When Daisy was just six months old one of Grandad’s friends gave us a Mini Top made by the Danish company Gonge. This brightly coloured plastic child-sized ‘bowl’ is now so widely used in young physical education that it has become the logo of the company that makes it.
Gross Motor Control
It’s important for young children to engage in activities which help to develop their sense of balance and their ‘gross motor’ control. Gross motor control describes the crucial physical skills we need for the body; developing muscles for everyday movements such as walking, standing, sitting, running and once mastered these will ultimately lead on to strengthening in all physical activities.
Playing with the Mini Top
Laying in the Mini Top babies and toddlers can safely wobble to and fro and spin around; at first with the help of an adult and then later on their own.
As a doting grandparent I’m always aware of Daisy’s safety. The Mini Top’s clever design makes it safe for young children ensuring that the tilting motion gradually slows down and this prevents the child from tipping over. And the shape of the Mini Top also ensures that Daisy’s head and fingers are protected during her play.
While Daisy was a baby we rocked her gently in the top with it’s special fabric support. Over the following months when we used the Mini Top with Daisy we added coloured plastic balls to maintain support as we carefully rotated it. This activity usually ended with Daisy sitting beside the top and filling it with balls and then enjoying watching the balls as they rolled about.
And now, year later, with a gentle push from one of us, Daisy is confident enough to spin around in the top. She also enjoys introducing her favourite toys to the Mini Top and watching Teddy have a gentle spin. I think that putting Teddy into the top and watching how the top spins around is helping Daisy understand how the top works.
She’s still not ready to sit up in it but will lay back and delight in the sensation of movement.
We all love this unusual piece of play equipment and Daisy looks forward to playing in it when she visits us. And I’m wondering how long it will be before Daisy discovers she can turn the top over and stand on it – more balancing!