Remember that time I posted a list of activities for your 0-3 month old? My tiny little peanut was the inspiration for that post. I can hardly believe that little baby is now 9 months old and is a crawling, climbing, mischief making machine. Babies in the 9-12 month range are really getting to be fun; they’re mobile, they interact with you, and they’re starting to show so much personality!
Babies in this age range also cause a lot of trouble… Currently Olivia’s favorite activities currently include:
- Trying to rip the electrical covers out of the socket.
- Climbing on unstable surfaces.
- Pulling Layla’s hair.
- Dumping out the toy baskets (but not playing with anything in them).
- Searching for pieces of food on the floor.
- Speed crawling around the house to look for my running sneakers (which apparently look delicious to her).
Seems fun (and safe) right? Have no fear, you don’t need to let your child eat your shoes to keep them entertained. Below is a list of tried and true activities that are great for babies in the 9-12 month range.
10 Activities for your 9-12 Month Old
- Puzzles (Fine Motor Skills)- Visual acuity and fine motor skills are developed well enough in babies of this age to start working on some puzzles! Look for puzzles with big colorful pieces that are easy to manipulate like this Melissa & Doug First Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle. It is to be expected that some of the puzzles pieces will be nibbled on, thrown, and used as musical instruments- but that’s okay! These are all ways your babies explores to learn.
- Stacking/Nesting Toys (Fine Motor Skills, Creative Play, and Visual/Spatial Perception)- You cannot go wrong with these toys since, they hit on so many of the important skills for babies! Don’t have a set of nesting blocks? We recommend these Melissa & Doug Deluxe 10-Piece Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks, or just use your measuring cups!
- Peek-A-Boo (Encourages Social Development, Visual Skills, and Gross Motor Skills)- Who doesn’t love a game of peek-a-boo!? There are variety of ways to play this with your little one- hide your face, hide their face, and hide toys or objects. Once they have caught onto the concept encourage them to do the hiding.
- Chasing (Gross Motor Skills)- If your child is on the move, they look for any reason to scoot, crawl, slither, and slide all over the house. Find a straight path in your home (hallways work great for this) and chase your little one down the hall by crawling behind them. Bonus if you have an older sibling that can do the chasing, nothing better than two tired kids at nap time. The giggles that this will elicit are epic. Not only is this great for 9-12 month olds, this lasts well into years 3 and 4.
- Books (Early Literacy Skills, Auditory, and Fine Motor Skills)- Are you noticing a trend here with the books? You should be reading to your baby at EVERY age! Board books are key at this stage for children since they often want to turn the pages themselves, or just like to eat them. We are particularly fond of “bath books” (like the Who’s Playing on the Farm? Magic Bath Book) which are vinyl and can be wiped clean easily.
- Bubbles (Sensory Play, Visual Skills, Gross Motor Skills)- I don’t know a kid on this planet that isn’t obsessed with bubbles. There are so many simple ways to use bubbles: Blow the bubbles to have your little one track them visually, allow children to hold and wave the wand for gross motor stimulation, and let them touch the slimy wet bubbles for sensory play. When you get tired of blowing bubbles for hours on end, invest in one of these awesome bubble blowers like the Gazillion Bubble Hurricane Machine (this is on my wish list for this summer). This is another that 9-12 month old babies and older enjoy.
- Discovery Baskets (Sensory Play)- As I mentioned above, Olivia loves to dump out baskets just to see the contents. She inspects each piece and leaves them strewn about the living room. Create discovery baskets for your child so they can explore new items, textures, scents etc. I find the kitchen to be the best place for finding items to put in this basket. (Ex: a box of macaroni and cheese that makes fun sounds, wooden spoons to bang, empty spice jars to roll, etc.)
- Copy Cat (Social, Verbal, and Motor Skills) – Babies are natural copy cats, it’s how they learn to be a functioning person! Get down on your babies level and interact with them, make noises and hand gestures and give your baby time to respond by imitating you. For children in this age range try blowing raspberries, saying simple consonant-vowel sounds, and making small movements with your arms or hands. Don’t give up if they don’t mimic you the first time, keep practicing! Side note: If you haven’t started baby sign language yet, its not too late! Check out this chart of key words, and give it a try!
- Riding Toys (Spatial Skills) – Any type of movement to children of this age is stimulating! Babies loves to be pushed (just think how nice and quiet they are in the stroller). Pushing toys such as this Step2 Push Around Buggy or Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike are great for kids! If you’re not read to invest in one of these, you can make this work with objects you already have at home! Spread out a blanket and have your baby sit in the middle. Slowly pull the blanket to take your child on a magic carpet ride around your home!
- Pushing Toys (Gross Motor Skills)- As babies prepare for walking, they need lots of practice to gain the balance and stability necessary for taking those first steps. Push toys can help improve children’s balance and stability, while also giving them independence to try standing/moving on their own. Theres a lot of great options out there (like this VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker), but be sure whichever option you choose is heavy enough that it doesn’t go sliding across the room as soon as your little one puts weight on it.
It is important to keep in mind that babies this age want to explore for a very important reason- it is the primary way they learn! Do not feel discouraged if you set up and activity for your little one, and the crawl off to play with a dust bunny. Try leaving the activity out on the floor and let them make their way over it to when they are ready!
What are your favorite ways to play with your 9-12 month old? How do you include older children in this fun?