9 months +
- Baby doll (anything they can pretend to feed and take care of)
- Pull-pull toys
- A stacking toy or a toy where they can put things in and out.
- Nesting cups or boxes (cups or boxes that fit inside each other)
- Finger puppets (animal puppets are great for learning animals!
Why: Your baby is about to become super curious. Babies this age will mouth everything (be careful of choking hazards), will want to build and knock down blocks, and will love putting things in and out of boxes. Babies play will often include the gross motor stage, which means your baby is working on moving to crawl, pulling up to stand, and then walking!
If you have concerns about chemicals in toys you can check out: www.healthytoys.org
Remember, if it needs batteries, it probably requires less creativity on your baby’s part. Keep it simple. Your baby will learn more from exploring and playing with blocks than from a complicated, battery-operated toy!
Watch out for “educational” toys that claim to provide extra learning opportunities for language, reading/writing, and math. Many of these toys don’t require any creativity to play with and are “adult centered”. Something that seems very simple is often the most stimulating for an infant.
If possible, organize your baby’s toys by type (for example, blocks, animals, music, books, dolls, wooden). This will help your baby to sort objects later on and be able to easily choose what to play with!
- Play games like the itsy bitsy spider using all the hand motions that help babies work on fine motor skills and touch.
- Make a family and friends photo album. Your baby will love to get to know different faces and practice telling them apart. As an added bonus, your baby will also come to recognize loved ones who cannot be close by.
- Put a blanket or burp cloth over a favorite object and ask where it is. Help your baby look for it. Lift up the blanket and say “there it (fill in object) is!” You can do the same thing with peekaboo by covering your face and saying “peekaboo!” as you remove the cover.
- Introduce plastic to-go containers during bath time. Fill the bowls with water and pour them out on your baby. Babies love to experience how incredible water is and you will probably see that your baby tries to “catch” the water in their hands.
- Introduce cheerios and put them on the counter for your baby to practice picking up. (Keeping a watchful eye in the beginning).
- Kiss different body parts on your baby and label them. You can make up your own words or use a poem (for example, “on your face you have a nose. And way down here you have ten toes. Two eyes that blink and a head to think. You have a chin and very near, you have two ears to help you hear. Arms go high and arms go low and a great big hug to say hello!”)
- Start a nap or bedtime ritual with a poem or song. For example, put your baby on your lap, wrap your arms around him and say (in your silly and excited voice): “A wonderful woman lived in a shoe. She had so many children she didn’t know what to do. She held them, she rocked them and tucked them into bed. I love you, I love you is what she said.” ** When you say the lines, add hand movements and use the words to guide you.