The 22 Best Toys for 9-Month-Olds of 2022

The Playskool Poppin’ Pals take playtime up a notch with pop-up surprises

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The 22 Best Toys for 9-Month-Olds of 2022

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

As their attention spans grow and they become more mobile, 9-month-old babies are eager to explore the world around them. Their developmental milestones help them thrive, and toys that encourage movement, language skills, and social-emotional intelligence are crucial for their development.

Reviewed & Approved

The Playskool Poppin’ Pals Pop-up Activity Toy features animal friends who pop up by pushing, twisting, or sliding levers. If you prefer a multi-use toy, we recommend the VTech Stroll and Discover Activity Walker.

"At nine months, many babies have the motor skills—crawling, pulling to stand, cruising along furniture—to explore in new ways. They can move to the objects or toys that they want to play with, rather than having to wait for someone to bring toys closer to them. This opens up a whole new way for them to play," says Elizabeth Zack, PhD, outreach and education specialist at the University of Washington.

When buying toys for 9-month-olds, keep in mind that at this age, safety is of the utmost importance since babies love putting things in their mouths. We researched value, toy safety, and age recommendations when reviewing products.

Here are the best toys for 9-month-olds that will entertain, stimulate, and help them learn new skills.

Playskool Poppin’ Pals Pop-up Activity Toy

Playskool Poppin’ Pals Pop-up Activity Toy

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Teaches cause and effect

  • Mess-free

Cons
  • Some knobs are harder to move than others

  • Could pose choking risk if broken or used incorrectly

  • Stickers may fall off after extended use

Watch your baby’s face light up as they push, twist, or slide the levers for pop-up surprises. Adorable animal friends are revealed when a lever is moved, and babies can simply snap the lid shut again for more pop-up fun.

Parents and caregivers will love that this toy doesn’t include additional pieces, so cleaning up is a breeze. The pop-up animal friends can help your baby develop fine motor skills and learn cause and effect, while also teaching them colors and shapes. 

The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys

The First Years Stack Up Cups

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Teaches numbers

  • Inspires creativity

  • Durable plastic

Cons
  • Has holes; can't hold liquid

  • Two yellow cups

  • Numbers on cups are hard to see

These simple-yet-fun nesting cups are always a hit with babies, who use them to stack, fit together, or turn over and hide things underneath. Colorful and bright, they have numbers on their base so your baby can practice counting and number recognition skills as they get older. Recommended for 6-month-olds and up.

What Our Editors Say

"For $5, you can't do better. My daughter loved these simple cups so much, we got a set for our house as well as her grandparents'. The set kept her occupied, whether she was making noise with the cups, stacking them...or just throwing them on the floor!" Lauren Levinson, Editorial Director, Verywell Family  

VTech Stroll and Discover Activity Walker

Vtech Stroll and Discover Activity Walker

 Courtesy of VTech

Pros
  • Has interactive lights and sounds

  • Provides sturdy support

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Some accessories fall off easily

  • No adjustable handle

  • May be too many buttons for some children

This sit-to-stand activity walker is packed with lights, sounds, spinners, and sorters to keep them entertained and curious. Once your baby is more mobile, the attachable activity center snaps onto a sturdy base to prop them up as they start walking. As your tot grows, you can switch the walker between two age-appropriate speeds. Recommended for ages 9 months and up.

Fisher-Price Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth

Linkimals Sloth

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Has interactive lights and songs

  • Teaches letters, colors, and numbers

  • Develops motor skills

Cons
  • Has trouble connecting with other Linkimals

  • Four batteries required

  • Clicking sound made when unable to move

This super cute, interactive sloth gets little ones learning and moving with its songs and dance moves. Babies ages 9 months old and up can press the buttons on the sloth’s feet to hear about letters, colors, and numbers, as he sings, claps, bobs his head and lights up. With over 85 tunes and sounds, there are endless features for your kiddo to discover.

Infantino Press & Stay Sensory Blocks

Infantino Press & Stay Sensory Blocks

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Inspires creativity

  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Durable material

Cons
  • Not BPA-free

  • Some blocks may have trouble sticking together

  • Blocks are hard

While your little one may not be quite ready for building towers with wooden blocks, this colorful set is totally age-appropriate. Recommended for babies ages 6 months old and older, the blocks have interlocking nubs so they stay where they’re put, which makes stacking and building much easier and more fun. They are small enough for your babe to practice their fine motor skills without being too tiny.

