How your 9-month-old might play now

    • She adjusts her posture as she moves, using furniture to steady herself
    • If a ball is rolled right to him, he can catch it
    • Her movements are more varied and deliberate
    • He can indicate with gestures, perhaps waving goodbye or lifting his arms to be picked up
    • She may follow your gaze
    • He can reach for a toy without falling over
    • Her hands are more dexterous; she can pass objects between them
Stacking, sorting and building toys
  • crawlerImg

    Brilliant Basics™ Rock-a-Stack®

Help your baby learn more:

    • Build it and they will play. Build a pile of blocks for baby and a pile for you. Stack up your blocks, pointing out which one is at the top and the bottom. Encourage baby to play along, either "helping" you build your pile or building with his own blocks. The most fun is likely to come from baby knocking over your pile … again and again!
    • Simple shapes. For shape-sorting, start simply. Let baby get the hang of putting the round shape through the round hole, then move on, going from simple shapes to ones that need more maneuvering to make them fit. You’ll help baby gain confidence this way.
    • Color intro. Use the toy's features to introduce your baby to various colors, saying each color name clearly as you point it out on the toy.
Toys with dials and buttons
  • crawlerImg

    Laugh & Learn™
    Learning Toolbench™

Help your baby learn more:

    • What do you think? Demonstrate activities on the toy, then encourage your child to do the same: "I turned the dial … now it's your turn!" "Do you think we'll hear a sound when you press the button?" Simple mechanics will hold your child's attention – and improve fine motor skills at the same time.
    • So many colors! Help your child learn to recognize colors by pointing out each one and slowly saying its name. Reinforce the learning by pointing out things in baby's world that are the same color: "See? Your shirt is red too."
    • More to learn. Down the road, your child will be ready for letter, number and shape recognition. You can help things along by pointing these out on the toy, and then pointing out matching ones you see in everyday things around you.
Toys that encourage language development
  • crawlerImg

    Laugh & Learn™ Storybook Rhymes

    Curiosity & Discovery Imagination & Creativity Listening & Communication

Help your baby learn more:

    • Talk to your baby as often as you can. As you talk through daily activities, you’ll introduce baby to the basic patterns and rhythms of speech.
    • Taking turns is another great activity. Initiate the "conversation," then listen and wait as your baby gazes back into your eyes and responds with a coo or babble. Say something back to help your child understand the idea of dialogue.
    • Mimic your baby's coos and babbles, which are critical for practicing how to make sounds, learning the ways sounds differ and how they can be combined.
    • Start reading to your baby early and instill a love of books. When you read together, point out pictures and encourage baby to point to them, too. Make the sounds of animals in books, or the sounds that other things make.


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Your baby will soon be talking, but before she leaves those funny little noises behind, capture those squeaks and squeals on tape to keep and play back over the years.


  • Cassette tape recorder and tape
  • Infant seat


  • Insert a fresh tape into a portable tape recorder.
  • Seat your baby in her infant chair and sit down beside her.
  • Turn on the tape recorder and talk to your baby, make mouth noises, vocalize in a variety of ways, and so on, to get your baby to talk back.
  • Pause between your vocalizations so your baby has a chance to answer you.
  • After you’ve both made some funny noises, turn off the recorder and play back the tape for your baby.
  • Save the tape and play it back when your baby is grown. (Maybe in the presence of her boyfriend!)


Don’t play back the sound too loudly, to protect your baby’s hearing.
Your child can learn

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20 Answers about Language Development

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Toys: The Building Blocks for Growth

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Is it normal for a 9-month-old to just sit and observe siblings play?

My almost 9-month-old son seems perfectly content just sitting and watching his four older siblings play (ages 15, 13, 9, 7). He shows no desire to try to crawl to play with them, but seems to be just “taking it all in” and studying the situation. When my other children were this age, they were crawling or “cruising” and getting into everything. We try to encourage him to play by giving him toys and stuffed animals, but he just watches everything going on around him. It is like he's analyzing the situation. Is this normal for a child this age?
This is normal: babies have internal mechanisms to shield them from over-stimulation. Sometimes your 9-month-old son might get overwhelmed when he is in the midst of all the activity and be very content to observe what is going on around him. He p Read More