You’re three months shy of baby’s first birthday, and best believe those milestones are stacking up fast.
So how can you help them continue their learning and growing streak through play while supporting their sleep schedule?
We’re thrilled you asked!
We’ve put together a list of eleven fun 9-month-old baby development activities and games to sharpen their senses and get them well on their way to toddlerhood.
Some involve toys, but others only need common household objects or even just you and your baby (plus a little imagination).
In this article: 📝
- What are sensory milestones for 9 month old?
- What words should a 9-month-old be saying?
- What cognitive skills should a 9 month old have?
- What are creative activities for 9 month old?
What are sensory milestones for 9 month old?
Before we launch into unbridled playtime, let’s take a look at what other 9 month baby milestones your little one may be reaching this month. 🎉
Keep in mind every baby is unique and develops at a different pace, but here are some of the things your 9-month-old might be doing at this age:
- Crawling (and some babies may even be starting to walk)
- Pulling themselves up to stand while holding on to something for support
- Changing position more easily 🤸♀️
- Learning the “pincer grasp” (picking up an object with thumb and pointer finger)
- Recognizing faces 👨👩👦👦
- Understanding a few simple words, such as “bottle” 🍼
- Using gestures to communicate (for example, pointing at something they want)
What words should a 9-month-old be saying?
Many babies take until 12 months old to say their first word.
But you’ll probably hear your 9-month-old making lots of different sounds as they practice communicating.
And you never know: you might hear a “mama,” “ball,” or “bye-bye” sooner than you expect…
But communication is more than words.
Another language skill your baby is picking up is understanding what you’re saying – things like “no” (rejoice!) and who you are (“where’s mama?”).
They may even start copying gestures and pointing toward people or things.
Not long now!
What cognitive skills should a 9 month old have?
With baby fast picking up certain words and phrases, you can imagine their cognitive skills are developing fast.
You may begin seeing the first glimpses of problem-solving, thinking, and learning that will take your baby to exciting new heights. 🎓🚀📚⛰️
Cognitive and emotional milestones include:
- Responding to simple commands or their name
- Waving goodbye 👋🏽
- Looking for objects that fall 👀
- Showing signs of separation anxiety
- Exploring textures, shapes, and sizes of objects
- Has a favorite toy 🧸
What are creative activities for 9 month old?
With so many skills already under your baby’s belt, naturally, you want to indulge in entertainment that cultivates a curious little mind. 🧠
From an obstacle course to messy play and from nature rambles to sock puppets, these are 11 fun activities to do with a 9-month-old that you and your baby can both enjoy:
1. Toy trail
This is an excellent activity for crawling practice.
Lay out smaller toys (such as dolls and teddy bears) around the room, then encourage your baby to crawl to reach each of them.
You might want to jiggle the toy around or make funny noises to engage their interest.
If your baby is already moving on to walking, you can adapt this activity.
Support them to walk between the toys and give them lots of praise when they reach one.
2. Explorer in the making
If your baby is already a pro at crawling over flat surfaces, feel free to give them an extra challenge.
Make an obstacle course for them to explore, using safe and soft household items.
Pillows or an air mattress can provide a wobbly surface, and you could construct some “mountains” out of comforters and couch cushions. 🗻
As they navigate the obstacles, they’ll be strengthening the muscles in their shoulders and arms, and building coordination between the right and left sides of their body.
3. Grab practice
Making the “pincer movement” with their hand is another new skill your 9-month-old might be learning right now.
That is, they’re working out how to grab objects with their thumb and pointer finger.
So a great way to practice this skill is to give them a selection of finger foods to pick up and feed themselves.
Foods that work well include: different cooked pasta shapes, pieces of soft fruit (like banana), cubes of tofu or cheese, and chunks of avocado. 🥑
Exploring the food will be great for your baby’s sense of smell, taste, and touch too.
4. Beach ball
Looking for 9-month-old baby games that will get them interested in sports?
Try this simple ball game to get things kick-started (pun intended).
Sit a short distance away from your baby and roll a beach ball toward them. ⚽️
When they stop it, give them some praise and get them to roll it back to you.
If they roll it so it doesn’t quite reach you, still give them a “great job!”.
Then simply repeat this for a while. It’s a great way to introduce the concept of taking turns.
And it builds your baby’s gross motor skills, their understanding of the way objects move, and their mimicking skills.
5. Shape sorting
For this activity, you’ll need a baby shape sorter toy – often a box with different-shaped holes in, with different-shaped blocks to fit through the holes.
Get your baby to start with one shape and give them plenty of time to find the right hole.
As always, give them lots of praise when they succeed.
This is a handy toy for developing problem-solving and fine motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination.
You can get the classic version with geometric shapes, or there are some fun animal-themed versions available.
6. What’s in the bag?
This is an easy one: grab a bag and throw in a few objects.
They can be totally random, or you might want to use, for example, a variety of kitchen items or your baby’s animal toys.
Bring out one item at a time, show it to your baby, and name it.
You might want to demonstrate how it’s used (stirring with a spoon) or what noise it makes (“squeak!” for a toy mouse).
This activity helps develop your baby’s understanding of language, and the objects (plus your sound effects) can provide great sensory stimulation too.
Reading to your baby from colorful board books continues to be a great activity when they’re 9 months old.
They might even be starting to recognize particular stories or pictures and showing a preference for them.
They’ll be moving on to Austen and Hemingway in no time.
8. Messy play
Maybe not one for every day, but if you’re feeling chilled about creating a little more mess – go for it!
Put some flour on a tray or plastic sheet and set your baby free to explore the texture with their hands and feet.
It’s a small price to pay for building up those fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
9. Sock puppets
Pure joy and costs nothing.
Make a sock puppet by drawing a face on an old sock (you could also sew the face if you have some craft materials lying around).
Put your hand in the sock and create a character with a silly voice to entertain your baby.
This is a fun way to bond with your little one.
And you could make your sock puppet part of singing or nursery rhyme time as well.
10. Nature ramble
Outdoor activities for 9-month-old babies don’t have to be complicated.
Why not go for a nature ramble together?
This could be at your local park, the woods, or the beach. 🏖️
As you walk with your baby in their stroller or carrier, point out the different animals, plants, or other natural objects you can see.
Perhaps even pick up a fallen leaf or pine cone for them to touch. 🍁
Whether you’re doing one of the activities above or simply going about your day, take the opportunity to have a conversation with your baby
Say something, wait for them to respond (with a word, a sound, a gesture), and then reply.
This way, they get to learn the rhythm of dialogue – of speaking and listening.
You could even enlist a play phone and “call” people baby knows, letting them listen to your conversation and copy along. 🤙🏽
A solid move for building social and communication skills alongside a rich imagination.
And the fun doesn’t stop there!
As your baby hurdles towards the ten-month line, have a look through our 9 fun activities for 10-month-old babies to give you both a headstart.
Besides, you’re never short of inspo in the Peanut community.