Interactive Playpens are Best
Once your little angel begins to crawl and explore, you know it is time for you to get a playpen!
There are times when you just need to hang the washing or have a cup of tea and playpens are a safe way to keep your little one contained and out of danger when you need your hands free.
However, playpens are also a great opportunity to create a play space for your little one. A place where they can begin to learn and explore on their own terms. This is where they can begin to build their self-confidence and self-efficacy.
In order for the playpen to be a fun space to discover new skills and to practise already developed skills, it is important that your baby or toddler feels stimulated in their playpen. Think of it as a playroom and be strategic when setting it up.
There are so many playpens to choose from and there are many different factors to consider. There are playpens that are simply a barrier and playpens which are carefully designed to stimulate little minds with activities and decoration. At the end of the day, you cannot really go wrong either way but there are definitely benefits to buying a ready-made interactive pen in that they come with a whole range of activities to build those fine and gross motor skills.
Next, you need to consider what goes under your playpen. Many playpens have accompanying mats or are generally the same dimensions which allow you to find a mat of your own. Mats are not necessary but can save you so much time in cleaning afterwards, especially if your playpen is on the carpet. It also allows cushioning for the practising of skills. When they are trying to sit up on their own, they will often tumble over and the little heads always seem to be the most impacted. They can also provide a method for stimulation with many colourful designs and pictures, many with designs on both sides.
Then you need to consider what will go in your playpen with your little cherub. It might be that you add a few favourite toys to cuddle with and to play with. You can have different zones set up in your pen like a cuddle area, a book area and a toy area. If they are learning to sit up, a toy that might grab their attention could be a great way to keep them sitting and building their core strength. If they are learning to crawl, space out their favourite toys to encourage them to reach for them.
Build a routine into using the playpen. Your child must know that they will not be in the playpen full time but when they are then it is an opportunity for them to play and explore. Also, spending time in the playpen with them will allow them to establish the playpen as a safe environment in their minds.
Remember to look at the playpen through their eyes. What do they see? What can they play with? What can they touch? Are there any toys that they are getting bored with? Change these out. Keep it fresh and exciting! The playpen is your best friend and the right playpen environment will keep your little one stimulated for hours on end.