By 6 months old, your baby is now much more interested in the world around him. He’s probably easily distracted and always trying to get your attention, grabbing at anything within his reach, and babbling a ton with more consonant sounds (ma, ba, da).
In this developmental stage, your baby may go from non-mobile to mobile, quiet to loud, and sitting to standing. You’ll notice a huge leap from month to month as your baby will begin to sit up around 6 months, crawl around 7-8 months, and even stand with support around 9 months.
Now that more skills are developing, there are many more ways to stimulate their little brains. They’ll demand more attention because they’re much more interested in things going on close by. There’s no need to rack your brain with highly unique activities though. Most of their baby toys will still be interesting to them, just in different ways.
Here is a list of activities to do with your baby from 6-9 months that will encourage developmentally appropriate milestones and keep your baby entertained and learning. They will continue to explore objects with their mouths so you still want to be careful about leaving choking hazards close by.
By the end of this stage, your baby should be sitting up independently or with little support. If they’re not sitting up, check out my post on 12 Simple Activities to Get Your Baby to Sit Up on Their Own.
Assuming your baby is sitting up, try these toys and activities to stimulate your baby while they work on fine motor skills, problem solving, and object permanence (knowing that an object still exists even when they can’t see it).
Foam or wooden 1″ cubes
At this age, your baby’s fine motor skills will begin developing. He will go from only being able to grasp with his whole hand in a fist to starting to use individual fingers and finger tips to pick up items. Around this age, a 3 jaw chuck grasp will emerge as your baby will use the thumb, index, and middle fingers to grab smaller items.
Activity Idea: Scatter the cubes on the floor around your baby. When he picks up 2 cubes (1 in each hand), hand him another cube. Your baby will learn to problem solve that he needs to put one cube down in order to grab the other one.
These stacking cups from Amazon are a great toy that your baby will use well into toddlerhood. They may not be able to actually stack them at this point, but they’re easy to grab and bang on the ground. If you don’t have time to get stacking cups right now, measuring cups from your pantry are a fun alternative.
Activity Idea: Hide small toys underneath cup while it’s facing down. When they pick up the cup, it will reveal what’s underneath. Watch their excitement when they realize what they found. These colorful, 1″ blocks work great to hide under most of the cups.
Toys that enable your baby to push a button, move an object, or touch a part in order to make it move, light up, or play music are all cause-and-effect toys. They teach your baby that they can perform an action and have an impact on the world.
Some of my favorite toys for this skill produce lights and music like this Drop and Go Dump Truck by VTech and the Laugh and Learn Puppy Piano. Watch your baby light up as they hit the buttons and make their toy come to life.
Activity Idea: In everyday life, we produce cause-and-effect actions. Have your little one use household objects for this kind of play. Have them grab the television remote and press buttons to change the channel, flip up or push the button on a light switch every time you exit a room, and press the home screen on your phone to make it light up.
Related Post: Top 10 Must Have Toys for Your 0-6 Month Old
Toward the end of this age range, your baby may start being able to imitate hand gestures. This may be to indicate something he wants, copy what you’re doing, or just for fun. Some of the first hand gestures they’ll learn will be to wave hi and bye and clap. Do these gestures with your baby often and they will pick it up quickly.
Activity Idea: When you notice your baby smiling or laughing at a toy, game, song, etc., take his hands and clap with them. Do this every time you see that smile and they should learn how to start clapping when they’re excited.
Babies love swatting at and reaching for toys that are dangling in front of them. Using any toys that easily grab your baby’s attention (brightly colored, multi-sensory, musical toys), place them slightly outside of their reach or hanging up high. This will encourage him to grab and reach to improve trunk strength.Use these links to attach to toy bars or an activity center and the links can also be used as a fun toy or teether themselves.
As they approach 9 months, leaving toys dangling from a table or setting them right on the edge of the top of a table (while supervised) will help them pull to stand.