What Our Experts Say

"Sensory play and play that encourages hand-eye coordination, communication, and motor skills is the most beneficial at this age." -Whitney Casares, MD, MPH, FAAP, author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself

Bright Starts Oball Classic Ball

Bright Starts Oball Classic Ball

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • 32 finger holes

  • Easy to grip

Cons
  • May not engage kids for long periods

  • Some areas may have sharper edges

  • Not designed to double as teether

The award-winning flexible design of the Oball classic makes it easy for babies of any age to grip, catch, and play. Lightweight and soft, it has 32 large, easy-to-grasp holes and is made of a flexible plastic that’s a cinch to wipe clean.

VTech Pull and Sing Puppy

3.3
VTech Pull and Sing Puppy

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination

  • Teaches numbers and colors

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Puppy's leash is short

  • Ears and tail only move manually

  • Tips over easily

Babies have a blast pulling and pushing this dog toy as they watch and listen to it play music and light up. Perfect for 9-month-olds, this highly interactive and visually stimulating toy helps them learn about cause and effect and develop their fine and gross motor skills. From teaching them their numbers and colors to the parts of their body, this toy will be a learning favorite as they grow.

Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape Sorter Baby and Toddler Toy

Melissa and Doug Shape Sorter

 Courtesy of Melissa and Doug

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Easy to grip

  • Teaches sorting and matching skills

Cons
  • Sorting pockets are shallow

  • Loud when moved/shaken

  • Bulky

This padded on-the-go activity center is so much more than a basic shape sorter. Babies can lift the crinkly flaps, match the shapes, and drop the textured blocks through the sorter. As they develop their skills, they’ll enjoy identifying the objects and zipping and unzipping the bag. Recommended for babies ages 9 months old and up, the set also has an easy-to-grasp handle to carry it from place to place.

Boon Stacking Boats Bathing Toys

Boon Stacking Boats Bathing Toys

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • BPA-free

  • Inspires creativity

  • Dries quickly

Cons
  • Difficult to stack

  • Colors made fade over time

  • Water drains out quickly

These brightly-colored, stackable boats make bath time more fun for babies. They can float them in the tub or use them to scoop up water and let it drain out as they watch the cool rain effect. Suitable for 9-month-olds and up, they’re free of BPA, phthalate, and PVC and are single-piece construction, so they won’t get moldy like other bath toys.

What Our Experts Say

"They love water play at this age and this can be encouraged. However, parents have to make sure that there is no standing water in the bathtub and close the toilet lid so their little explorer does not fall in." -Dyan Hes, MD, pediatrician and medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City

Sassy Stacks of Circles Stacking Ring STEM Learning Toy

Sassy Stacks of Circles Stacking Ring STEM Learn

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination

  • Easy to stack

  • Teaches numbers

Cons
  • Not safe for sterilizers

  • Top rings may be too small/thin for some children

  • Not water-friendly (will fill with liquid)

Designed to help develop fine motor, grasping, and hand-eye coordination skills, this stacking toy features chunky rings of all different textures and weights. The straight post accepts different size rings, so stacking is frustration-free. And when they’re a bit older, the numbers on the side of each ring will help babies learn counting order. Recommended for ages 6 months old and up.

VTech Turn and Learn Driver

VTech turn and learn

 Courtesy of VTech

Pros
  • Teaches animals, vehicles, and colors

  • Has interactive lights and sounds

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Noisy/Loud

  • Two batteries required

  • Steering wheel is small

As your baby steers the wheel, this toy plays songs and the little dog moves back and forth. The fun design also includes a traffic light, a turn signal lever that triggers sounds and music, a horn, and a gear shifter. Little drivers can also press the five colorful buttons to learn about different animals and vehicles. Recommended for ages 6 months old and up.

Fisher-Price My First Fidget Cube

Fisher-Price My First Fidget Cube

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Easy to grip

  • No sound

Cons
  • Not BPA-free

  • Heavy

  • One side features knob with no purpose

With six sides of colorful clickers, spinning rollers, toggle switches, and more, this activity block will keep little ones engaged as they practice developing their fine motor skills. This entertaining little toy will keep your tot occupied minus the endless noise. Recommended for babies aged 6 months and up, the cube is the perfect size for tiny hands to grasp and explore.

Hape Double Bubble Wooden Bead Maze

Hape Double Bubble Wooden Bead Maze

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination

  • Durable

  • Made from non-toxic materials

Cons
  • Could pose choking risk if broken or used incorrectly

  • Suctions cups can be easily removed

  • Toy itself is small

This two-track bead maze promotes fine motor skills, develops hand-eye coordination, and entertains little ones as they work the wooden beads from one end to the other. Durable and portable, it has two suction cups to keep the wooden base secure on smooth surfaces for extra stability. Recommended for ages 6 months old and older.

