Create Your Child’s Play Zone

Your home is your baby’s safe zone, where they are comfortable exploring, (throwing tantrums?), and learning new skills. Creating a space with a few key elements can foster and facilitate not only their gross motor development but their sensory, vestibular and fine motor skills as well.

An ideal zone will let you place your baby down knowing that they can move around freely and touch everything in it safely. The more motivated they are to explore their environment, the more they will experiment with their movement to get them around. This play zone encourages their independence, interaction with the environment and makes learning new motor skills fun. The best part is that you do not have to go out and buy anything, just get creative with what you already have! Read on to learn about some of the best tips for making this space for your kids.

Creating A  Play Zone

Vary the Heights

One of the best things you can do is provide lots of different surfaces for crawling over, climbing up, pulling up and standing. Couch cushions, coffee tables, seats and sturdy chairs are all great options!

Baby Proof a Little

Make sure you cover the outlets and pad sharp corners, but don’t take out every possible risk. It’s important for kids to land on their bums, slip on the floor and experience small missteps. They don’t need 5 inch padding everywhere! Give them some carpeted or a matted area for being comfortable on the floor but provide some hard surfaces for better stability too

Building Blocks

Give them lots of things they can move and stack, both big and small. This will help them work their engineering minds and be creative. Use toy stackers, cups, cardboard boxes, recycled containers or anything you can think of that is safe for children.

Get Wild!

Include lots of bright colours and as many different textures as you can. Especially for young kids we want them to explore new things and be stimulated. Encourage bare feet to optimize sensory exploration and muscle building.

No Screens!

These do not promote development, are over-stimulating and take away imagination. Opt for non-electronic toys that have moving parts and encourage interaction with them. Some noise-makers are still great, but if you can, choose ones that are more simple and promote some experimenting and exploration (buttons, switches, knobs and more).

Get in the Zone

The purpose is not to leave your child alone, but to have a space where they are allowed to touch/lick/drool on everything. Teach them to use the space by getting in and playing both with them and side-by-side independently so they can model your play.

By Laura Kennedy from Move Paediatric Therapy