Tag Archives: 6-9 months


“What activities do you recommend for my 8 month old baby,”  is a question I am frequently asked.  When baby is mobile enough to get around but not walking, parents are stuck on which baby toys encourage her development.  The answer is easy if you understand that from about 6-9 months of age babies engage with toys a bit longer now and like to bang, shake, squeeze, and bite them.  Provide them with objects that can make sounds when they manipulate them, and it is a source of great curiosity and joy.  Some of the best baby toys at this age can be found right in your own kitchen.  Take a wooden spoon and an aluminum mixing bowl, some stackable measuring cups, and some measuring spoons on a ring and you will give baby much to play with.  At this age they also enjoy games with appearing and disappearing faces or objects such as peek-a-boo and are beginning to discover the task of emptying a bag.  Below is a list of toys and activities for this age range.  Notice that many of these toys are cost free, such as the baby songs, peek-a-boo games, and paper tearing.


  1. A Ball–one that is soft and clear
  2. Car Keys
  3. Bells on a Stick
  4. Kitchen Items (bowl, wooden spoon, stackable measuring cups and spoons, etc.)
  5. Small Wooden Blocks
  6. Doll (they love faces)
  7. Squeeze-Squeak Toys
  8. Baby Books with lift-the-flap or textures
  9. Baby Songs–sing them with hand gestures
  10. Paper-tearing or crumpling (Just don’t let them eat it!)
  11. Peek-a-Boo Games
  12. Hand Puppets

Always remember to keep everything baby safe:  non-breakable, no sharp corners or parts, no electrical parts, non-toxic materials, and no small pieces which can be a choking hazard or pinch fingers.  Supervise carefully, please.



a baby plays with her hand on her foot

Donna Eshelman shows baby how to bring her feet together.

A baby plays a developmental activity of clapping her feet.

A teacher shows baby a game with clapping her feet.


One of the most important motor skill connections in the development of a baby is the discovery of touching the feet with the hands.  Usually baby first learns to touch her right foot with her right hand and left foot with left hand.  Later, she discovers how to reach across her midline (the line diving her body in half between right and left sides) and touch her right hand to her left foot or her left hand to her right foot.  She will enjoy this new skill and hold her foot and move it around.  Sometimes she will grasp one foot with both hands as she bends and straightens her leg.


You can entertain baby with some developmental play by clapping her feet together.  When you bring the feet together with a clap, make a funny sound the moment the feet touch.  You can also make a facial expression such as a big smile with wide eyes to show her this is an important moment when the feet touch.  This means that you will communicate the importance of the moment the feet touch through many senses–through touch with your hands, hearing with your voice, and sight with your facial expressions.  Baby will be both intrigued and amused.  This is a new sensation–bringing both feet together in the air.  Touch the feet together, then OPEN and CLOSE the feet.  Soon you can involve her hands and place one hand on one foot as you play this game.  Continue making sounds and facial expressions as you touch her hand to her foot.  This brings her attention to her hands and feet and increases her proprioception of these body parts.  Although she may not clap her feet together herself, she may explore the contact of her hands to her feet.  When you have no toys with you, this is a wonderful activity for baby play.



A carefully chosen set of baby books makes a wonderful addition to your nursery.  Part of the motor skills learned during baby’s first year include holding, opening, closing, turning pages, and pointing to pictures in a book.  These fine motor skills develop the small muscles in the fingers and eyes.   Hand-eye coordination also develops as baby’s curiosity guides her to open and look at the book.  She learns to see an object and then point to it or to turn a page in order to see something new.  She learns to focus her attention on something for quite awhile when she is “reading a story.”  In order to capture her attention with books, carefully choose the books in baby’s first library.


When selecting books for baby, think about choosing books from various categories for a range of developmental benefits.  For example, cloth books are best for younger babies.  ABC and counting books teach skills that are different from the lift-the-flap books.  Here are some categories of baby books to include in her library.

