Stimulate Baby Development: 7 to 12 Months

The best baby games to play are those that help them practice the physical, mental, emotional and social challenges they face at their particular age. For example, your one-year-old will benefit from push toys that they can cruise around with, while your four year old is learning the value of sharing toys during playtime.

7-9 months
In this age bracket, your baby's mobility is really taking flight. Some babies are able to sit up and crawl by now and are just a step away from pulling themselves up to a standing position. The more active your baby becomes, the more she'll appreciate toys that challenge her.

  • at the zoo: pretend that you're at the zoo and teach her what noises all the animals make. It's great if you have a book of animals that you can point to. It's even better if you dance around like a monkey on the floor when exploring the monkey's vocal ranges.
  • utensils: that's right, your baby loves to play with wooden spoons and salad bowls. While preparing dinners, help your baby choose some safe utensils to explore and enjoy the quiet time (unless of course she's chosen to use the pots and pans as her first drum set).
  • balls: balls are great to play with, whether your baby wants to squeeze them or play catch with them. Hacky sacks work well. You might try setting your infant on an activity blanket and slowly rolling the ball toward her so she can pick it up.
  • toys that go vroom: that's right, because your baby's mobility is developing, she'll be interested in toys that move. She can scoot along to a toy train or car.
  • stuffed animals: the attachment a child builds to a favorite stuffed animal is good for their emotional development. A familiar stuffed animal will also help keep your child stable throughout the tumultuous growing up she has to do.
  • books: your infant may now be able to pay slightly more attention to the book as you read to her. Showing her how to read allows her to mentally practice reading so that when she later starts reading, she's a step ahead of the game.
  • building blocks: wooden blocks or stackable rings are a great way for your infant to practice their pincer grasp. It also teaches babies important things about gravity.


10-12 months
Your baby is probably cruising around, holding onto furniture as she attempts to walk across the room. At this age, babies also love to imitate the things their parents do. Infants also gain the ability to put smaller objects in larger containers.

  • telephone: your infant will love talking into the telephone, pretending to have a convers

ation, just as they've seen you do many times.

  • pushable toys: because most babies can cruise, or walk while holding onto something, they love push toys.
  • balls: infants still love playing with balls. Instead of rolling the ball across the floor at your baby, now you can give the ball to your infant and allow them to bounce it around on the floor.
  • storage boxes: your infant will enjoy storing away little treasures, such as small stuffed animals in boxes. Providing clear plastic containers is even more fun as you can see the object inside.
  • building blocks: your baby will be able to construct more intricate structures with the building blocks now. Providing a colorful array to choose from stimulates their visual senses.


Get Involved in Play Time
Most importantly, remember that for your infant to grow emotionally, you need to involve yourself in playtime. This fosters a sense of trust and closeness.

At times, as a developed society, we forget the importance of the early years in developing the character of a child. Studies were performed on the parenting practices of North Americans versus the Kalahari Bush people. It was found that North Americans were more apt to offer praise to a child when they learned to use a new toy. Kalahari Bush people, on the other hand, offered warm praise when their infants interacted with individuals in the clan. It was found that this greatly impacted how those infants grew up to view their world. The infants who were raised to focus on the objects in their environment tended to grow up with materialistic needs. Alternately, infants raised to appreciate social interaction developed into individuals who valued peers above possessions.

Therefore, remember that it's important to involve yourself in your child's life from the start. Take every opportunity you can spare and spend it in playtime with your infant.