A six-month-old baby can smile and engage with people, but they are not yet wary of strangers, so they will happily play with any adult. They can sit up and play with their toys, but they usually don’t move much from where you place them. Many people call six months the “golden age of babyhood.”
What else could possibly make this age more fun? Finding the best educational toys for your six-month-old baby will help you both enjoy this sweet stage of life.
What are the best toys for 6-month-olds teaching them?
First, motor skills are a big deal for 6-month olds. A baby of this age is close to independent movement (if they haven’t started already). When you place them on the ground on their tummy, they probably have a great deal of strength in their backs. They push up with their hands, and try to pull their knees under them. Maybe they can get on their knees and rock back and forth, trying to figure out how to get their little engine to move!
Toys that Support Motor Skills
A toy like the Rolling Drum sits in front of them with brightly colored balls. When they touch it, it will roll just a little bit and make a pleasant clacking noise as the balls tap against each other. The key here is that the drum doesn’t roll too fast or too far. Your baby is motivated to move and will want to try to get that drum. If it rolls just a little bit, then they have a chance of figuring out some sort of movement that will get them closer. These attempts will slowly coordinate themselves towards crawling, eventually. The Rolling Drum from Level 3 of the Monti Kids® Program is motivation to figure it out!
The Wooden Wobbler from Level 2 of the Monti Kids Program has similar features. It is designed to make tummy time fun and interesting as a baby reaches out to activate the toy.
We are always looking to provide baby-powered experiences, rather than battery-powered toys. It's how little ones learn cause and effect!
Baby Toys Teach Fine Motor Skills
Have you ever wondered why we give babies rattles? Learning how to grasp an object is one of the main developmental tasks of a baby.
When we offer a variety of rattles, they practice adjusting their grasp and eventually begin transferring the objects we give them from hand to hand.
The Montessori Rattle Collection is made up of thoughtfully designed, heirloom-quality materials, all lightweight enough for a small hand. (This collection is included in the Level 2 curriculum of the Monti Kids Program.)
Real objects instead of toys
The real genius of this second educational toy is that it is free! Your six-month-old will be intrigued by what the Montessori curriculum calls “The Basket of Categorized Objects.” For this activity, you will find a small basket, suitable for a baby. Make sure there aren’t loose pieces or sharp edges. Then go to an area of your household (the kitchen is a great one), and select 5-7 baby-friendly objects to put in the basket.
Because these are not toys that are tested by companies, you will want to be extra careful about what you choose, and also vigilant about keeping an eye on your little one while they explore.
In the kitchen, you may choose a whisk, a spatula, a set of measuring spoons, a wooden stirring spoon, and a small measuring cup. Offer the basket of objects to your baby and let them explore. When they lose interest, you can swap out one or two objects for new ones and let them empty the basket again. Your baby will find the variety of shapes, textures, and materials fascinating. They will be interested in these objects because they have been watching you use them for the last six months.
First let them explore the objects uninterrupted, to encourage their concentration. Then, once they are looking up from their work and interacting with you again, you can give names for each item. This offers them interesting and useful language to go along with the educational experience. This basket provides information to your baby not only by virtue of the materials themselves, but also because they learn that objects like these go together for some reason. It provides information about categories and unlocks some of the mystery of what you have been doing at the counter!
Books offer relevant and beautiful educational experiences for young children.
Your baby will derive so many benefits from being read to. It can be tempting to only give your little one board books, which are marketed for babies, but please also always include books with paper pages in your library. We want to treat our babies as people, with dignity, who will appreciate the finer experience of genuine books with large beautiful pictures for them to look at.
At some point after six months, your little one will start to understand that words mean something. This realization is fed by rich experiences with language. Choose books with beautiful language that you yourself enjoy listening to so that they absorb the wonder of literature and your affection for it.
At this age, you may find that your little one wants to grab the pages of the book while you read. Gently move their hands back to their lap every time this happens, and engage their attention with your voice and by pointing out interesting points on the pages. If they continue to try to rip or eat the pages, then put the book away for another time.
You may find that your baby has the best attention span for books in the morning right after they have eaten, or you may find that the sleepy period before bed is the best time. In any case, keep trying!
Enjoy this time with your lovely six-month-old little one. The months of babyhood are hard work but they are also fleeting! It is a short phase in your child’s life in which you can enjoy by playing with them and engaging in their interests. Discovering the best educational toys for this age will help you both appreciate this delightful time.
Best Gifts for 6-Month Olds
- The Wooden Book, a tool for early language and literacy learning
- Four unique rattles that strengthen a baby’s grasp, hand-eye coordination, and body control
- A Tummy Time set with interchangeable cards on one side and a mirror on the other side to encourage development of vision and spatial awareness
- A Basket and Tactile Balls, which encourages exploration
- The Wooden Wobbler, which encourages a little one to reach, grasp, and move
- The Spinning Drum, which helps develop hand-eye coordination, wrist and arm strength, and visual skills
- High-Contrast Nature Cards to support the development of a child’s vision