

What is sensory play? Sensory play is any activity that encourages your baby to explore the world around them using a combination of multiple senses. Finding materials around the house which have unusual textures to touch, make a range of sounds, and are visually appealing are important as their senses develop. Sensory play also encourages movement, balance and confidence to explore. As babies get older you can also introduce sensory foods to further develop these but today, we are focusing on infants so that one’s for another day.

Making a sensory hoop, for your babies sensory play:

What you need:

1 x hoolahoop

Sensory items: Here are some ideas to get you started but you’re only limited by your own imagination:

sensory play hoops

Some of the things we found lying around the house for a sensory hoop.

Fabrics such as tulle, silk, chiffon, corduroy, flannel, toweling – raid Nana’s scraps pile (most fabric stores also have remnants boxes).

Ribbons (of various size, colour and texture), sequin trim, pom poms, felt pieces, velcro strips

Toys, balls, dummies, teething rings, fabric books, fabric rattles.

Scarves, bibs, wool, bath mesh sponge, bath toys, gift wrap bow, cleaning cloth, bubble wrap.

What to do?

I purposely bought the $5 glitter hoop from Kmart as this in itself is a sensory item. I started by laying the hoop on a flat surface and positioned my items (without tying them down). This way I could have a look at the balance of objects and make sure I was happy with the placements before I attached everything.

sensory hoop play

Adorable little Raffy playing with his new hoop.

I then worked my way around the hoop securing all the items. A tip here – if you do loose bows or loops with the plan to reuse materials later – make sure you supervise. Little fingers have a way of undoing loose knots. Instead we recommend securing items tightly to reduce risk. Once all the different textures and items are safely attached your hoop is ready for some play time.

Have you tried it? Make sure you tag us @freddy.and.co on both Instagram or Facebook as we’d love to see your handy work.

Note: As with all play activities, you must always supervise your baby when playing with sensory hoops. As babies may explore with their mouths, make sure all these items are clean without any loose pieces that can be pulled off or swallowed.

 

When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

Read more

Getting your play mat to settle

How to get your play mat to settle? When your play mat first arrives you may find that you unroll it, and it re curls at the ends. This is totally normal as our play mats are stored in the rolled position in their boxes throughout the warehouse and shipping process. Play mats can take […]

Read more

Preparing for childcare

It’s in the preparation… preparing for Childcare Is your child about to start childcare? Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, it doesn’t matter the age starting daycare or type of childcare, the first time can be hard on both kids and parents. Preparing for childcare can help you and your little one make a smooth transition. Preparing […]

Read more

Toddler Sorting Activities – 5 Quick and Easy Activities to try

toddler sorting activity lego

5 Quick toddler sorting activities to keep your little one busy

Toddler sorting activities give us so many opportunities. As children grow they start to explore and try to make sense of the world. Part of that is trying to organise and control the things around them. Sorting activities allow children to match and categorise objects to show what they know and understand. Identifying colours, shapes and even textures helps children recognise similarities and differences between objects. These early skills form the basis of organisation and reasoning essential to early Maths, Science and Musical understanding.

So enough about the why, lets dive in with 5 Easy toddler sorting activities that don’t require any special equipment… and only take 30 seconds to set up. We use these when PJ is napping so I’m trying to keep the noise down, or while I’m cooking dinner to keep Freddy busy and once I started looking for sorting activities I realised they are everywhere.

1.Sorting cutlery

Cutlery sorting for toddlers

Freddy’s efforts at sorting the party cutlery…

I have a confession. I have a party draw full of all the leftovers from different parties over the years… plates, napkins, disposable cutlery. It’s not environmentally friendly which is why I’m hanging on to them, so I never need to buy again. What it does mean is I have a big mixed bag of different knives, forks, spoons, in a variety of sizes and colours. So, this one was simple to set up… I emptied the bag on to the dining room table so Freddy could see them all and we talked about what we noticed. He could already identify knives, forks and spoons so we started off with sorting to this. Once we had this sorted, we started to divide the spoons into different types etc… All in all this one took about 30 seconds to set up and kept Freddy busy for a long time as he happily chatted about what he saw.

2. Toddler sorting activities: Lego sort

toddler sorting activity lego

Sorting Lego on coloured plates on his alphabet and blue play mat.

I knew all my Ikea plates would come in handy. All those colours have so much potential. Another 30 second set up with no prep or organisation needed. I handed Freddy his box of lego and surrounded him with the plates. We then looked at what colours the plates came in. I asked him to find one piece of lego to match each plate. Once I saw he could do this I left him to it.  When I came back, I noticed when it came to the people he has a little more challenged. Some he sorted by hair colour and others by shirt colour. It came down to what stood out most with each piece, so consistency is now something we are talking about. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this earlier. It’s the perfect toddler sorting activity to get you started.

 

3. Sorting  mixed vegetables – Carrot, corn and peas.

This one came up when I was late to serve dinner. I could tell Freddy was getting restless and hungry so I gave him his Vegies in a bowl and handed him Orange, Yellow and Green cups – again, thank you Ikea… We talked about the lego sorting we had done a few days earlier and he cottoned on how to sort them very quickly and was very keen to eat his handywork at the end.

 

4. Toddler Sorting Activities: a deck of cards (either by colour or suit)

Toddler sorting activity deck of cards

Freddy was pumped after he sorted out the cards on his round road and grey play mat.

For this one all you need is a set of cards. It doesn’t even have to be a full deck so the old one with cards missing is perfect. I sat with Freddy and looked at the cards and talked about them first as this was the first time he had seen them. Then we talked about what they had in common. Initially we sorted them in to Red and Black. Then we looked closely and noticed there was two shapes for red : Heart and Diamond. Also Club and Spades in black. Freddy then sorted these out. I also removed the K,Q, J cards from the deck as well because the images all had both black and red. Though, next time I’ll probably leave them in to see what he does with them.

5. Food sort…. fruit loops.

I haven’t tried this one yet with the fruit loops but I’m planning to give it a go this weekend after we do the weekly grocery shop. Instead I was inspired by a post  I saw on Pinterest. Not only can you sort by colour but also thread them on to a pipe cleaner. Sorting and motor control skills in one. Winning!! A more simplified version of this could also be done with other foods like mixed dried lentils, coloured dry pasta if you have it, or even just mixed varieties of pasta. Any little leftover dried foods you have sitting in your pantry can be all put into a container to become a sorting activity.

So there you have it, here are 5 easy sorting activities that require no prep or organisation to help you keep your toddler entertained.

Love freebies, VIP specials and all of the parenting tips and tricks? Make sure you’ve signed up to our email list so you don’t miss out on what’s happening. And don’t worry – we only send out emails 2-4 per month when we have stuff on or new blogs coming out.

When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

Read more

Getting your play mat to settle

How to get your play mat to settle? When your play mat first arrives you may find that you unroll it, and it re curls at the ends. This is totally normal as our play mats are stored in the rolled position in their boxes throughout the warehouse and shipping process. Play mats can take […]

Read more

Preparing for childcare

It’s in the preparation… preparing for Childcare Is your child about to start childcare? Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, it doesn’t matter the age starting daycare or type of childcare, the first time can be hard on both kids and parents. Preparing for childcare can help you and your little one make a smooth transition. Preparing […]

Read more