At this age, baby is ready to advance to the next level when it comes to their toys. Choose toys that are able to stimulate and encourage active participation.
Education & Motivation
At seven to nine months old, your baby is now developing the ability to master new fine motor skills. They now have more dexterity and can pick up cheerios! This is also the time for more mobility, going from sitting to scooting on their belly to rocking back and forth on hands and knees and now they are crawling – all over the place! Time to double check all your safety precautions and make sure they have a safe play environment with safety gates where necessary.
Facing Changing Needs
You now will be facing the changing needs of your child to master new skills and knowledge. Introducing new activities and toys to challenge their quickly developing senses will help to keep them interested. Books are always a good place to continue developing their communication skills. Board books are made to endure a little hardship, so these are a good investment. Read to them, pointing out words and pictures and letting them turn the pages. Next, hand baby the book and let them "read" to you.
At this age babies can forge strong attachments to a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. Make sure these items are flame retardant or flame resistant. Make sure there is nothing that can be pulled off or choked on and that the item is machine washable.
Keeping Idle Hands Busy
Busy boards, preferably ones you can just lay on the floor for baby to play with, have doors that open and shut, bells that clang, things that spin and slide back and forth. With the different shapes, textures and colors it gives them, they get a whole wide range of perceptions and things to keep their little hands busy.
Sorting it Out
Another great toy is a shape sorter. The shapes fit into a box or ball and are different colors. Round, square, triangle and rectangle are some of the options to choose from. Baby must pick up the shape and try to fit it into the correct opening. Talk about fine motor development! It also stimulates their mind to reason out the puzzle. A set of open blocks that all fit down inside each other is another effective tool to improve reasoning and motor skills, along with stacking blocks to improve dexterity. A good old-fashioned pail should be in the mix so they can fill it up and dump it back out just for the fun of it!
Rock and Roll
Balls to roll back and forth between you, with an occasional slip that sends it across the room to encourage baby to crawl after it is a fair game, along with push toys that can be rolled along the floor, toys that squeak when pushed, or a music toy that baby can manipulate are all fantastic ideas.
Remember that with all these toys and activities, it is your supervision and interaction that makes it fun as well as educational for your child. You set the tone for them to learn and respond by the way you respond to them. Lots of praise and positive reinforcement for a job well done or a game well played is essential, along with giving them time to play and learn on their own.