Play Time: Age appropriate toys & activities for your child

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6-to-9 months:

Until now, to your baby, what is not in front of her doesn’t exist, but now, she understands that when out of sight doesn’t mean that they are not there.  Your baby's play now is more active and mobile. Many babies can start crawling sometime in this stage.

 

Toys:

  • Bouncing Jumper:  These can be used from 4 months, but checks with your pediatrician first.  They are attached to a door frame and baby can enjoy jumping in them. Best used in the kitchen to keep baby entertained while you cook.  Many come with attached toys and musical buttons.
  • Books: again and again! Your baby now can help you flip the pages, so soft books or board books work best; a great addition to bath time.
  • Soft Blocks: These are like wooden blocks but larger and made out of sponge covered fabrics or plastic.
  • Stuffed Toys
  • Bath Time Rubber Toys
  • Balls: Choose small light balls of different colors, sizes and textures. Be careful of the ones made from sponge as baby might chew and swallow on them.
  • Moving Toys: Toys that move by themselves, pop-up when pressed, or pushed to roll are all fun at this stage.
  • Baby Gym: There are ones where you can leave the baby sitting inside and the chair rotates when the baby moves her feet.  The baby would be surrounded by many toys that are attached as she goes along round and round.  It is like a walker but not mobile.  Ask your pediatrician before using a walker, and make sure the baby's environment is safe and childproof if you intend to put her in one.
  • Household Items:  Plastic cups, bowls, and spoons will do.  It will keep your baby entertained for quite sometime just playing with one empty water bottle.

 

 

Activities:

  • Control Switches:  Anything that would offer cause and effect would be very interesting to your baby at this age.  Showing her how to switch on and off a light switch, a jack-in-the box, a toy cell phone or maybe a piano!  Babies like to discover that they can make things happen and now is the right time to show them.
  • "Obstacle Course": As your baby is crawling, trying to walk or scoot, make things a little harder for her.  Try lying on the floor or tired dad maybe, to give her a little challenge to develop her motor skills.  You can use pillows, soft toys and books too, but be careful of live pets and sharp objects if any are around.
  • Peek-A-Boo ( or bekh in Arabic)
  • Touch/Feel/Bang:  Introduce your baby to different textures of fabrics, and materials.  Use spoons or little hammer toys (for this age) to make noise when banging.  Some books are called Touch and Feel Books offer different textures in every page while going about the story they are great too.
  • Roll The Ball: Try rolling the ball or an empty bottle to your baby and see if she attempts to go get it, or toss it back at you!

 

9-to-12 months:

By now, most babies are crawling, cruising, and sometimes walking by their first birthday.  It is very important at this stage that you make sure your house is fully childproof and your baby's toys too.  Remove any plastic bags that can be lying around, any tags hanging from toys, or empty toy boxes that can have sharp plastic or metal stuff.

 

Toys:

  • Shape Sorters: There are a variety of those in the market; you don’t need an expensive one.  Some come with a little hammer attached, those are really fun, where the baby gets to put the shape in the right hole and bangs on it.  It will also grow with her, so don’t expect her to master that just yet, give her time to figure it out.
  • Balls: Bigger sizes , different shapes, different colors…cant get enough of them.
  • Bubbles again
  • Books … I think you got it by now how important it is, and you will find it amazing that your child would be interested in your books and magazines, and maybe try tearing the pages.  (When's a better time to introduce your baby to her new favorite magazine What Women Want then right now!!)
  • Beach Toys: Bucket and shovel…molding shapes for sand. Kids enjoy the beach at this stage and also love a tiny inflatable pool just or them.
  • Stacking Blocks: Use big blocks over small ones so your baby can handle better.  It will also grow with her.
  • Staking Cups/Rings: These are the ones baby can put inside each other or on top of each other.
  • Push Toys:  Little push cars, animals etc. are all a good addition to your child's motor development.  They will give her a chance to exercise, and work better than a regular walker coz the baby controls it with her hands and feet together and enjoys the different colors and music it might make.

 

Activities:

  • In & Out:  Get any shoe boxes, or toy boxes, and show your baby how you open and close them.  Show her how she can put things inside them and take them out.  Measuring cups are great for water play. Pouring water in and out of them is fun.
  • Imitation: Babies this age try to imitate, so it can be a good time to teach your child sign language to help her express herself.  You can find a lot of resources on how to teach your child sign language online, or take a course, but you can also make up your own signs for different words like "eat" or "sleep" for starters.  This will encourage your baby to communicate with you knowing you understand her, and also save you a lot of trouble trying to figure out what she wants. 
  • Singing & Dancing: More upbeat and faster movements can be used at this stage.  Songs that relate to a certain event, make up your own special silly songs with your baby…it is so much fun!

 

NOTE:  Always start by giving your child the toy without explaining what can be done.  After your child has explored it for a while, demonstrate what it can do.  Act surprised and smile to reassure your baby that this is a fun thing and not dangerous.  Be careful with your facial expression when observing your child play because babies are very eager to please and tend to take it to heart if they feel you are disappointed or not happy with them.

 

Next month, more suggestions on age-appropriate toys for toddlers…Wait for us, and send us any questions regarding your play time by e-mail.

 

 

 

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