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There are many great activities to do with a 9-month-old. At this stage, your baby is almost a toddler and can do much more than they were able to do before. They are more independent, more active and more mobile, which is both great and a little destabilizing for some parents.
- Is crawling or is about to start. Some babies can even walk while supporting themselves on furniture
- Can feed themselves with their fingers
- Is expressing himself or herself more often and is starting to say their first words (some of which you actually understand 😊)
- Starts pointing at things and may have even started waving bye-bye
- Is eating more solid foods
- Is able to grasp objects with greater ease
There are many things to do with a 9-month-old. Below are a few ideas of different activities that can promote your baby’s development.
Activities for 9-month-old: 5 activities that promote their language and communication skills
1) Name objects.
2) Describe what your baby is looking at using simple words “That’s Garfield” or “That’s Garfield the cat”.
3) Repeating the sounds your baby is making back to them helps them learn basic communication skills: listening, talking back, and so on
4) Start setting boundaries by explaining things to your baby using simple sentences. This is especially important when it comes to dangerous objects – “No, that’s dirty” – and sets the stage for the development of important communication skills.
5) Teach your baby simple communication tips – for example you can start teaching them to say no by shaking their heads
6) Show your baby pictures. Point to the different images as you name them.
Activities for 9-month-olds to promote fine motor skills
7) Let your child practice their pincer grasp by picking up their food with their thumb and forefinger and feeding themselves
8) While most babies begin showing an interest in using utensils to self-feed between 10 and 12 months, your 9-month-old may be keen to start.
Spoons are the easiest utensils to begin with, and this spoon is a great option because it does not conduct heat and is gentle on their gums.
9) The easiest way to teach your baby to use their spoon is to role model. Seat opposite them and let them see how you are using yours.
10) At 9 months, you can start teaching your baby to wave bye.
11) Give your baby wooden bricks to hold in each hand. You can ask them to pass the bricks to you, then pass them back.
12) Put on music and encourage your child to clap to the beat.
13) Encourage your baby to turn pages in books. Flap books are also great at reinforcing their fine motor skills.
14) Get your baby edible finger paint and let them unleash the artist within.
15) An easy and fun activity that your child will enjoy is putting things into containers then taking them out again. Blocks are great for this.
16) Give your baby two objects that they can bang together.
17) Hide a toy, for example under a blanket, and let your baby look for it
18) Place different objects (shapes, colors, sizes) into a transparent container and let your baby pull them out.
Activities for 9-month-olds that promote their gross motor skills
19) Hold a toy out of your baby’s reach to encourage them to reach for it
20) Leave toys “everywhere” to pique your child’s interest and encourage them to crawl to them
21) Stack pillows and encourage your baby to climb over them
22) Put your baby next to furniture that they can pull on
23) If you have stairs in your home, allow your baby to climb them under your supervision
24) Get your baby a transparent tunnel (so you can see what they’re up to) and let them crawl through it
25) A pikler arch is one of the best toys for developing your baby’s gross motor skills. It can help them learn to pull up, climb, crawl under, grip, balance, and so on. The best thing about Pikler triangles is that if you choose one like this one, your baby can use it for years.
26) Push toys and riding toys are great to develop your baby’s gross motor skills.
27) Give your baby a large ball that they can roll and follow.
Activities that develop toddlers’ social skills
28) Teach your baby about taking turns by giving them an object then asking them to return it to you, then repeating this activity.
29) Making eye contact whenever you are talking to them will help develop their social skills.
30) Make faces and watch as your child tries to imitate you.
31) Talk to your child about everything. Tell them about your day, about where you are taking them, about who’s coming to visit. Talk as often as you can about everyday life issues.
Sensory activities to do with a 9-month-old
32) Provide objects with different textures and let your child familiarize themselves with them.
33) Touch them with objects with different textures – something soft, something prickly, something rough, etc
34) Encourage your child to crawl on different safe surfaces.
35) Play different kinds of music or expose your child to different sounds.
36) Most babies begin to appreciate sand-play at around 12 months but if your child is ready, let them experience the texture of sand under your supervision. Be attentive to avoid getting sand into their eyes.
37) Introduce your baby to foods with different tastes and textures.
Why reading is one of the best activities for a 9-month-old
There are so many benefits associated with reading to your 9-month-old baby. They help their language development, they offer great moments for bonding and they are one of the best activities if you are looking for something calm or if you simply want to prepare your baby for their nap.
At 9 months, your baby will enjoy books with different textures, but they will also love flap books that they can manipulate. They will appreciate books with bright, bold or contrasting colors and those with lots of rhymes and rhythm.
Let your baby touch and manipulate their books and help them point at the images displayed in the books
Here are five books that they will love looking at, touching or listening to you read: Llama Llama nighty-night, Wheels on the bus, Open the barn door, Tiger days: a book of feelings, and The very hungry caterpillar
Book subscriptions are also a great option because the best age-appropriate books for your baby are delivered to your doorstep. If this is something you would like to explore, check out the award-winning Bookroo.
The best toys that promote your child’s development at 9 months
While at six months your baby enjoyed rattles, at 9 months they will prefer interactive toys that they can open, press, turn, twist and so on.
This is the age of manipulation, and your baby will adore cause and effect toys, meaning those that help them understand that their actions can lead to a certain response.
The best toys for a 9-month-old therefore encourage experimentation. Here are six options you may want to check out:
Fisher-Price Monster Pop-Up Surprise will encourage your baby to push, pull and twist. It is a great toy for developing their fine motor skills.
Infantino press and stay sensory blocks will provide hours of play and will help develop your baby’s fine motor skills.
Fischer Price’s Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth will help develop your baby’s motor skills and will also provide interactive play.
This Wooden Bead Maze will help develop their fine motor skills.
Interactive push toys will help your baby develop so many skills. They’ll love the Vtech sit-to-stand learning walker or the woodoen Labebe baby walker.
Although your baby is now ready for more “grown up” toys, they still need toys that make them feel secure, so hang on to their favorite teddy! Also, staying close as your 9-month-old experiments with different games and activities will help them know that they are safe.
Activities to do with a 9-month-old: Why you need a routine
At 9 months, your baby thrives on routines. They will appreciate having a regular feeding, bath and sleeping routine, and they will also thrive on consistent schedules – a story before their nap, a short walk after their snack, a period of play after their bath, and so on.
Your baby’s memory at nine months is improving, and routines are important to help them improve that memory. In other words, if you always read them a story before their nap, reading a story will trigger the memory that it’s almost time for their nap and therefore make the transition easier.
How to ensure that your baby stays safe during their activities
Your baby is moving around a lot more at 9 months so if you want them to participate in activities safely, you need to make your home safe if you haven’t already!
- Use gates and electrical outlet covers to babyproof your home.
- Cabinet and drawer latches will also keep your child safe.
- Lock away any medicines and cleaning products or put them out of your baby’s reach.
- All fragile, sharp and breakable objects should be kept out of their reach.
Final thoughts on activities for 9-month-olds
9 months is an age when your child is learning many new things and can be quite the explorer, so it’s important to never leave them unattended.
While there are many great activities that will help them develop many different skills, it is best to avoid screens at this age.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies under 18 months should be kept away from screens, but they can video chat with family members and friends because this is viewed as quality social interaction.
While organizations such as the World Health Organization suggests that children under two should be kept away from screens, this suggestion has been challenged as there is currently no conclusive research about the most effective screen-time limits. Also, a family with other children may be unable to completely limit their baby’s screen exposure.
The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to activities for your 9-month old is that varying the types of activities that you expose them to and ensuring that they have as much face-to-face interaction as possible will help in their development.
References and further reading