Best Toys for 9-12-Month-Olds

Most babies are becoming mobile by 9-12 months. Development will vary among babies, but by this time, your child will probably at least be scooting around the room by crawling, “military” crawling, or even walking. By this point in development, your child’s manual dexterity will be much better and he will be using items (spoons and sticks) as play toys. He will no doubt be interacting with his toys by babbling at them. At this age, your child will want to explore his surroundings and any object may be a “toy” so be sure to keep dangerous items out of reach.

Best Toys for 9-12-month-olds

1. Push Toys

image001As the 9-12 month-old begins to be more mobile, and especially as the baby gets up to begin walking, push toys and ride-on toys will be an instant favorite. Be aware that the child at this age will be unsteady, so push toys should have a wide base that will provide excellent support. Expect tumbles as your 9-12 month-old learns to navigate her environment, but know that, if the environment is relatively safe, most falls at this age will involve abruptly sitting down with no lasting damage to the child.

2. Shape Sorters

image002When initially presented with a shape sorter, the child of 9-12 months will not have a clue what to do with the toy. This toy is designed to help your child begin to learn problem-solving skills since each shape will only fit into the box one way. This is one toy that you will want to sit with the child as he learns what is expected. With the brightly colored shapes, this one will provide a good opportunity to begin teaching the names of colors and shapes. This is a toy your child will enjoy for some time.


3. Balls

image003The child of 9-12 months will begin to learn new skills with an old favorite – balls. As he becomes more mobile, the game can be to throw the ball, have the child retrieve it, and throw it back to you. Get a ball that bounces and let the child stand up and begin to bounce it. Balls with noises that happen when bounced will be a favorite. Be sure that the balls you buy are soft since the child at this age will have very little control over where a ball goes. And a child of this age will not be a very good catcher so balls in the face will be very common.

4. Blocks

image004Although your child may have played with blocks before now, the 9-12 month-old will find all sorts of inventive uses for blocks. As her hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills improve, she will begin to stack and build with the blocks. Although she may only be able to stack two or three blocks, if you sit on the floor and stack blocks with her, she will soon discover that it is also fun to knock down the stacks you build.


5. Books

image005For any child, age-appropriate books are one of the best toys you can buy. In this age range, it is particularly important for your child to hear words and make a positive connection between something fun (reading) and you. As speech is developing, the more you can read and talk to the child, the more quickly he will develop his language skills. Interactive books are wonderful for this age child – opening doors, zipping zippers, and other skills will help language development and fine motor skills.

6. Toy Telephone

image006If you use a desktop phone a lot, buy a toy phone that looks like the one you use. If you primarily use a cell phone, there are many toy phones that look like mommy’s or daddy’s phone. Be sure the toy phone makes noises and has buttons the child can push. Even a child who is not yet talking will “talk” on a toy phone as he imitates your actions.



7. Bucket and Shovel

image007If you live near a beach, or if you have a sandbox in your yard or a nearby park, be sure to include a bucket and shovel as a toy for your 9-12 month-old. This perennial favorite can be used as a “fill and dump” toy or to build castles in the sand. At this age, your child’s hand-eye coordination is good enough that he will be happy playing independently for an hour or more with a very inexpensive toy. Watch that he doesn’t put sand in his mouth and that no sand goes into his eyes.

8. Animal Sounds Farm

image008An animal sounds farm is more expensive than a bucket and shovel, but this is a toy that includes a barn and a collection of plastic farm animals that allows the child to explore different animals and the sounds they make. This interactive toy is most appropriate for the older child in this age range since it does require a certain amount of manual dexterity. The barn and farm animals allow your child to open and close doors and produce appropriate animal sounds as he plays with the toy, which can be very engaging.

9. Interactive Instruments

image009As the 9-12 month-old begins to develop more physical dexterity, he will want to play with more interactive toys – and the noisier the better. Musical instruments combine the best of both worlds as your child discovers that hitting on a drum or xylophone causes music – or at least a 9-month-old’s rendition of music. If you do not want to spend a lot of money on actual musical instruments, give him an empty shoe box and an old pan and a plastic hammer or mallet. Show him that it is fun to make noise.

The important thing to remember about children from 9-12 months is that the mental and physical development will be variable from child to child. A toy that captivates one 10-month-old may be too advanced – or elementary – for another. For additional ideas about toys for this age range, watch 2 videos:


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