Nine-month-olds are in the thick of their babyhood. Their personality is exploding, and they want to move, communicate, eat, and play!
Nine-month-old milestones are so much fun, and there are many educational toys and tools that will serve this age. You and your little one can make the most of this age by meeting their interests and capabilities with age-appropriate activities.
The best gifts for nine-month olds are ones that invite them to move, to practice their hand-eye coordination and allow them to learn about the world around them through sensory experiences. Read on for specific examples!
The Rocking Stacker
An example of an educational toy for your nine-month-old is a classic Montessori material known as The Rocking Stacker.
The Rocking Stacker consists of a thick dowel on a rocking base with rings of varying sizes that fit on the dowel. The qualities of a good developmental toy are that your child will not master it the first time they use it.
Here's how it works.
Introduce this activity to your baby starting with just the largest ring. Show them how to take the ring off the dowel and slowly put the ring back on the dowel.
Move your hands slowly and deliberately to give them the chance to watch how you place the ring exactly over the center of the dowel before moving it down. This gives your little one more information for when they do it themselves.
As they begin to master using just one ring, you can introduce two, and then three rings. This activity supports their fine-motor control, as they have to grasp the ring with their fingers, and it supports their hand-eye coordination, as they work to place the ring exactly on the dowel.
The stacker offers the added benefit of a cognitive exercise—your baby will experiment with which ring to put on the dowel first, and they will see how order affects the way the rings fit.
More of the Best Toys For 9-Month-Old Babies
This unique shape helps your baby practice hand to hand transfer and builds their hand-eye coordination.
Hex With Balls
While the middle rod moves, your baby adjusts their grasp to compensate, strengthening their fine motor skills.
This rattle's moving parts engage your baby, challenging their grasp and encouraging hand-to-hand transfer.
This toy rolls just a bit and then stops, tempting your baby to pursue it and building strength and perseverance.
First Object Permanence Box
This box and ball introduce the concept of object permanence: an object exists even if we can't see it.
Rainbow Nesting Cups
Made of food-grade silicone, the Rainbow Nesting Cups build your child's problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination.
Wooden Rainbow Blocks
These infant-sized, proportional blocks build math and spatial skills that will be used for years to come.
All of those items, plus a cloth basket for storage, a First Foods book, and Dining Set are included in the Monti Kids 7-9 month Play Set.
On the Move: The best gross motor toy for your nine-month-old
By now, your little one is crawling or on the verge of crawling. Once they are moving well on the ground, they are going to want to pull up and walk!
There is research that shows the many benefits of time spent crawling, and you do not want to rush their development, so this toy is not intended to speed up the process. But by supplying the walker wagon, which they are capable of using independently, you are inviting them to explore the next stage of their gross motor movement at their own pace.
Once they are able to pull up, they can hold onto the handle of the walker wagon. As it rolls forward, they will begin to move their feet in a walking movement. If you have a wagon that rolls too quickly for them, you can introduce it in the grass, or you can place a pile of heavy books or hand weights to slow it down as they get used to the coordination required for walking. When their confidence increases, you can put it on a smooth surface, and they will use their own balance to moderate the speed.
The walker wagon is an excellent way to practice walking because your baby can do it independently of you.
Additionally, they will practice in a comfortable position for their body, rather than by holding your hands above their own head.
*Monti Kids will receive a small amount of affiliate revenue from this purchase
Books are an important developmental tool
Research has shown the advantages of reading regularly to babies from a very young age. The language of the books, the intonations of their caregiver’s voices, and the quality time all have an immense effect on babies’ development.
For your baby, you will want a mixture of paper and board books. If they are able to sit and not tear the pages, then the paper pages will offer a more authentic experience, and also tend to provide larger pictures. But if they struggle with being careful, or if you would like to be able to leave them alone with books, then there is nothing wrong with having board books for them to choose from. In either case, you will want to model treating the books with care, and if they persist in being quite rough, you will probably want to put them aside and try again later.
As for topics, Dr. Montessori believed that the finest subject matter for the child under six was based in reality. This means that you will save fantastical books for when they are older. A young child does not know that tigers can’t drive, fish can’t talk, and people can’t fly. The world is already a beautiful and spectacular place to live, and when you give your baby real information about the world, you are building the foundation of their intelligence and imagination. There will be plenty of time for the fun of fantasy once they understand how the world really works. Check out the Monti Kids First Library for a great starter set.
A Dining Set for Independent Eating
Finally, a dining set may not seem like an educational toy at first glance, but it will teach them a lot about how to be independent. By now, your baby is already enjoying solid food at the table. When they have their own utensils, cup, and bowl, they can be an active participant in this activity.
It may be too much to lay out all the dining ware at once, so you can start with just one utensil and the cup.
Show them how to spear a soft cube of food, such as a sliced sweet potato, with the fork and then bring it to their mouth. They may need help getting the food onto their fork, but let them do as much of the process as possible.
Show your baby how to drink from a little cup. Place a small amount of water in the cup, and then let them bring the cup to their mouth. Assume that they will spill most of the water as they experiment with how the cup works.
Mealtime is messy at this age! As your little one becomes more confident with these dining items, you can introduce the spoon and bowl. Show them how to place the spoon into the bowl to get the food and then let them put it in their mouths.
As with all Montessori toy including the best toys for 9 month old babies, if they abuse the materials by throwing them on the floor or repeatedly banging, you can put it away and try again later. The journey towards independence in their play and eating will not happen overnight, but opportunities from a young age will help them with this process.
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