Activity Idea: Sit them in front of their activity mat with toys hanging and watch them reach and grab for items floating in front of them. This will improve their sitting balance by helping them reach outside their comfort zone and strengthen those trunk muscles.
Your baby will love lifting flaps and seeing what’s hiding behind it when reading books. They should have the fine motor skills to grab a flap and pull up on it, but you may have to help get them to get started a bit. Make sure you’re using thick board books or try using packaging tape and reinforce flaps to minimize tearing.
Activity idea: During bedtime routine, read a small, lift-the-flap book to your baby. Have them turn the pages and lift the flaps on their own. If they need some help, hold your hand over theirs while they’re turning the pages.
Related Post: Quick and Simple First Foods for your Baby
Large wooden activity cube
This Zany Zoo Activity Cube can keep my baby entertained for awhile! Just sitting in front of it gives them a whole array of activities to perform. When your baby is ready (closer to 9 months), this is a great tool to get your baby interested in pulling to stand. It’s the perfect height for your little one to grab the top and get himself up.
Once your baby is sitting upright on their own, it’s still important to further strengthen their trunk muscles so they can improve their balance.
Activity idea: Play tug of war. Have your child hold one end of a small blanket and you can hold the other end. Gently pull it away from them to encourage them to pull back. This will really help to develop your baby’s upper body strength.
Another fun idea is to use Pop Tubes. These fun tubes allow your baby to stretch, pull, twist, and manipulate in every way. They can pull them in and out and it helps to develop muscles in their arms and upper body.
Your baby won’t be able to build a tower of blocks at this age, but they will have a blast knocking them down. This will also develop the cause-and-effect skill.
Activity idea: Stack some of those 1″ blocks in front of your baby and watch them push the blocks over until they fall.
Take them outside
There are so many great sensory experiences outside for your baby to encounter. Don’t be afraid to let them get a little dirty! You can sit them up on a blanket or just plop them right in the grass.
Activity Idea: Help them to explore their new environment by touching and feeling all the outdoor things, such as grass, sticks, sand, leaves, etc. Blow bubbles and let them suck on a popsicle. You don’t have to worry about the mess outside! Read more activities on my post about How to Play with Your Baby Outside
Related Post: Fine Motor Play for Your 3-6 Month Old Baby
It’s still important to keep your baby on his or her tummy during play through out the day. The muscles used in this position are continuing to develop in their arms, neck, and trunk which will prepare them for crawling soon. Not only that, but it’s still the precursor to strengthening their upper body for writing, posture, sports, and so much more in the future.
Here are some ideas for play and activities that you can do to keep your baby entertained during tummy time.
Since babies should have developed object permanence (knowing that if something is covered or blocked, it is still there) at this point, Peek-A-Boo is fun and interactive game. They will get a kick out of seeing you reappear from behind your hands as you play.
Activity idea: A fun twist on peekaboo can involve moving out of their line of sight and calling out for them. Stand behind your baby or behind a couch where baby can’t see you. Call out their name or “Where’s Mommy” and wait for your baby to turn and find you. Once they find you, move to a different spot and play again.
Scatter toys all around
Place objects all around him and some just out of his reach to encourage rotating and beginning to crawl. Your baby will start turning and inching around to get to the toys and objects he sees.
Activity idea: Use musical toys and have the sounds come from just out of their view (behind them). They will try to investigate where the sound is coming from and rotate their bodies around to find it.
On all four’s
Getting them on all fours will gradually help to promote crawling. There are great benefits of crawling and every baby should be encouraged to do it.
Activity idea: Use rolled up blankets or towels under baby’s chest to prop them up a bit while on their tummy. This position will make it easier for them to use their hands to play with and manipulate objects. This should also help them to tolerate tummy time more before they begin to crawl.
Story time with board books
Reading to your baby is such an important activity that hopefully you will do for most of their childhood life. This will help to create a child who loves to read and learn.
