Five Tummy Time Toys

Encourage All-Important Tummy Time

I can't tell you how many times I have heard parents say that their baby hates tummy time, and I have to say I understand that completely. More often than not, newborns will vocalize their unhappiness about playing on their bellies.

But tummy time is critical to a baby's physical development, so it's important that frustrated parents don't throw their hands up in the air and stop trying. You can start tummy time early on and break it up into five to ten minute increments throughout the day if your baby gets fussy. With time and practice, your baby can come to enjoy this important playtime, and these five great tummy time toys will help.

Tummy Time Mats

baby play gym
Use a baby play gym during tummy time. PriceGrabber

A tummy time play mat provides a soft surface and features bold colors and toys to entertain your baby while he or she is on their belly. This Manhattan Toy tummy time mat has a mirror, BPA-free plastic rings and rattles, and crinkle paper. Some, like Tiny Love tummy time mat, have a horseshoe shaped pillow, like a mini Boppy, to help prop or support your baby during playtime.


Baby Mirror Toys
Manhattan Toy Company makes several baby mirror toys. PriceGrabber

Once a baby's vision begins to develop, they love to look at faces, even if it's their own face peeping back at them. As your baby grows, you can start playing play mirror games to further their cognitive and physical development. You've probably already introduced your baby to mirrors, but a mirror toy is something they can explore on their own.

Place your baby on their tummy in front of a mirror toy and watch them become enamored by the face staring back at them. If your baby tends to get fussy during tummy time, the mirror might help distract them from the fact that they're stuck on their belly.

Play Gyms

Baby on play gym.
Baby on play gym. Getty/Moment/Michael Honor

Play gyms are like beefed up version of play mats. Mats feature toys that are connected to the play area, while play gyms have dangling toys, mirrors, teethers and even music. The biggest difference, however, is price. Play gyms are a bit pricier, but you get what you pay for. Your little one can be entertained on their belly and their back.

Most play gyms don't have the supportive pillows that some play mats do, but this Baby Einstein play gym comes with a small pillow for extra comfort.

Wrist and Ankle Rattles

Wrist and Ankle Rattles
Your baby might enjoy the sounds and feel of wrist and ankle rattles. PriceGrabber

Wrist and ankle rattles are great toys for newborns who are a bit limited when it comes to playtime capabilities. As a baby kicks their feet and flails their arms, rattles make noise and the bright colors stimulate their vision.

I've also found that my baby chews or sucks her wrist rattle while she plays on her belly. Having something to pacify her seems to help extend her tummy time a bit longer.

Balls and Rolling Toys

tummy time toys
You can use rolling toys during tummy time. PriceGrabber

There are lots of things you can do with balls or rolling toys to help entertain your baby. Small balls can be rolled back and forth in front of him as a visual distraction or held in hands to suck on. You can use larger exercise balls or roller toys, like the Infantino roller pictured, to position your baby on. It's inflatable and rolls back toward baby to promote crawling.

Drape your baby over the ball and, holding securely, roll your baby as he or she lies on top of the ball. You can even add in slightly bouncing movements to his comfort level. To maintain interest and strengthen language development, incorporate simple songs and talk to your baby as you play together.

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