By the time babies are 9 or 10 months old, they’re usually able make their way around the room in some fashion — creeping, crawling, or cruising (walking with the furniture’s assistance). By 12 months, many babies have risen to their feet and can stand and even walk.
Your baby has started using objects as tools, pushing a ball with a stick or chasing the carrots around his plate with a spoon. He’s also more interested in interactive toys and games. Tickle him and let him tickle you back. Talk on the phone and then pass it off to him so he can babble, then hand it back to you for another round.
His problem-solving skills are improving and now he’ll take the lid off a clear container to get the toy he sees inside rather than trying to reach through it. And he’s beginning to understand words and recognize the names of familiar objects.
On all fours or on two feet, giddy with the freedom of movement and mobility, a baby at this age will want move, grab, and get to whatever used to be out of reach.
Push toys: Push toys give your toddler a chance to exercise his new walking skills. Choose a push toy, like a wagon, that is heavily weighted so your baby can lean into it, and take a lap or two around the living room. (Most babies this age are still too young for pull toys, which are better for slightly advanced walkers who can look behind them as they move forward.) Newfound mobility is a heady experience. But even after the novelty of walking wears off, your baby will enjoy pushing and pulling toys for months to come.
Shape sorters: Trying to figure out why the square block won’t go through the round opening is a nice challenge for early problem-solvers. This is one of those toys that fascinate, and only occasionally frustrate, babies this age.
Toy telephone: Babies love to imitate their parents. Even if he can’t say much yet, a baby will try to communicate by holding the receiver and pushing buttons. The more realistic the phone, the better.
Books: At this age, children are particularly intrigued by baby books with flaps that open, textures that can be rubbed, and bunnies that need patting.
Blocks: Blocks give him the chance to practice the art of stacking. He can probably stack three or four at this point, so the subsequent crash is gratifying.
Pail and shovel: These tools come in handy when your baby’s all-time favorite activity is filling and dumping, filling and dumping. Take these along to the sandbox, or out to the park and your baby will stay contented and busy for some time.