I confess this age group of 6-9 months is the start of my favorite baby stage. At this point, your baby might now sleep through the night, start sitting up independently, and even start crawling. The world of play begins to expand at this age, as your baby can do and understand more within their environment. From 6 months to 2 years, so much happens fast for a baby, and it’s fun to watch.
I am an occupational therapist by trade, and now I’m a stay-at-home mom. I’ve been through the baby stage three times with my children and worked with young kids for years before becoming a mother. When choosing toys for our babies, I always thought about purpose and function and how the toys would foster our children’s development. But babies are expensive, so I recommend budget-friendly toys, and if they are going to be an investment, you can use them for months. Even toys for babies 0-3 months and toys for babies 3-6 months of age can be beneficial and entertaining for babies in the 6-9-month stage. After using with patients and my own children, here are 9 of the best toys for 6-9 month-olds.
9 Best Toys for 6-9 Months
1. Peek-a-Boo Elephant
I dare you and your baby to play with this toy and not smile. All three of our kids played with this one, and it’s one of my all-time favorites. Babies at this age are beginning to grasp a concept called object permanence, or the understanding that an object or person still exists even if you can’t see or hear them. Because they are beginning to understand that things and people do not disappear when they’re not immediately visible, games like peek-a-boo are incredibly fun. This elephant toy is interactive; his ears flap when he sings and plays peek-a-boo. I promise you – your baby will love this one. And you’ll love it too!
Yes, blocks. As an OT, I carried my blocks everywhere I went. They are wonderful toys for 6-9 month olds that are beneficial to building a baby’s visual motor skills. Babies love learning how to stack blocks, and during their toddler and young childhood years, they will learn how to replicate structures with blocks. They are basic toys, but every kid needs a set of blocks. I like this set because they feature bright, engaging colors and pictures. Plus, unlike traditional wooden blocks (which I also love), these lightweight plastic blocks are slightly softer, so when a baby learns how to stack a tower, the blocks won’t hurt them if they topple over.
3. What’s Inside the Box
As babies increasingly explore their environment, they learn about all kinds of things by touching and feeling. All this time spent exploring their environment helps develop an essential life skill called stereognosis. It is the ability to recognize an object using your sense of touch without visual and auditory information. Imagine how often you reach into your purse or diaper bag looking for your keys, phone, or another object and can locate it based purely on your sense of touch. This toy helps foster that skill, and your 6-9 month old will love it. When a baby is very young, they will love to pull the toys out of the box, and you can help them label the toys with their names, like “car” or “flower.” Babies can reach into the box and tell you the item’s name as they expand their language. As your child ages, you can play a more advanced version of the game by having them reach in and tell you the object’s name before pulling it out of the box.
4. Spinning Stacker
Stacking rings are a classic toy, and I’ve always loved this “spin” on the original concept. This stacker features six double-sided gears that spin onto the pole as they drop. At this age, babies can understand the concept of cause and effect and are working on their fine motor skills. This toy is excellent for both these areas and visual motor coordination. At the start, you will need to help your baby place the gears onto the pole, but eventually, your baby will learn how to do it, and they will play with it again and again!
5. Marble Run
This is not your typical marble run with small parts that pose a choking risk for babies. Instead, this marble run features larger balls that roll and drop between the levels to entertain them. At 6-9 months, babies can open their hands to drop toys. When your baby is a newborn, they cannot control their hands fully, so when they grab something, they hold on tight until their hand opens randomly. But now that they’re older, they have more control over when they let go of objects, making this toy the perfect fun activity for your 6-9 month old.
6. Crawl Along Toy
I’m a big fan of tummy time; at 6-9 months, some babies are ready to crawl and can move around on the floor. This toy rolls around and encourages them to chase it for fun gross motor play. We can attest because Baby Chick’s Editor in Chief’s daughter started crawling when she was trying to go after her crawl-along toy! It features songs, sounds, and lights and includes three languages for learning shapes, numbers, and colors.
7. Tissue Box Toy
Who knew pulling out tissues could be so much fun? If you’ve ever been around a baby, you know they love to take things out of containers. This is a fundamental skill for a baby to learn – the ability to grasp something and take it out. Eventually, they will also learn to put them back in, but for now, they are really into the “take out” game. This toy features a soft box full of lightweight scarves and sensory crinkle paper. Baby will love to take out the fabric, and you can even show them how fun it is to throw the lightweight scarves and watch them float back down. They will learn the difference in properties between the thicker crinkle paper and the scarves, all during play! This one is sure to be one of their favorites.
8. Simple Activity Cube
Activity cubes and activity centers are so beneficial for learning through play. At this age, babies may still be a bit young for the standard activity cubes, but this more basic one is perfect for this age group. It has basic push-button features and is small enough for your baby to sit and play independently. This is one of the best toys for 6-9 month babies to learn simple cause and effect and fine motor manipulation.
9. Smart Stages Puppy
This toy was another favorite of our household. Learning and identifying body parts is an essential concept for kids, and this puppy toy introduces body parts along with shapes, colors, and counting. Songs are a great way to introduce new ideas to kids; the songs this puppy sings are fun and engaging. Baby is going to love playing with it again and again.
At this age, babies become more independent in exploring their environment. Most can sit up by themselves, allowing a new visual field to play. Since they are now sitting, they can use both hands during play, which introduces an important aspect of fine motor development – bilateral hand use. Babies need to learn how to stabilize an object with one hand while manipulating it with the other, and many toys on this list do just that. At each stage of learning, play continues to be an essential part of their day, and it’s a fantastic way to bond with your baby, too. Child development specialists refer to it as “learning through play,” and it’s an excellent way for a baby to have fun while also learning valuable life skills that will lead to independence. As always, have fun playing!
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