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Best Toys for Babies 9-12 Months
Updated on
January 4, 2024

Best Toys for Babies 9-12 Months

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Best Toys for Babies 9-12 Months.
Best Toys for Babies 9-12 Months

Babies love to play, especially as they get closer to toddlerhood. Between 9 and 12 months, babies are energetic, uber-curious and eager to explore the world around them as they learn to crawl, cruise and eventually walk. (Time to set up those baby gates!)

Playing with your soon-to-be toddler is a great way to help them meet all of their developmental milestones—and get in a few giggles along the way. There are lots of age-appropriate baby toys to support their growth, as well.

Play helps children thrive, and it’s crucial for little ones entering toddlerhood as they start to truly explore the world around them. Playtime can help develop your baby’s language skills and social-emotional intelligence; it can help them reach physical milestones like sitting independently and crawling; and it can even set the foundation for teaching them complex cognitive concepts like problem solving and object permanence.

Baby’s Development Milestones from 9 to 12 Months

Here are some of the developmental milestones to look out for as your baby approaches one year old, and how play can help, according to the CDC. (These are just general guidelines and each baby meets milestones at their own pace. Be sure to talk with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s development.)

Social and Emotional Milestones from 9 to 12 Months

  • Becoming clingy and crying when you leave (even if you’re just leaving the room)
  • Showing stranger anxiety
  • Imitating people’s movements during play
  • Having favorites when it comes to toys and activities (and people!)

Try this: Set a routine of play a few times each day to encourage bonding, attachment and consistency. During playtime, try building with blocks, doing pretend play or reading a book; just enjoy playing together!

Language and Communication Milestones from 9 to 12 Months

  • Understanding and responding to the word “no”
  • Lots of babbling, copying sounds and gestures
  • Using fingers to point at interesting objects
  • Paying more attention when you talk

Try this: Pass a toy back and forth while saying “my turn, your turn” to help your baby develop a sense of sharing. Use descriptive words to narrate what you’re doing while you’re playing with your little one. For example, if you’re playing with a pounding bench, you can say, “Wow, you just used the small hammer to hit the red ball into the hole!”

Cognitive Milestones from 9 to 12 Months

  • Looking for things you hide (that’s object permanence starting to kick in)
  • Increased interest in exploring objects
  • Correctly identifying images when you say the corresponding word (you say “cat” and baby points to the picture of a cat)
  • Dropping or throwing objects on purpose to watch you pick it up

Try this: Look for toys that encourage tactile stimulation and encourage open-ended play. Things like textured balls, blocks and imaginary play items are all great choices. Many Montessori toys are also great for this.

Movement and Physical Development Milestones from 9 to 12 Months

  • Standing while holding on to furniture or people
  • Crawling (some babies skip crawling altogether, so no worries if your baby goes straight to walking)
  • Pulling up to stand
  • Using a pincer grasp (thumb and first finger) to grab small things like puffs or O-shaped cereal

Try this: Use a push walker to encourage your child to practice walking with assistance. Put a favorite toy just out of reach or use a motorized toy with movement to encourage your little one to crawl.

From pretend play to encouraging crawling, the toys on this list will not only provide hours of entertainment but will also encourage the huge range of developmental milestones that are happening as your little one grows from baby to toddler. (Note: some of the age guidelines for these toys skew older, though they are developmentally okay. As with all toys, be sure there are no small parts or pieces that could be choking hazards, and if your child gets frustrated while playing with the toy, put it away and try it again another day.)

Babylist’s Best Toys for 9 to 12 Months

Object Permanence

These toys may seem like disappearing acts, but your baby is learning to find things that are only temporarily hidden.

Learning to Move

9-12 months is right around when many babies start crawling and cruising. These toys inspire them to get a move on.

Fine Motor Skills

Pinching, pointing, grasping and dropping—these toys keep little hands working hard.

Language Learners

Those first words will come any day now (even if they’re just babbles at first). These favorites can help get baby talking.

Looking for more toys?

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