  1. CLOTH BOOKS – These are great books for newborns  and 1-3 month old babies because the thick fabric pages cannot be torn.  Baby also may fall on them in a playpen  without harm.
  2. HIGH CONTRAST BOOKS – These books for newborn babies and 1-3 month old babies use contrasting colors such as black and white to create images that baby’s eyes can focus on at this stage of development.  Tana Hoban’s “White on Black”  is a great example of this category.
  3. TOUCH-AND-FEEL BOOKS – Books for babies to stimulate the sense of touch have patches of textured fabric added on to the pages.  Sometimes it could be white and soft like the fur of the bunny in “Pat The Bunny,”  a book recommended for the 1 to 3 month old babies.
  4. ABC BOOKS – Learning the letters of the alphabet begins with reading charming ABC books filled with rhymes, color and imagination.  Dr. Seuss’ ABC’s is a favorite of many.
  5. COUNTING BOOKS – Whether it is “5 Little Monkeys Jumping On a Bed” or “10 Little Lady Bugs”, the goal of the book is to teach baby how to count.  These are great books for toddlers.
  6. BEDTIME STORIES – Include a bedtime book in baby’s sleep ritual.  The repetition of a classic bedtime story provides a nightly cue that it is time to go to sleep.  A favorite for over 60 years is “Goodnight Moon.”
  7. RHYMING BOOKS – Dr. Seuss is the master of this category.  Just think “The Cat in the Hat.”  Rhyme makes learning words easier because it creates patterns which are easier to remember and to pronounce.  For speech development, baby can focus on one particular sound at a time, such as the “at” in “Cat ” and  “Hat.”
  8. BOOKS OF COLORS – Some of baby’s first words include colors.  Books that focus on learning colors are a fun addition to the library, too.
  9. LIFT-THE-FLAP BOOKS – These books invite baby’s participation as she lifts the flaps to reveal what is hidden in a box, behind a door, under a stair, etc.  Babies enjoy these books. One of our favorites is “Dear Zoo.”
  10. CLASSIC BOOKS – Baby books considered to be “classic” have been favorites for generations.  When you hear a grandmother fondly remember “I read ‘Goodnight Moon’ to each of my children,” you know that she is talking about a classic book.  They can be found in each of the above categories and are outstanding for the development of a baby.  Click on the “Tools For Parents” table and see the “Best Books for Babies” which lists classic books for baby’s first library.




The speech and motor skill developmental milestones present some of the most important learning that occurs during baby’s first and second years of life.  Just as we examine the mini-milestones which make up the large motor milestones, speech also develops in micro-stages.  Develop baby’s first library with some classic baby books and begin reading early on.  Even if she does not seem to be paying much attention to what you are saying because she is looking at something else, often she is listening and will occasionally wander back out of curiosity.  The motor skill of sitting and paying attention to a book is very important learning during baby’s first year.  We would like to share some of our tips for parents on how to read to baby.


Baby language development evolves through imitation.  Babies try and copy what their parents and others around them are doing.  In order to imitate speech, they need to watch them speak and study what they are doing with their lips as they speak.  When you read to baby, she will watch your moving mouth very closely to see how you are creating words.  As you exaggerate the words so they sound the same but she can see your mouth moving more clearly, it is easier for her to learn.


Through hearing a favorite baby book read repeatedly, baby begins to identify words more clearly.  She may not be able to say them quite yet, but she begins to hear them.  For example, soon baby recognizes the word “cat” from the book “The Cat In The Hat.” since it is a reoccurring word with an illustration.  Over time, this repetition leads to anticipation.  Baby learns to look forward to certain parts of the story or to seeing favorite animals.


