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Play Ideas for 7-12 Months Old



As a stay at home mom and pediatric physical therapist, I'm always looking for new things to do with my kids that will not only keep them entertained, but also promote developmental skills. If you're looking for ideas to engage your baby under 1... here are some of my favorites! These are tried and true activities that both of my girls have enjoyed. Not only are they simple and entertaining for your baby... but they also promote motor skill and language development! If you're curious to know what milestones to expect at each of these ages, I have a more detailed post coming on this! However, I will try to briefly touch on what gross motor skills you could expect to see in each month as I list the activities here.


Let's get into the activities and play ideas! Or you can jump to your child's age here:


7 months old


 

7 month old play ideas


  1. 💡 Shadow and light play! Helps baby learn about movement, patterns, lights and shadows. Use just your hands or hold up different objects to make different shadows.

  2. 🫧 Bubbles are a fun activity for 7 months of age! Baby can work on reaching and balance in sitting while looking at bubbles! Also great for tummy time! These are my favorite bubbles!

  3. ⚽️ Playing with balls! Balls encourage movement and are fun to roll and grab. Try different sizes (ie. a tennis ball, a playground size ball) and textures (like this one!) for baby to play with. Practice rolling the ball towards them and see if they can catch it!

  4. 🎵 Sing Nursery Rhymes! Add in hand gestures to the songs you sing to encourage your baby to copy you (Ex: ItsyBitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes) .

  5. 👏 Practice clapping! Most babies start to clap on their own around 8-9 months, but it’s fun to practice!

  6. 🥛 Stacking cups are great for learning how things fit together. They also make a great tower for baby to knock over (cause and effect). Baby will enjoy taking them apart and banging them together. They also work great in the bath! I love these stacking cups.

  7. 💪Obstacle course works on crawling skills by having baby crawl over and around things to get toys. Use pillows, blankets, towels and make a fun obstacle course for baby to crawl through. 

  8. 🎣 Fishing toys from a bowl. Place some toys your baby can grab into a bowl. This works on fine motor skills for reaching and grasping. Add water to bowl for extra sensory exploration.


Motor skills you may see at 7 months:

  • Rolling back to belly and belly to back towards left and right sides equally

  • Spends more time on tummy than back and enjoys tummy time

  • Pushing up on extended arms and starting to pivot on tummy

  • Army crawling/inchworming on tummy

  • Able to sit when placed on the floor and play with toys, may still fall but starting to catch themselves by using their arms


 

8 month old play ideas


  1. 👻 Peek-a-boo and hide & seek are fun ways for your baby to experience object permanence in real life. You can play this with a simple towel or by hiding behind furniture!

  2. 🫧 Bubbles! Try a bubble machine so you can enjoy the bubbles with baby! We love this one. Don’t forget a big bottle of bubbles to keep the fun going.

  3. 🎵 Raid your kitchen cabinets and let baby make music with pots and pans!

  4. ✨ Sensory bottles and/or bags for baby to explore! You can make your own! Save an empty spice bottle and a filler like rice, pom-poms, water + pieces of foil, water + oil… just take care to really seal the lid and even hot glue it shut for extra protection from spillage

  5. 🐛 A tunnel makes a fun way for baby to practice crawling! It also is great for encouraging proper form when crawling through the tunnel.

  6. 🥛 Stacking & nesting cups are great for learning how things fit together. You can count them out loud for baby as you stack and unstack the cups. They also make a great tower for baby to knock over (cause and effect). I love these stacking cups.

  7. 📦 Object permanence box is a fun first cause and effect/problem solving toy for your baby as they start to become aware of this phenomenon around 8 months.

  8. 💦 Splash play with water in the tub or take it outside to a splash pad if the weather is nice.


Motor skills you may see at 8 months old:

  • Crawling, either army crawling or hands and knees crawling

  • Able to sit when placed and play with toys in sitting without falling frequently

  • May be able to push into sitting independently at this age (usually starts around the same time as baby starts crawling on hands and knees)

  • Some babies may be pulling up to stand at furniture


 

9 month old play ideas


  1. 🧸 Dropping toys into a bucket or bowl! This is a super simple activity you can do with toys and any larger size container. It's no secret babies love putting stuff into and out of containers... so to keep it simple, we will make it an activity! Choose toys that make different sounds as you drop them in and out of the container for extra fun!

  2. 📦 Blocks! Help baby build a tower and knock it over. It’s a great fine motor activity but it’s also a great opportunity to work on language skills: “up, up, up”, “wow!”, “boom”, “uh-oh”, “more”... etc. This block set is my favorite!

  3. ⚽️ Roll a ball! This is a fun way to work on dynamic sitting balance, reaction and partner play with baby.

  4. 🤌 Pincer grasp practice! Use small pieces of food, cereal and/or puffs to allow your baby a safe way to work on developing their pincer grasp (picking things up with thumb and tips of fingers)

  5. 🐛 Crawling over various surfaces! Now that your baby is likely crawling, challenge their skills by providing different surfaces for them to go over. This is great for strengthening and sensory exposure.

  6. 🪩 Sing and dance! Baby loves songs, practicing clapping and singing at this age. Bring out your favorite nursery rhymes or put on music to dance with your baby.