Activity idea: While they are propped up over a rolled blanket, hand them books to play with. Some of my favorite books for babies are Indestructibles and Hello by Highlights Magazine Books. Both of these are bite-proof, tear-proof, and baby-proof and are small and thin enough to fit easily into any diaper bag for on-the-go entertainment.
Related Post: 6 Benefits of Reading to Babies and Toddlers
Babies will love seeing their reflection in the mirror as they play.
Activity idea: Place a floor mirror in front of your baby. Pop your head in and out of the reflection. Make funny faces and try to get them to imitate you. Make them laugh and smile until they realize that it’s their face that they’re looking at.
Your baby is probably starting to babble a lot now. From this point on, he or she will begin to start speaking their first words. Talk to your baby as much as you can, but specifically with some easy words and syllables. Typically, the words your child will say first are dada, mama, or baba, followed by hi, bye, more, or ball. Make sure you’re speaking these simple words as often as possible to get your baby familiar with them.
As mentioned before, your baby now has object permanence which allows your baby to understand that an object is still there even if they can’t see it anymore. However, they will still love to watch things disappear and reappear.
Activity idea: Rolling balls through a cardboard paper towel or toilet paper tube is a fun activity that your child will love. As your baby follows the ball from entering the tube, disappearing, then reappearing on the other side of the tube, he’ll be so intrigued.
Another fun idea is to stuff a lightweight scarf or piece of fabric into the paper towel tube. Have your baby tug the fabric to remove it from the tube. You can even do this activity with a tissue box while you have your child pull out tissues from the box.
Believe it or not, mealtime can be a fun and playful experience for your baby. It’s not just for eating, but it’s the perfect time to work on new skills with your baby.
The sensory experience that comes with self-feeding is one that your child will love. They (and your walls) may get a little messy in the process, but let them! This is the way they can learn to satisfy and develop their sensory systems. Although you might just be thinking about the disaster you’re going to have to clean up, there’s always a skill associated with every mess!
Activity idea: All those messy foods that you won’t even let them eat on their own (yogurt, spaghetti, applesauce, and pretty much anything they’re eating at this point), just give them the independence. Using their hands Spread it on their tray and let them just rub their hands all over it.
Your baby will start developing a pincer grasp (using thumb and pointer finger) closer to 9 months. You can help them along by offering small foods that they can only pick up with their thumb and pointer finger. Practicing with food is the safest option because your baby will still be putting everything in their mouth at this point. You don’t want to use a small bead or non edible object because that could be a choking hazard.
Activity idea: Gerber puffs are the easiest starter foods for pincer grasp because they easily and quickly dissolve in their mouth, even without many teeth. You can try cheerios down the line if your baby has teeth and knows how to chew well. Just put a couple on the tray and encourage those 2 fingers to work. If you put too many on the tray, they may still try to use a raking grasp and grab a whole bunch at once. Keeping only one makes them have to use only 2 fingers for pick up.
Using utensils and self-feeding
This is a great time to introduce utensils, sippy cups, and other self-feeding gadgets. Your baby will have a blast trying to figure out ways to use these new objects to bring food to their mouth. My absolute favorite utensils for this age range are Grabease Utensils. They are the perfect size for little hands to grasp independently and they even have a little choke guard so baby can’t stick them too far in their mouth.
Activity idea: Put the food on a Grabease fork and place the fork on the tray in front of them. Let them grab at it by themselves and lead it to their mouth. The more independence you give them to perform these actions on their own, the sooner they will pick up the skill.
Fun in the kitchen
Although we could have dozens of toys to entertain our babies, they will always end up more interested in the things they shouldn’t be (ie. glass vases and 5lb bags of flour).
Activity idea: Most of the time, you may want to keep kitchen gadgets locked up, but with supervision, let them play. Have them sit on the kitchen floor and just play with pots, pans, and tupperware. Let your baby explore sounds by offering spoons (wooden and metal) to bang, measuring cups to clap, and (locked) vitamin bottles to shake.