Sassy Pop n' Push Car

Sassy Pop n Push Car

Courtesy of School Specialty

Pros
  • Easy to grip

  • Teaches cause and effect

  • Inspires exploration

Cons
  • May not roll on high-pile carpet

  • Beads may not pop each time

  • Car is small

Babies love to pull back this easy-to-grasp car and watch it zoom forward as they let it go. The beads “pop” when the car moves, helping them learn about cause and effect. The colorful car also inspires exploration, as babies chase and retrieve it after it’s released. Recommended for 6-month-olds and up.

VTech Drop and Go Dump Truck

VTech, Drop and Go Dump Truck

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Teaches numbers, colors, and shapes

  • Batteries included

  • Develops fine motor skills

Cons
  • Could pose choking risk if broken or used incorrectly

  • String may be too short for some

  • Batteries required

More than just a pull along toy, this colorful truck helps little ones learn about numbers, colors, and tools. As they load the plastic rocks into the truck, it counts each one. They can also push buttons to play songs that teach colors, words, and tools. Recommended for 6-month-olds and up.

Hape Penguin Musical Wobbler

Hape Penguin Musical Wobbler

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Durable

  • Helps soothe babies

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • May not engage older kids

  • Heavy

  • May not work best on carpet

This adorable, wooden musical toy plays soothing, tinkling sounds as it waddles, spins, and rolls. As the sweet penguin wobbles, the interior bell creates a light sound that is perfect for little sensitive ears. Babies ages 6 months and up can bat at it, and it always pops back up.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Stride-to-Ride Puppy

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Stride-to-Ride Puppy

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Has ride-on and walking modes

  • Teaches sorting

Cons
  • May not roll on high-pile carpet

  • Handle is not adjustable

  • Wheels are difficult to roll for some children

This adorable Stride-to-Ride Puppy grows with your baby, as it easily converts from a walker to a ride-on toy. Babies can sit and play with it by sorting the colorful blocks and “feeding” them to Puppy. When they’re ready to walk, the seat raises and becomes a handle.

Whether they’re pushing, walking, riding, or scooting along, babies can watch the puppy’s head and ears wiggle and listen to fun songs and encouraging phrases as it moves. Recommended for ages 9 months and older.

LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table

LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table

Amazon

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Teaches letters, numbers, shapes, and colors

  • Includes Spanish and English modes

Cons
  • Slides and tips over easily

  • Book is one page

  • Tabletop is heavy without legs

Little ones can press, slide, spin, and pull the colorful instruments on this activity table, as they work on developing motor skills. The learning mode introduces them to basic concepts like letters, numbers, shapes, and colors, in both Spanish and English.

You can remove the legs for floor play, and then replace them when your baby is ready to stand. Recommended for ages 6 months old and older.

VTech Musical Rhymes Book

VTech Musical Rhymes Book

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Teaches music and colors

  • Builds vocabulary

  • Develops fine motor skills

Cons
  • Could pose choking risk if broken or used incorrectly

  • No way to play both pages

  • Tiny fingers may get pinched between pages

Babies will hear songs, sounds, and phrases as they slide, twist, and push buttons and levers in this interactive book. Recommended for ages 6 months and up, it helps little ones build motor skills. The musical tabs introduce them to instruments, colors, and help build childrens' vocabulary.

What Our Experts Say

"Books are some of the best toys for 9-month-olds as they start to develop their language skills." -Whitney Casares, MD, MPH, FAAP, author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself

Green Toys Tugboat

Green Toys Tugboat

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • BPA-free

  • Great for older kids

  • Made from 100 percent recycled plastic milk containers

Cons
  • Won't float when over-filled

  • Difficult to clean small crevices

  • May not keep attention long for some children

Babies can float this colorful boat across the bathtub or use the wide spout to scoop and pour water. Like all Green Toys, it’s made in the USA from 100 percent recycled plastic milk containers and contains no BPA, PVC, phthalates, or external coatings. Recommended for ages 6 months and up.

VTech Baby Babble and Rattle Microphone

VTech Baby Babble and Rattle Microphone

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Inspires creativity

  • Has interactive sounds

Cons
  • Noisy

  • Batteries required

  • Sound is muffled when singing into microphone

This interactive microphone amplifies your little one's voice, and the puppy button encourages them to sing along with playful melodies. When babies shake it or turn the ring, they hear different animals or fun sounds and phrases. Intended for babies ages 3 months to 3 years old, this fun-filled toy enhances listening and motor skills, while also promoting imaginative play.

