9 Baby Toys and Gear for 6- to 9-to 12-Month-Old 2021
Although all ages and phases of a baby’s development are amazing, six to nine months old just might be one of the best. Gone are the marathon feeding sessions and the seemingly endless stream of dirty diapers of those first few months. The fog of those early newborn days has lifted, and in its place is an alert and curious little babe who loves to smile, babble and, most of all, play!
Playing with your child is important at any age, but especially as your baby transitions from a tiny newborn to a slightly older baby. Babies around this age love nothing more than interacting with the world around them—it’s how they learn, reach milestones and develop their senses. Playing with them is not only fun but good for building physical and cognitive skills as well as social and emotional intelligence.
Baby’s Development Milestones from 6 to 9 Months
There are so many developmental leaps to look forward to between six and nine months. Here are some of the milestones to keep an eye out for, according to the CDC, and how to incorporate play along the way. (And remember that all babies develop at their own individual pace, so this is only a broad guideline. If you ever have any questions about your child’s development, don’t hesitate to ask your pediatrician.)
Social and Emotional Milestones:
- Recognizing familiar faces (and unfamiliar ones!)
- Enjoying playing with others
- Responding to other people’s emotions
Try this: Use a baby-safe mirror to show your little one their own face. Smile, make funny faces and be silly, and show them how it reflects! There are even simple board books that focus on faces and emotions, and they can help your baby recognize different facial expressions.
Language and Communication Milestones:
- Responding to sounds by making sounds
- Stringing vowels together while babbling
- Making sounds to show joy and displeasure
- Responding to their name
Try this: Talk and sing with your baby throughout the day. Encourage communication by pointing at objects, talking about them and using books with common first words and household objects. Use musical toys to sing together, and practice reciprocal play by encouraging your little one to “sing back” to you. And when you get tired from singing all day, keep the music going with favorite children’s musicians like Raffi, Laurie Berkner, or Greg & Steve.
- Showing curiosity about the world
- Trying to grab things that are out of reach
- Passing things from one hand to another
- Chewing on just about anything
Try this: Let your baby play with—and then drop or knock over—soft balls, toys and stacking cups, then pick them up and give them back; it’s a great way to start teaching the concept of cause and effect. And when they start chewing, give your little one a teether and watch them go to town!
Movement and Physical Development Milestones:
- Rolling in both directions
- Supporting their weight when standing
- Sitting without support
- Rocking back and forth in preparation for crawling
Try this: Use an activity gym to encourage your baby to move, explore and practice reaching for objects and sitting up. You can also position a soft ball just out of reach to encourage your little one to move toward it. You can even start rolling it back and forth to each other.
To help your growing baby achieve all those important milestones—and have fun doing it—we’ve curated a list of some parent favorites for developmental toys. And if you’re looking for a curated book or toy collection on the regular, be sure to check out these subscription boxes that you can sign up for that are specially designed by age and developmental stage.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys at Amazon
“Made from BPA-free plastic, the First Years Stack Up Cup Toys come in a set of eight, and are great for developing a variety of skills.”
Best Budget: Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror at Amazon
“Great for teaching your baby social skills such as reading emotions on faces—his own, or those who join him during playtime.”
Best for Fine Motor Skills: Fisher Price Snap-Lock Beads at Amazon
“Great for imaginative play — they can be used as crowns, necklaces, leashes for dogs, or anything else your baby’s mind can conjure.”
Best for Gross Motor Skills: Fisher-Price 1-2-3 Crawl Along Monkey at Amazon
“Encourages their babies to move in order to be able to touch it, because touch rewards them with different sounds.”
Best for Sensory Play: Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set at Amazon
“The balls stimulate all five senses, and encourage early movement such as crawling and rolling.”
Best for Language: Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book at Amazon
“The narrative is simple and cute, keeping even young babies engaged in the dialogue. Reviewers say this book makes reading fun.”
Best for Developing Cause and Effect: SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle at Amazon
“This light-up rattle changes colors every time you shake it, teaching your baby that actions have consequences.”
Best for Cognitive Development: Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym at Amazon
“Consisting of a beautiful, soft playmat with multiple textures, it comes with two arches upon which hang a variety of dangling toys.”