  7. 🧤Post-it/Squigz pull. Your baby is working hard on developing their fine motor skills and also cause and effect. These pulling activities are perfect for that! (Always supervise baby when letting them pull things, especially smaller objects they can easily put in their mouth. 🙂)

  8. 💦 Splash play with water is still a big hit! You can do this in the tub or take it outside to a splash pad if the weather is nice. Try adding in some fun bath toys like these no-hole bath toys or these drip drop cups.

Motor skills you may see at 9 months:

  • Crawling on hands and knees (usually seen 8-10 months)

  • Development of pincer grasp (using thumb and fingers to pick up a small object)

  • Pulling up to stand and cruising (side stepping along furniture, walls, etc)


 

10 month old play ideas


  1. 🍝 Spaghetti Sensory Play- cook some spaghetti noodles and let your baby squish, feel and even have a taste 👅!

  2. 🏗 Stack blocks/cups- Your baby may be able to stack 2 blocks between 10-12 months! They may also just tap the blocks together or knock over a tower, and that’s great as well 👍 continue to show your baby how to stack the blocks and over time you should see some purposeful stacking occur! Here is my favorite block set. Again, another great opportunity to work on language skills: “up, up, up”, “wow!”, “boom”, “uh-oh”, “more”, “in/out”... etc.

  3. 🎨 Paint/color (with help 😉)- your baby won’t be able to REALLY draw or color until around 12-15 months but some early exposure never hurts! They make crayons that are non-toxic and easy for small hands to grasp. I have a list of my favorite art supplies on Amazon HERE. However, an easy, taste safe recipe for babies this age is DIY chalk paint you can make with equal parts cornstarch & water. Add some food coloring to give it a little color and let baby paint! Yogurt on a highchair tray for finger painting is another good option 💕

  4. 🎁 Open a gift- don’t over think this one… you don’t need wrapping paper or a real gift 😅. You can use a toy they already have, wrap it in paper or foil or even just stick it in a bag or cup and then cover it with paper or even some towels/burp cloths. It’s the fun of exploring, pulling and searching in this activity!

  5. 🛏 Blanket ride- place your baby on a blanket (add some pillows behind for extra support) and then take them for a ride around the house! This is great for trunk strengthening and reactive control in sitting.

  6. 🔵 Sorting- your baby won’t be sorting colors or shapes just yet, but they can start to place objects into smaller containers! Use a muffin tin or cup and show baby how to place the object in and out. This is a building block skill to sorting that will come later with shapes, colors, etc.

  7. 🎶 Sing songs and dance- sing nursery rhymes and dance! Your baby will likely shake their head or do a little bounce to the music or song 🥰.

  8. 🏃‍♀️ Chase me!- your baby will likely be on the move at 10 months old and you can start some hide and surprise or chasing games now that they’re mobile.

  9. 🙉 Imitation- monkey see, monkey do! Try doing silly movement and sounds and see if your baby can copy you. 


Motor skills you may see at 10 months:

  • Crawling and exploring!

  • Pulling up to stand, squatting to pick up toys while holding on, cruising and enjoy taking steps holding your hands or pushing a walker toy.. they may even try to take a step or two on their own! 

  • Imitating you more in every way by copying your sounds, movements etc.

  • Waving and clapping 👏


 

11-12 month old play ideas


  1. 🛝 Visit a playground- Baby will love crawling, climbing and eventually walking around the playground. 

  2. 🚶‍♀️Walking with/without assistance- you can hold their hands to walk or have them push a toy/furniture for practice! Add some pillows or obstacles to make it a challenge if you’re holding their hands or their walking independently!

  3. 💦 Water Play- My favorite outdoor water play activities for this age are a splash pad and a water table, but if the weather won’t allow it or you don’t have either… fill a bowl or pan with water, get in the bathtub or go outside in the rain! 

  4. 🖍️ Drawing/coloring (with help)- check out my play ideas highlight for some taste safe color ideas (“chalk paint” and water painting). I also have non-toxic crayons in my Amazon storefront!

  5. 📚 Books- Charlotte has always loved books and particularly around 11/12 months she was enjoying touch and feel, lift the flap and interactive books (buttons for sounds or the poke-a-dot book). I have a “books” section in my Amazon storefront if you need some inspo!

  6. 🏀 Ball activities- A ball run where baby drops the ball and it follows a track down is a great activity for an 11/12 month old! We have one from this lovevery playkit that is wonderful. It’s also a great age to work on throwing a ball or rolling a ball!

  7. 🧸 Pretend play- it might be a few more months before your little one is TRULY engaging in pretend play but I find exposure to these type of toys around the 1 year mark is a great start! 

  8. 👻 Scarves- Easy, fun, versatile. The scarves are fun to wave around, pull out of boxes and make for a fun game of hide and seek!

  9. 🫧 Bubbles- A bubble machine really takes the activity to the next level. I love using fubbles brand of bubbles!


Motor skills you may see at 11-12 months:

  • Standing independently for a few seconds

  • Able to walk with hand held assist or by pushing a toy/object

  • Taking a few independent steps or possibly walking totally independently! (walking independently is typically seenbetween 10-18 months of age with many babies walking around their first birthday)


 

If you're more of a visual person, I have reels of me doing these activities with my oldest daughter on my Instagram you can find them all in the "play ideas" highlight.


I hope this post helps give you some inspiration for play with your little one!







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