Babies start reaching for different objects at an early age. Their curiosity is great and they love to explore all kinds of objects with their hands. Play arches are therefore anything but boring for your child. Other things almost become a secondary matter. Many play arches also have an additional base, which means that your child is also very comfortable when playing. In this article we will explain to you what a play bow actually is and which skills of your baby will be trained during regular play.
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Structure Of The Play Bow
The play arch is often built like a trapezoid or arch-shaped. On it are numerous toys, which are available in a variety of shapes and colors. This way, your child already gets a feeling for how circles or stars feel, for example. He can experience the toys with all his senses and press on them, grab them or even put them in his mouth. Since it lies under the play arch, your baby can also look at the different toys extensively. It also has to concentrate on its movements and is therefore distracted for a longer period of time. So you can also come to rest once and pursue other activities during this time. Some elements are even height-adjustable, so you can encourage your child again and again.
After birth, your baby has the grasping reflex for many weeks. Everything your child takes in his or her hand is firmly grasped. The muscles are not yet controllable at this time, which is why no targeted grasping can take place here. After about 3 months, however, your child’s abilities are already more developed. He or she will begin to reach for objects independently and to take a closer look at the appearance and shape of the objects, as your baby’s visual ability continues to improve. Nevertheless, your child must first learn to hold two objects in both hands, for example. At the beginning, this simultaneous grasping is still somewhat difficult. Since most of the toys in the play bow are attached to strings, your baby can try them out first and does not run the risk of dropping the toy. Instead, it has the possibility to use both hands at the same time or alternately.
Play arches made of wood have been extremely popular for a very long time, as they are characterized by their robust construction, among other things. Natural wood is very important here, because your child explores the toys not only with his hands, but also with his mouth. Of course, there are also certain models made of plastic or fabric. These have the advantage that you can take them everywhere with you due to their lightness.
Many manufacturers advertise their play bows with the fact that they can be used relatively quickly after birth. However, you should not follow this recommendation! Play arches with sounds, for example, are only suitable for children four months and older. After birth, pretty much everything is new for your child. The impressions of the outside world are therefore quite sufficient at first. A large number of toys, on the other hand, will ensure that your child is overwhelmed by too many stimuli at the same time. It is therefore better to gradually accustom your child to the play bow. Therefore, set a certain time frame and observe your child’s reactions. If your child no longer actively engages with the play bow or even ignores it, you should take a break. Later you can increase the time to about 30 minutes or longer. However, this depends on how long your child is actively engaged with the play bow.
Every child develops differently and therefore has different needs. Younger children in particular are initially overwhelmed by a play bow, as they cannot concentrate on all the toys dangling from it at the same time. Music or loud noises are therefore only suitable to a limited extent, especially at the beginning, as your child’s hearing is not yet properly developed. Therefore, always pay attention to the signals of your child. If he vehemently resists playing with the bow, cries very often or pushes the play bow away, you should rather wait a little longer before using one. It makes little sense to force your baby to do certain things.
At the age of 10 months , your child can even use his thumb and forefinger. The more skills he learns, the less he will want to engage with the play bow. Reaching for certain toys quickly becomes boring. As soon as your baby can crawl, it will want to explore its environment further, which is why a play bow will then probably only arouse your child’s interest to a limited extent.
Many play arches are supplied with a so-called activity blanket. This means that your baby is always comfortable and has a certain amount of room to move. Of course, there are also play arches without blankets. These can be interesting for you if you already have a play blanket. However, there are also models that have music or sound functions in addition to the classic toys. This can be in the form of animal sounds. Often, these play blankets are powered by batteries, which is why you should find out beforehand exactly which ones you need.
Since your child often explores the play bow and its toys with its mouth, the material must not contain any harmful ingredients. Therefore, first check the manufacturer’s specifications so that you can rule out the possibility of your baby inhaling toxic substances. Also, small parts must not be contained in any case, otherwise there is a risk of suffocation. It is also important that you clean the toys regularly. Otherwise, bacteria and germs will accumulate, which could harm your child.
A play bow is a great way to develop your baby’s motor skills. He learns to reach for different toys in a playful way and can first try them out without having to hold an object in his hand for a longer period of time. Of course, the play bow should also be fun for your child. If you notice that your child doesn’t feel comfortable with it or doesn’t know what to do with it, you should wait a little longer before using a play bow.