The 23 Best Toys for 9-Month Olds of 2021

Take playtime up a notch

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Best Toys for 9-Month Olds

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. Play helps babies thrive, and toys that encourage movement, language skills, and social-emotional intelligence are crucial for their development.

"At nine months, many babies have the motor skills—crawling, pull 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, Ph.D., 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. Also, be on the lookout for toys that help children hit their developmental milestones and get their bodies physically moving to build their overall strength.

Here’s our roundup of toys for 9-month-olds that will entertain, stimulate, and help them learn skills.

Our Top Picks
9-month-olds will likely grab and roll them, and as they get a little older, they'll learn how to stack and sort them.
The walker can aid them with their first steps, and in their down time, they can stay entertained with the detachable play panel.
Get your kiddo moving in unison with this plush sloth, which is programmed to dance, clap, and play music.
Before they move onto to LEGOs, your little one can get used to the basics of building with these interlocking blocks.
Featuring 32 finger holes, Bright Starts' toy ball is perfect for little hands to grip, throw, and catch.
Tots can look after their very own pup with this interactive toy, featuring sounds, songs, numbers, and colors.
Easily transported indoors or outdoors, this two-sided shape sorter trains your child in identifying colors and shapes.
Make bath time more exciting with these stackable boats, designed with drain holes and decks for scooping water.
Minimize your kiddo's playing frustration with these easy-to-grip rings that can be stacked onto the accompanying post.
If your youngster loves imaginative play, they'll enjoy pretending to be behind the wheel and experimenting with the 60+ sounds.

The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys

The First Years Stack Up Cups
Pros
  • Teaches numbers

  • Inspires creativity

  • BPA-free

  • Durable

Cons
  • Has holes; can't hold liquid

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
Pros
  • Has interactive lights and sounds

  • Provides sturdy support

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Some accessories fall off easy

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

Fisher-Price Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth
Pros
  • Has interactive lights and songs

  • Teaches letters, colors, and numbers

  • Develops motor skills

Cons
  • Has trouble connecting with other Linkimals

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

Pros
  • Inspires creativity

  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Durable

Cons
  • Not BPA-free

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, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Soft

  • Easy to grip

  • Durable

Cons
  • May not engage kids for long times

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

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination

  • Teaches numbers and colors

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Puppy's leash is short

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 motor and hand-eye coordination 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
Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Easy to grip

  • Easy to clean

  • Teaches sorting and matching skills

Cons
  • Sorting pockets are shallow

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.

Pros
  • BPA-free

  • Inspires creativity

  • Dries quickly

Cons
  • Difficult to stack

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

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination

  • Easy to stack

  • Teaches numbers

  • Durable

Cons
  • Not safe for sterilizers

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
Pros
  • Teaches animals, vehicles, and colors

  • Has interactive lights and sounds

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Loud

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

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Easy to grip

  • No sound

Cons
  • Not BPA-free

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

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination

  • Durable

  • Made from non-toxic materials

Cons
  • Poses a choking hazard

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
Pros
  • Easy to grip

  • Teaches cause and effect

  • Inspires exploration

Cons
  • May not roll on high-pile carpet

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

Pros
  • Teaches numbers, colors, and shapes

  • Batteries included

  • Develops fine motor skills

Cons
  • Poses choking hazard

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.

Playskool Poppin’ Pals Pop-up Activity Toy

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Teaches cause and effect

  • Mess-free

Cons
  • Poses choking hazard

Watch your baby’s face light up as they push, twist, or slide the levers for pop-up surprises. These animal friends can help your baby develop fine motor skills and learn cause and effect, while also teaching them colors and shapes. This mess-free toy is an all-in-one set, so clean up is a breeze. Recommended for 9 months and up.

Pros
  • Durable

  • Helps soothe babies

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • May not engage older kids

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

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Has ride-on and walking modes

  • Teaches sorting

Cons
  • May not roll on high-pile carpet

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 and Groove Musical Table

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Teaches letters, numbers, shapes, and colors

  • Includes Spanish and English modes

Cons
  • Slides and tips over easily

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.

SwimWays Inflatable Baby Spring Octopus Pool Float

Pros
  • Excellent safety features

  • Provides sun protection

  • Travel-friendly

Cons
  • Too small to accommodate life jacket

An ideal way to introduce your little one to the pool, this float has attached toys that they can play with as they get used to the water. Designed for comfort and safety, it features a wide base, child safety valves, dual air chambers, and a patented inner spring for greater stability.

The removable sun canopy offers a shady spot with UPF 50+ sun protection, and the mesh sides allow you to see your baby at every angle. It is important to note that babies should never be left unattended in the pool, even when using a floatation device. Recommended for 9-month-olds and up.

Pros
  • Teaches music and colors

  • Builds vocabulary

  • Develops fine motor skills

Cons
  • Poses choking hazard

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 age-appropriate 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, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself

Pros
  • BPA-free

  • Great for older kids

  • Comes apart for easy cleaning

Cons
  • Won't float when over-filled

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% 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

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Inspires creativity

  • Has interactive sounds

Cons
  • Loud

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

Pros
  • More than 100 melodies/phrases

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Requires 3 batteries

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 When Buying 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, Ph.D., 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).
  • Encourage them to move their bodies and build muscles with the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Stride-to-Ride Puppy (view on Amazon).
  • To help to get them crawling and strengthening their gross and fine motor skills, check out 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, or soft things to crawl to, are great for getting a 9-month-old’s body busy moving.

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. Updated July 27, 2021.

  3. National Association for the Education of Young Children. Good toys for young children by age and stage. 2021.