Our blog post this month comes from Kristina from The doodle king. As a qualified educator, Kristina has extensive experience in playing with children at child height, and on the floor, to develop their abilities and just have a good time together. Here, Kristina shares some ideas for fun play on a Hyggi play mat.
After we got our Hyggi play mat, we spend even more time together down on the floor. I'm a trained pedagogue in a nursery, so I'm used to the adults sitting at child height - that is, on the floor with the little ones. But it can be hard on the body to sit and lie on a hard floor for too long. That's why my body and I are very happy with our Hyggi play mat. It is made of memory foam, which makes it nice and soft, but at the same time firm enough that, among other things, you can easily build towers of magnatiles and place toy animals in a row on top of them. The Hyggi playmat also ensures that neither baby, older children nor parents sit or lie on a cold floor. The playmat is easy to clean, and I really appreciate that as a mother of a gypsy baby.
Children play based on their developmental stage, and right now my 6-month-old baby is most concerned with learning to control his own body. He practices rolling, getting into a crawling position and moving forward. And here it's great to have a soft play mat under him, so he doesn't get too many bumps along the way. When he learns to crawl, I can challenge him a bit by putting a pillow under the mat so that a small hill is formed for him to climb.
It is not only my baby who strengthens his motor development on the play mat. This applies to the whole family. My two big boys, soon to be 5 and 6.5 years old, are practicing standing on their heads, on their hands and walking in bridges. I myself also love to spend some time on my head, and the Hyggi play mat is a super nice underlay for this.
Leg, leg, leg
The playmat is more than a soft surface for movement – it also invites play and immersion. We have been doing several different sensory games on it, for example colored chickpeas and beans. We put puzzles and build towers of magnetic toys on them. And if we feel like reading a book, we lie down on the playmat so that all three children can look at the pictures while I read aloud.
I love massage and so do my children. Occasionally I find a pillow and put it on the playmat, and then I tell a little story while massaging one of the boys. The stories vary, but can, for example, sound like this:
"It was a lovely summer day, when the sun warmed the earth." Stroke your child's back with your palms.
"But suddenly it starts to blow." Let the fingers stroke around the back.
"The wind pushes some big, black clouds over and covers the sun." Press with the palm of your hand around the back.
"Heavy raindrops drip from the big, black clouds. Soon after, it pours down.” Dab your fingers around the child's back. First slowly, then faster and faster.
"But then the rain stops, and the sun peeks out from behind the clouds again." Massage in circles with both palms.
"Then a little cat drops by. It walks through the grass while curiously looking around.” Let two fingers 'walk' across the entire back.
"The cat lies down on the ground and feels how the sun warms its body while it takes a little nap." Let both palms circulate around the entire back.
Before I received the play mat I thought it would have to be packed away once in a while and that we would just take it out when we need it. But it has been lying around ever since we got it because we are so happy with it and we use it for so many different things every day.
If you have small children, I would recommend buying a Hyggi playmat. You can enjoy it for many years to come!