Baby Einstein Musical Mix ‘N Roll 4-in-1 Push Walker

Baby Einstein Musical Mix ‘N Roll 4-in-1 Push Walker

Amazon

Pros
  • More than 100 melodies/phrases

  • Lightweight

  • Four conversions

Cons
  • Requires three batteries

  • May not lock correctly each time

  • Assembly required

For a toy that'll give you the most bang for your buck, there's this 4-in-1 push walker from Baby Einstein. It starts out as a music creator floor toy and then transforms into a walker, DJ mixing table, and finally, a toddler play table. Aside from the four different modes of play, babies will love the more than 100 melodies and phrases, which come in three different languages.

Final Verdict

Affordable and colorful, The First Years Stack Up Cups (view at Amazon) allow for a variety of activities, encouraging baby to get creative. From water and bath play to stacking, the cups also promote counting and color and number recognition skills. 

What to Look for in Toys for 9-Month-Olds

Safety

At 9 months old, safety is of the utmost importance, since this is the age babies love putting things in their mouths. Magnetic objects and toys with button batteries should be avoided for babies due to their potential dangers if ingested. Check how much a baby will need to be supervised or helped while playing with a particular toy before buying it. And, if they can fit it into their mouth entirely, avoid it altogether. 

"It can be challenging, but we need to take a step back at times and allow children to follow their curiosity, even if it might feel a bit risky to us. Stay close by so you can offer verbal or physical support," recommends says Elizabeth Zack, PhD, outreach and education specialist at the University of Washington.

She continues, "Rather than saying 'be careful,' which doesn’t provide helpful information, say things like, 'take your time. Check your feet before climbing higher.' Providing this type of scaffolding—a technique in which adults offer the right level of support to take a child to the next level—can support safe play as children follow their curiosity and build confidence and skills."

Milestones 

Milestones are a great guideline to follow to ensure your child is developing appropriately for their age. Certain toys can help babies to meet these milestones and skills. At 9 months old, your baby could reach these major milestones through play:

  • Moving objects from one hand to another with the Infantino Press and Stay Sensory Blocks (view on Amazon).
  • Moving their bodies and building muscles with the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Stride-to-Ride Puppy (view on Amazon).
  • Crawling and strengthening their gross and fine motor skills with the Oball Classic Ball (view on Amazon).

Physicality 

Buying toys that encourage movement is great for building a baby’s muscles and overall strength. Toys like large balls, soft things to crawl to, or vehicles with wheels to push and pull are great for getting a 9-month-old’s body moving.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What types of toys do 9-month-old babies like?

    "Babies love simple objects to play with, like a box, a ball, or a drum to bang on," says Dr. Hes. Thick board books are also great, as their little fingers can easily turn the pages. Putting things like blocks or cups into a bowl or box and dumping them out is another fun activity. "They also like to play peek-a-boo at this age, so they like little pop-up toys," adds Dr. Hes.

  • Do toys help with a 9-month-old's development?

    Babies are extremely curious at this age, says Dr. Hes. "Remember, a 9-month-old has the attention span of a flea, so all of these activities may not last longer than two minutes," adds Dr. Hes. Still, toys that help build fine and gross motor skills, language, and cause and effect can be very beneficial. Toys that encourage babies to pass things between their two hands, help them practice crawling, standing, or cruising, and support early language skills are all wonderful options.

  • How many toys does my 9-month-old need to have?

    Toys are fun to buy and watch your child play with. However, try not to go overboard. As Dr. Hes points out, 9-month-olds want to explore, and probably want to play with whatever their parent is holding, whether it be your cell phone or the TV remote. "I always find it so funny that if you give a 9-month-old an old remote control, they have no interest in it. These babies are smart—they want the remote control that their parent uses. What is the fun if it is not forbidden?" says Dr. Hes. Toys like the Playskool Poppin’ Pals Pop-up Activity Toy above are wonderful for learning cause and effect, and even more beneficial when paired with a good old-fashioned game of peek-a-boo behind a blanket.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Christine Luff is a freelance writer who covers fitness, health, parenting, and other topics. She’s also mom to a 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, who have always enjoyed a wide range of active and educational toys.

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3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Healey A, Mendelsohn A. Selecting appropriate toys for young children in the digital era. Pediatrics. 2019;143(1):e20183348. doi:10.1542/peds.2018-3348

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important milestones: your baby by nine months.

  3. National Association for the Education of Young Children. Good toys for young children by age and stage.