Babies love to join a game.  Peek-a-boo, rolling a ball, reading  a story–they are all games for baby.  However, it is up to you to show her the game.  As you read her a baby book, point to the animals as you say “dog,” “cat,” “monkey,” and “lion.”  After awhile you can ask her, “Where is the monkey,”  “point to the lion,” and “can you find the dog?”  Remember to praise baby when she answers correctly!  As she learns to identify animals, objects, colors, etc., soon you can ask her to participate even more.  Read the post on the baby book “Dear Zoo” by Rod Campbell and watch the accompanying youtube video of a father reading the story to his 20-month old son.  The child has heard the story many, many times and loves it!  Watch how he looks forward to naming the animals and to telling one line of the story that appears on each page–”Send him back!”  His father invites his participation every step of the way and his son has made impressive speech development.  And, better yet, both are having fun through the process!


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One of the most popular lullaby songs to sing to baby originated in France about 250 years ago.   This was only the tune of the song, the beloved lyrics evolved later.  The lyrics were written in 1806 in England when sisters Jane and Ann Taylor published their second books of poems for children called “Rhymes for the Nursery.”  The poem “The Star” was written for that book by Jane and are sung as the tune we know today “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”


The video above from SuperSimpleLearning’s youtube channel reminds us of how to sing this lullaby.  Below are the words to Jane Taylor’s poem “The Star” which is the full version of the song that we know and love today:

  • Twinkle, twinkle little star
  • How I wonder what you are.
  • Up above the wold so high
  • Like a diamond in the sky
  • Twinkle, twinkle little star
  • How I wonder what you are!

  • When the blazing sun is gone,
  • When he nothing shines upon,
  • Then you show your little light,
  • Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
  • Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
  • How I wonder what you are!

  • Then the traveler in the dark
  • Thanks you for your tiny spark;
  • He could not see which way to go,
  • If you did not twinkle so.
  • Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
  • How I wonder what you are!

  • In the dark blue sky you keep,
  • And often through my curtains peep,
  • For you never shut your eye,
  • ‘Till the sun is in the sky.
  • Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
  • How I wonder what you are!

  • As your bright and tiny spark,
  • Lights the traveller in the dark,
  • Though I know not what you are,
  • Twinkle, twinkle, little star.


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The motor milestone of crawling may be achieved through a few patterns of movement.  Some babies learn belly crawling with their stomach on the floor, others learn hands and knees crawling, and a few learn hands and feet crawling which is known as “bear crawling.”  Some babies learn to crawl with a homolateral coordination where the arm and leg on the same side go forward at about the same time.  Many babies learn to crawl with the contralateral coordination where the opposite arm and leg move forward at about the same time.   For baby, the most important accomplishment achieved with the milestone of crawling is that she get to stuff much faster!


Baby sometimes learns to locomote across the floor by moving on her hands and feet only, without letting her knees touch the floor.  This is commonly referred to as “bear crawling.”   Some babies learn to crawl in this pattern and use it as their primary means of locomotion.  Others learn to crawl in a different pattern such as on the hands and knees and occasionally use the bear crawl pattern.  This appears to be the case of the baby in the above video from poarg1021′s youtube channel.    While playing outside, the baby crawls in the pattern of the bear.  After awhile he stands up and takes a few steps.  When he approaches the door to go inside  the house he switches back to the hands and knees crawling pattern.  In this video you can clearly see the difference between the crawling patterns of the hands and feet (like a bear) and the hands and knees.


Parents ask, “Why does my baby crawl like a bear?”  There are a few possible reasons.  Baby crawls like a bear  to protect the knees because he is wearing clothing such as a shorts and the knees are exposed, or because he has learned to walk and it is a crawling pattern that is closer to walking (it is not as far down to the ground as the hands and knees pattern), or he was put on his feet a lot as a baby and his brain learned to put the feet down on the floor rather than the knees.  Or, maybe this pattern is just funny and interesting to him.  What is more important to ask is what else can baby do when he moves?  Can he also crawl on his hands and knees like the baby in the video above?  Or, is this his only pattern of movement?  The baby in the above video moves with skill since he transitions easily from bear crawling to walking to hands and knees crawling.