What to consider when buying toys for a 6-month-old
Your 6-month-old loves to play, play, play — and his favorite people to play with are you … and himself. “Six months old is the ideal time to introduce mirrors and personalized books or toys, as this is the age they start responding to their own name,” says Sarah Lytle, Ph.D., director of the Outreach and Education division at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington.
Before you purchase toys for a 6-month old, take these factors into consideration:
- Developing language skills. Babies may be starting to babble at this age. You can help your little one develop his pronunciation and vocabulary skills by pointing out images on a toy or book and saying the word loudly and clearly.
- Reciprocal play. Start taking turns and following your baby’s lead, whether it’s with a babble conversation where the baby takes pauses and you encourage him to continue by saying something like “Oh! Is that so? Tell me more…” or a toy that you pass back and forth.
- Safety. Most 6-month-olds are able to roll from side to side — and some of them can roll pretty quickly. You’ll want to make sure play spaces and the surrounding areas are clear of any potential hazards, and it’s particularly important that you do not leave them unattended on a high surface like a bed or changing table.
Encourage baby to smile, babble, and grow with these fun toys.
TOP TOYS FOR 6-MONTH-OLDS
- Best Book for 6-Month-Olds: ‘My First I See You: A Mirror Book’ by Eric Carle
- Top Best High Chair Toy for 6-Month-Olds: Sassy Wonder Wheel Activity Center
- Best Pretend Play Toy for 6-Month-Olds: Infantino Flip and Peek Fun Phone
- Best Baby Mirror for 6-Month-Olds: Galt Ambi Toys Baby Mirror
- Most Best Learning Toy for 6-Month-Olds: Babies Love Colors Chunky Lift-a-Flap Board Book
- Best Educational Toy for 6-Month-Olds: LeapFrog Spin & Sing Alphabet Zoo
- Top Best Activity Center for 6-Month-Olds: Skip Hop Baby Activity Center
- Best Development Toy for 6-Month-Olds: Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks with Storage Bucket
- Top Best Bath Toy for 6-Month-Olds: Munchkin Float and Play Bubbles Bath Toy
Best Overall: The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys
Made from BPA-free plastic, the First Years Stack Up Cup Toys come in a set of eight and are great for development. Stacking and nesting the cups help babies learn fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination.1 Playing with them together helps babies understand spatial relationships, and knocking them over teaches them cause and effect.
As an added bonus, the First Years Stack Up Cup Toys are safe to chew on when your baby is teething and have holes in the bottom for water play. Not to mention that the cups, which have numbers imprinted on the bottom, are useful teaching tools for the toddler years and
Best for Developing Cause and Effect: SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle
Buy on AmazonBuy on Buybuy BABYBuy on Bed Bath & Beyond
Consisting of a tactile, ridged base with a knobby neck and a light-up head, the SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle changes colors every time you shake it, teaching your baby that actions have consequences. Other features include a mirror at the base, and a smiley face on the light-up head, which encourages social interactions with the object.
Learning cause and effect eventually leads to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills, which rely on the ability to weigh empirical evidence to come to conclusions.1SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle Review
Best Budget: Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror
Buy on AmazonBuy on Buybuy BABY
Measuring at ten inches high, the Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror has an easel back that can easily be propped up on a floor or playmat. The mirror is great for teaching your baby social skills such as reading emotions on faces—his own, or those who join him during playtime.2
The mirror also has a ladybug with a black and white spinning ball as a center, which encourages him to practice the fine motor skill of grabbing. A bright yellow bumblebee at the top edge rotates and clicks, encouraging tactile exploration.The 8 Best Tummy Time Toys of 2021
Best for Fine Motor Skills: Fisher Price Snap-Lock Beads
Featuring twelve brightly colored beads in either geometric or vehicle shapes, the Fisher-Price Snap-Lock Beads are a wonderful tool for encouraging fine motor skills that will later be used in skills such as writing,3 eating, cutting, and using computer keyboards. The Snap-Lock Beads click together with a satisfying pop. Building chains of the beads develops tiny muscles, as well as hand-eye coordination.
