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Your baby will be more mobile now, even if he hasn’t yet developed the skills necessary to crawl. He’ll enjoy the challenge of attempting to reach for toys and anything else that catches his interest, and his budding hand-eye coordination and motor-skill development mean that he’ll become adept at playing with more sophisticated toys.

Best toys

  • Toys that encourage crawling, tempting your baby to follow—buy toys on a string that you pull just out of his reach, or balls that he’ll chase endlessly

  • Toys on a string that he can pull toward him—but make sure the string is sturdy enough so it won’t tangle or choke him

  • Toys that help your baby to explore different shapes and sounds, as well as cause and effect, shape his thinking and motor skills—try stacking toys, shape-sorters, noisy blocks, and toys that ring, rattle, and crinkle

  • Activity boards to help your baby to practice his coordination—he’ll learn to open doors, twist, squeeze, shake, and pull things to get a reaction

  • Blocks that can be piled and then knocked down are always popular

  • Containers that he can drop blocks into and then take them out—watch him have fun with “dumping” games

  • A sturdy push toy on which he can support his weight, pull himself up, and perhaps take a few unsteady steps

Playtime

  • Your baby is becoming aware that objects still exist even if he can’t see them, so he’ll love to play peekaboo and hide-and-seek games with a favorite toy

  • Give him lots of objects to bang together, and teach him how to play music with a pots-pans-and-wooden-spoon band

  • Reading becomes more interactive at this age, and he will enjoy touching the pictures, and even lifting some sturdy flaps; when you’ve finished reading, encourage him to turn the pages himself and “read” to you

  • When you hear your baby babbling, talk back to him

  • Play simple fingers games, such as “This little piggy” over and over and watch him delight as he anticipates the “wee wee wee all the way home”

  • Because he is becoming better at remembering and anticipating, any nursery rhymes or clapping games will excite him, as he looks forward to what comes next

  • Encourage him to play on his own (under supervision); doing so will help him become independent and more confident in his own abilities

  • Lift your baby high in the air, or bounce him on your legs; he’ll love physical games, exercise, and motion

A few toys at a time

Babies can easily become overwhelmed by a huge array of toys, so bring a few out of the toy box each day, and let your baby choose what he wants to play with. You can also put a small selection of toys in a box that he can reach into to choose what he wants.

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