Best Baby Toys for 9 to 12 Month Olds

Interactive and skill-building toys for tykes

Are you marveling at your soon-to-be one-year old's newfound mobility — either as a crawler, cruiser or walker? Wondering what the best gifts for baby are now that they're able to move around independently? Changes in the physical development of a 9 to 12-month-old definitely affect how the baby moves about and sees the world, and with that also comes new kinds of developmentally appropriate toys.

Here are some great toys that will build baby's imagination and encourage new skills:


Push Toys Encourage Walking

baby with push toy
Pushing toy helps baby balance when learning to walk. Flickr/Kat Stan

You can't go wrong with a classic push toy for little cruisers and walkers. There are several things you'll want to look for before settling on a push toy for your toddling tyke. In addition to quality construction, look for a toy that is a comfortable height and has a grasping bar that fits nicely into little hands and helps baby maintain balance.

One great push toy is the Melissa & Dough Chomp & Clack alligator push toy. The painted fish and alligator details make this wooden toy simply adorable. It will also help baby develop a sense of cause and effect as they push the toy along and see the alligators chomp their mouths open and closed.


Gifts That Build Imaginations

toy shopping cart
Toy shopping cart. Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain/Stone_WLP

At this stage in the game, presenting your cherub with toys that encourage imitative play is essential for the development of their imagination. Consider buying your baby toys that stimulate imitative play. The Early Years Lil' Shopper Play Set is a great example. It will get your baby interacting with their world and will take their play skills to a whole new level.


Toys That Develop Fine Motor Skills

playing with blocks
Baby girl with Down Syndrome playing with blocks. Getty/Blend Images/JGI Tom Grill

One of my favorite sounds is a basket of wooden blocks being dumped out by a giggling baby. There is something so magical about ​the simplicity of building blocks. They delight, educate and occupy, and they also encourage fine motor skills and problem-solving skills in the youngest of children.

There are all sorts of building blocks are out there: some snap together, some are plastic and some make music. It isn't hard to find a great set of building blocks. One of my favorites are HABA Sticky Bricks. They're made out of solid beech wood and bright, non-toxic, solvent-free dye. They're easy to handle, easy to clean and perfectly sized for little hands.


Grown Up Gifts

playing with toy phone
Imitation leads to learning. Flickr/Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier

Let me guess. You've seen your baby play with a non-functioning TV remote for what felt like hours. Your baby now seems to imitate your everyday habits. Perhaps you feel like you have your very own "Mini Me." Now is the time to capitalize on your baby's growing interest to be like you. Toys that give your baby the opportunity to be a little grown up will more than likely fascinate them.

A great example of a toy that allows babies to mirror your actions is the Vilac Baby Telephone. Unlike so many toy phones, this one has no batteries or annoying flashing lights. A simple shake of the hand will active the bell.


Gifts That Get Baby Playing

toy farm
Toy farm. Flickr/lmnop88a

You can't go wrong with toys that encourage curiosity and play. These simple, yet important, steps will strengthen language, problem-solving and social skills in the long run.

Both of my children loved the Fisher-Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm. I can't tell you how many hours they spent mimicking the animal noises and making the little animals scoot along the floor with their chubby hands. It even remained a favorite into toddlerhood. It's a classic toy that's sure to keep your baby's attention.


Gifts That Get Baby Outdoors

baby with push toy
Outdoor play for cruisers... Flickr/eyeliam

Once a baby is 9 to 12 months old they're able to start enjoying the outdoors. It's the perfect time for using outdoor push toys, backyard playground equipment, and tricycles. The Smartrike 4-in-1 is such a great toy that will last through toddlerhood. 

Was this page helpful?