Baby Playtime Ideas for 7- to 9-month-old Infants
The joy-filled months of parenting a 7-, 8-, and 9-month-old baby are, to many parents, some of the most fun in the first year of their child’s life. At these stages, your infant’s interactions with their world and the people they see might start evolving quickly as they hit important milestones, like sitting, standing, and laughing. They may also respond to a few requests, understand their name, and wave bye-bye. Around this time, your baby’s facial expressions and babbling may even offer you early glimpses of their budding personality. A classic round of peek-a-boo with your little one will reveal intoxicating smiles and giggles—but there’s even more you can do to add to the fun.
As your baby’s mobility changes and fine and gross motor skills improve, the way you play and interact with your child will become more advanced than the activities we offered in our guides to playing with newborns and 4- to 6-month old babies. So, here are fun, age-appropriate activities to keep your baby engaged and entertained as they transition from a cuddly newborn to a curious infant.
Now that your child is more than halfway to their first birthday, things start to pick up as they learn to roll in both directions, sit up on their own, and perhaps even crawl. Keeping up with an active infant can be exhausting at times but these brain-friendly activities are fun for the whole family.
What does a cow say?
When you’re reading a book or see an animal, tell your baby what sound the animal makes. Saying “a cow says moo” and “a dog goes woof-woof” will help hone their listening skills.
Mirror your baby
Your child’s babble might seem nonsensical right now, but copying your baby’s actions—from speech to clapping to banging blocks together—helps build your bond and develop their joint attention.
Practice sign language
With basic sign language, a 7-month-old baby can learn to communicate before they’re able to speak. Good words to try at first are “more” and “all done.” To sign “more,” place your fingertips on each hand together and tap them together twice. To communicate “all done,” raise your hands with the palms facing towards you and twist them back and forth. Then, help your baby practice the same moves.
Make storytime interactive
Find board books with touch-and-feel elements, pop-ups, or noises. These interactive elements can stimulate your baby’s senses, and reading helps with language development. Let your little one help you turn the pages while you read.
Can you reach it?
Crawling takes many shapes: Some infants love the commando crawl, while others take to bottom-scooting or a crab crawl. No matter where your child is in their crawling journey, you can encourage movement by placing a favorite toy or a book just out of reach when baby is happy to try and avoid meltdowns.
At 8 months, your baby’s brain is going through a growth spurt that helps improve their memory. Perhaps you’ve noticed your kiddo is more attached to their favorite people, toy, or book lately? That’s part of their growth spurt. Keep the momentum with a few fun playtime activities.
Ice, ice baby
Looking for sensory play ideas? Place a few wet ice cubes on your child’s high chair or on a rimmed baking sheet. Watch as they react to the cold, then communicate the concept of melting ice cubes as they warm up.
Our colorful world
Spend the day pointing out colors to your child. From the green grass to red strawberries to their favorite blue hat, talk about the colors in your baby’s world.
Fill a small bin with water and place floating objects in it. Let your baby splash and push things like plastic cups or a rubber duck down, only to have them float up again. While a little wet for everyone, this activity helps develop motor and sensory skills. Remember: Never leave your baby unsupervised near water.
Can you hold it?
Share two toys with your baby, encouraging them to hold one in each hand. Once they’ve got a grip, offer a third toy. Their fine motor skills and problem-solving skills will develop as they figure out how to add another toy to the mix.
Create shadow puppets on the wall with your hands—bringing each animal or character to life with songs and words. As your baby watches the talking shadows, their visual tracking skills will improve.
If your 9-month-old baby is starting to seem more like a kid than a baby, that’s because they’re likely babbling, responding when you call their name, laughing, and lifting their arms when they want to be picked up. Here are age-appropriate activities to keep help them achieve social and cognitive milestones as they keep growing.
Does your family band have a name yet? Your baby will enjoy playing with everything from rattles to xylophones and discovering the different sounds each instrument makes. Show them how to use each toy to help their sensory skills develop.
FaceTime with Grandma is likely part of your routine with your kiddo but adding pretend phone play is a great way to help your child develop listening and communication skills.
Stacking toys like blocks or rings are popular with babies this age since they’re becoming more and more interested in how things work. Help them stack the blocks up and watch as they giggle when the tower tumbles.
Lie on the ground and encourage your little one to crawl over you like a human obstacle course. This activity is great because you get to lie down (parent smarter, not harder we say!) and it also helps your baby work on gross motor skills and builds upper body strength. Sweeten the deal and stop mid-hurdle for snuggle and smooch.
Of course, every child is different, and these ages and milestones are just averages. If you have questions or concerns about your baby’s development, speak to your pediatrician.