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Being mobile changes your baby’s world, and he will be into everything as he explores his surroundings. He’ll be able to distinguish different objects, and will look for familiar toys.

Best toys

  • Toys that your baby can push around the room are perfect now, and he will gain speed and dexterity as he heads toward his first birthday

  • Sorting toys, such as shape-sorters and piles of big, chunky beads, will occupy your baby for hours

  • Balls continue to be popular, and he will now travel in search of a ball when it rolls away, and even try throwing it himself

  • Sand tables (or sandboxes) will provide endless enjoyment as he fills buckets, empties them, and makes a spectacular mess

  • Miniature versions of “adult toys,” such as a chunky toy mobile phone, will appeal as babies begin to imitate their parents and caregivers

  • Interactive toys hold new interest, and nothing will appeal to your baby more than pop-up toys and books that respond when he pushes a button

  • Wooden or sturdy plastic blocks or containers are ideal, and by the end of his first year he should be able to stack a few of them confidently

  • Smaller objects to collect and a container to put them in as he will be able to use a pincer grip effectively now

  • Basic, sturdy wooden puzzles with knobs to lift the pieces in and out of position will appeal—choose very simple shapes at first

  • Toys with a string to pull, since your baby can grasp and pull easily now—perhaps look for a toy that climbs up its string, or makes a sound or plays a song when its string is pulled

  • Any musical toys will appeal, and bells, maracas, and even a drum will keep him busy and help improve his coordination and rhythm

Playtime

  • Let your baby explore and satisfy his curiosity, opening cabinets, emptying drawers, and dumping out his toys from a basket

  • Help him build towers, then knock them down

  • Fill plastic tubs and shoeboxes with toys and let him examine them, and then empty and fill the tubs again

  • When your baby points to something, name it for him—he’ll love to know the names of familiar things and it will increase his vocabulary

  • Get down on the floor and chase him when he begins to crawl

  • Choose books that he can interact with, and “play” with the pictures (cover the cow’s eyes, for example, or ask him to tickle the pig)

  • Teach him the sounds that animals make, and see if he can imitate them

  • Singing and dancing is a new trick you can try—clap your hands and sing favorite nursery rhymes, and encourage him to join in

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