From 7-12 months of age, your child is likely to hit some of the most memorable and fun developmental milestones. As her skills multiply, you may find yourself wondering if there are any toys you should get to continue to spark her interest and stimulate her.
Manisha Shah, Founder of Playfully and childhood development nerd, sits down with Playfully’s child development experts to get their picks for best developmental toys.
There’s no doubt about it - your 7 month old baby sitting in front of you now will feel like an entirely different human by the time she is 1 year old. You’ll likely find yourself noticing new skills emerging day after day, week after week. And as she continues to surprise you with how much she is capable of, you may find yourself wondering if there are toys you should get or things you can do to encourage her growth.
At Playfully, we know that toys are not necessary - your child can thrive with nothing more than your loving interaction and basic household items - but we also understand that new toys can increase the fun factor and bring more energy and creativity into your play. So if we can help inspire you through these toys to spend a couple more minutes having fun with your kid, then we’ve done our job. And hopefully you and your child have built lasting memories as a result!
Check out the toys our experts recommend:
From 7-9 months, toys that encourage problem solving, a variety of fine motor tasks, and provide opportunities to introduce new vocabulary words are great. Our experts recommend these toys to keep your child engaged.
Kate, Child Psychologist, says: Stacking cups encourage early problem-solving skills and are great for promoting fine motor development. Your baby most likely won’t stack or nest quite yet, but these cups are great when used in sets of 2-3 to allow her to explore these concepts.
Briana, Occupational Therapist, says: This pop-up toy is great for learning about cause and effect while developing visual motor, fine motor, and upper extremity coordination. It’s too early to expect your child to manipulate all the buttons, but you can give her some hand-over-hand help and then let her explore on her own. As she does so, talk about all of the colors, animals, and the sounds the animals make.
Lift the Flap Book
Gopika, Speech-Language Pathologist, says: Children of all ages love lift the flap books. They also help us parents slow down our reading pace (which is important for the processing of new vocabulary) while looking under the flap! As your child grows, you can introduce various concepts while reading this book. Start with body parts (eyes, nose, etc), then move to prepositions (on, in, etc), then ask what/where/who questions as you read together.
As your child gets closer to 1 year old, you can introduce toys that promote gross motor movements and the development of social/emotional skills. It may be tricky finding toys that engage your child long enough to stay still for more than thirty seconds, but that’s ok! Just roll with it. Here's what our experts say.
Kate, Child Psychologist, says: Textured cubes are a great way of promoting open-ended play with your child. You can stack them, roll them back and forth, hide them and let your child find them, practice creative ways of 'throwing', or talk about the animals and colors. As you play, the various colors and textures will stimulate sensory development.
Gopika, Speech-Language Pathologist, says: A tunnel is an open-ended toy, which means it can be used in a variety of ways and will likely grow with your child. For 10-12 month olds, you can play peek-a-boo as your child crawls through or hide objects in the tunnel for your child to find, reinforcing the concept of object permanence. You can try creating your own tunnel at home by draping a blanket over chairs.
Zoo Friends Hand Puppets
Jenn, Child Psychologist, says: Hand puppets are another great open-ended toy. You can talk about the animals, acting out their sounds and what they do each day. They can also be pretend playmates, participating in whatever games you and your child are playing. Give your child access to a variety of puppets, baby dolls, stuffed animals, or figurines, and let them lead. They may play out very basic themes that they are experiencing or witnessing in their lives. Playing interactively with your child and narrating what they seem interested in with these toys also promotes healthy social/emotional development. Make your own puppets at home by drawing a face on an old pair of socks.
Looking for Toy Recommendations for Older Kids?
Stay tuned for future posts for recommendations for your child’s age.
This article is part of a series in collaboration with Playfully.
Playfully makes it easier for busy parents to set their children up for a lifetime of success. By partnering with child development experts and distilling their knowledge into personalized, bite-sized, actionable chunks, Playfully helps you support your child’s growth and development through play and makes sure you have FUN while doing so.