Made of BPA-free plastic, the Snap-Lock Beads are safe to chew on. When locked together in the chain, your baby can drag the beads across the ground, or knock them together. The Snap-Lock Beads are also great for imaginative play—they can be used as crowns, necklaces, leashes for dogs, or anything else your baby’s mind can conjure.
Best for Gross Motor Skills: Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! 1-2-3 Crawl Along Monkey
With features such as a large mirror, bright colors, a light-up face, and the ability to both roll and play music, the Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! 1-2-3 Crawl Along Monkey will keep your baby engaged for long stretches of time, developing social, fine motor, gross motor, and language skills in the process. The toy easily rolls on its circular base, encouraging babies to scoot, pull, or crawl around after it.
When this toy is turned on, it emits a variety of sounds and songs that change as your baby interacts with it. The rolling mechanism can be locked to keep the mirror in place for tummy time, or while your baby rolls around clutching it.
Best for Sensory Play: Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set
Consisting of six balls all in different textures, the Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set is a great tool for encouraging sensory play, which helps develop cognitive and physical skills.4 The balls stimulate all five senses and encourage early movement such as crawling and rolling. They’re exactly the right size and texture to be gripped by tiny hands.
Best for Language: Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book
An absolute classic, “Where is Baby’s Belly Button?” by Karen Katz is a lift-the-flap book that will help you teach your child the different parts of his body. The flaps are not only sturdy enough to withstand some pulling by tiny hands, but also encourage hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
The narrative is simple and cute, keeping even young babies engaged in the dialogue. Research has proven and time again that reading is one of the most effective tools for language development,5 as well as for bonding between children and their caretakers.The 11 Best Board Books
Best for Cognitive Development: Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym
The Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym is the toy that has it all. Consisting of a beautiful, soft playmat with multiple textures and colors that encourage sensory and visual development, it also comes with two arches upon which hang a variety of dangling toys. These include a musical sheep toy, an LED light-up star, a squeaky cloud, a bird rattle, and a mirror shaped like the sun.
The variety and texture of the different objects encourage overall cognitive development, which teaches babies to think, explore, and figure the world out. Measuring 36 inches long by 36 inches wide, the Skip Hop Silver Living Cloud Baby Play Mat is a great addition to any home and will keep your baby occupied for many months of brain development. The 7 Best Baby Play Mats of 2021
What are best toys for 6 month old?
- Most Best Overall: The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys. …
- Best Budget: Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror. …
- Top Best for Fine Motor Skills: Fisher-Price Snap-Lock Beads. …
- Best for Gross Motor Skills: Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! …
- New Best for Sensory Play: Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set. …
- Best for Language: Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?
The 8 best toys for 6-month-old babies to help them learn and develop
- Pop beads. Good for: developing fine motor skills. …
- Activity cubes. Good for: developing gross motor skills. …
- Stacking cups. Good for: developing object permanence. …
- Pop-up toys. …
- Touch and feel books. …
- Push cars. …
- Textured balls. …
- Floor mirrors.
How do I keep my 6 month old entertained?
Sit your baby in front of a mirror and show him how to play peekaboo with his own hands and face. Take a favorite toy and cover it with a blanket. Ask your baby “where did it go?” and see if he tries to pull the blanket away. If he does, clap and lavish him with praise.
How many toys should a 6 month old have?
But the answer to the question of how many toys your baby should have is pretty simple: only as many as is needed to cover a few important bases. Even just three to five of the right toys can provide your baby with all of the stimulation he or she needs to develop and learn.
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The 8 best toys for 6-month-old babies to help them learn and develop. Pop beads. Good for: developing fine motor skills. Activity cubes. Good for: developing gross motor skills. Stacking cups. Good for: developing object permanence. Pop-up toys. Touch and feel books. Push cars. Textured balls. Floor mirrors.
We asked four child development experts for their recommendation on the best books, toys, and other gifts for 6-month-olds, including stacking … Best Book for 6-Month-Olds: ‘My First I See You: A Mirror Book’ by Eric Carle. Best High Chair Toy for 6-Month-Olds: Sassy Wonder Wheel Activity Center. Top Best Pretend Play Toy for 6-Month-Olds: Infantino Flip and Peek Fun Phone. Most Best Baby Mirror for 6-Month-Olds: Galt Ambi Toys Baby Mirror.
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