Easy, Healthy Kids

Easy, Healthy Baby & Toddler Meals, Snacks and Activities

Educational Baby Activities Ideas For Babies Aged 9, 10, 11 or 12 Months Old

The baby play activities I share with you here are all activities that we personally found to be the most engaging for a baby aged 9-12 months.

Keep in mind that babies have different personalities and interests… so what worked best for us, might not work best for you. They’re just ideas that we would like to share and hopefully you find them helpful and fun. Remember that repetition is key with learning and that repeating these activities will benefit baby most. Talking to your baby during all of the activities, will also develop his language comprehension.

Gelatin Play

This is a cold, sticky activity and best suited for summer or warm weather. Remove your baby’s clothing and have him play in his diaper (we didn’t and the Gelatin was very difficult to get out of Squish’s clothing)

You need: measuring cups, water, gelatin, small toys to emerge in the gelatin.

Make the gelatin according to your package instructions. Pour it into a shallow tray and emerge the toys in the mixture. Let set in the fridge. When baby is ready to play, take it out and have baby dig for the toys or feel the gelatin between his little fingers and toes. Best done before bath time.

Great for fine motor development, sensory development, language and creativity.

Messy Tray Play

This is a great activity with a tray and edible resource that don’t pose any choking hazard such as raw oatmeal, rice, maize meal or whatever else you can think of.

We mixed maize meal with digestive bran to make it look like sand. Add measuring cups and spoons so that baby can scoop or transfer the contents.

Play along with baby, make patterns on the tray and show baby how to scoop and pour. Do the activity outside or on a picnic blanket that you can easily pick up and shake out when cleaning up afterwards.

Great for fine motor development, sensory development, language and creativity.

Demonstrate crawl

Squish loved this even when she could not move around much and it enticed her to start crawling after me.

For this activity, you need to put baby on the floor and get down on all fours. Make silly sounds, demonstrate to baby how to crawl, crawl around the room or garden and use baby as a touch point to crawl back to (and away from) then nuzzle and tickle baby each time you reach him. Don’t just crawl quickly, but also crawl slowly to allow baby to see how you move your arms and legs to get around. Babies love imitating your movements and if you repeat the word “come”, eventually baby will learn what this means. Squish has mastered crawling and we still play this game.

When I say “come, crawl after me!”, Squish lets out a loud giggle and then follows me all around the house. It is a game Squish loves to play and requires no preparation or tools.

Great for gross motor development, role play, language and creativity.

Practice walking

This activity is best suited when your child shows developmental readiness for it by pulling himself up against furniture and taking a step or two or even cruising about.

You need a small step stool or a cardboard box. Have baby pull himself up against the stool/box. Slowly move the box a centimetre or two at a time and let baby move his legs along. Eventually baby will push the box/stool himself. Do the activity on a smooth surface such as wooden flooring or tile as you can imagine doing it on a carpet will make pushing a step stool difficult.

If you have a large mirror, have baby move towards the mirror. Squish loves seeing her own movement in the mirror.

Great for gross motor development.

Picture box

For this activity you search for pictures on the internet or in a magazine and put them in a box or tupperware container.

We started off with just the paper pictures. Later on Squish started grabbing at the pictures and crumpling them, so I laminated them.

A key tip here is to use pictures of things your baby use in everyday life such as a picture of a teddy bear or a sippy cup.

Point to each picture as you put it in front of baby one by one and say the object’s name. For animals, also ask baby what sound they make and then imitate the sound,for example : “How does a dog make? Woof woof”. Squish is at a point of making the animal sounds herself when seeing the picture. Talk about the pictures, for example : “this apple is red” or “This is a blue shirt. Your shirt is purple”. Squish would tug at her own shirt to check out the colour. Recently Squish has also surprised me by saying “Baby” even before I could name the picture of the baby. Squish loves this game and even crawls to go get her picture box which she drags over to us, asking us to show her the pictures.

One of the pictures, is a bee. Recently Squish saw a bee in the garden and immediately pointed to it and made “zzzz”. This activity thus involves skills that can be transferred to other settings such as when strolling in the garden.

Great for language development, object/colour recognition and memory.

Emotion cards

This activity also involves showing baby pictures, but the idea here is centered around socio-emotional development.

For this activity you need images of babies or children displaying different emotions such as sad, happy, excited, angry. Paste the pictures onto cardboard and cover with plastic. Play this activity with baby in front of a mirror. To play, you put baby on your lap in front of the mirror and hold up the emotion card next to your face so baby sees it in the mirror. You should imitate the emotion card. “This is happy. Look, the child is happy. Mommy is also happy.” Point to your own face and to the emotion card to help baby realise that you are imitating the emotion.

Squish laughs loudly when I imitate the faces and thinks it is very funny. Later on baby will try to imitate the faces himself. Talk about the emotions when showing baby the emotion cards. “What makes you excited? You get excited when you go to the petting zoo!“ Or toggle baby’s memory. “You cried when you fell yesterday, that hurt” or “You were angry when we packed away the toys”. Again, transfer these skills to different settings for example when ever baby displays a particular strong emotion, talk to baby about his emotions. For example, “You are sad, because daddy went to work”.

Great for emotional development, role play, memory and language.

Play with stickers or masking tape

You can use this activity to help baby learn about his own body.

Tear off a piece of tape or put a sticker on baby’s hand, foot, nose, ear, and so forth. Talk to baby “the sticker/tape is on your foot!“ Or put it on a teddy bear or a chair or anything that you would like to name. This activity is great for language and creativity. Have baby practice pulling the sticker off. This develops the pincer grasp. Draw on the masking tape and tell baby what you’re drawing “this is a green triangle “. You can tape a piece of masking tape together and pretend it is an earring or bracelet, fostering the development of baby’s creativity. Feeling the stickiness of the stickers/tape is a sensory experience, but this activity is also great for fine motor development, role play, creativity and language development.

Baby might also try to eat the tape or stickers, but use this as an opportunity to teach baby what is edible and not, to teach baby "not for eating" and to practice the beginnings of self restraint.

Laundry bin play

Put toys, scarves or socks in a laundry bin and have baby pull or toss them out.

Squish does this while I fold laundry. This is great for fine motor development when baby pulls out objects through the holes in the bin, but can also be great for gross motor development for instance when baby pulls himself up to stand against the bin.

It can also be great for language development in the instance where you talk to your baby about what he is doing, for example: "you threw all the clothing out of the bin!" or "that scarf is blue" or even sensory development, for example: "do you like how silky the scarf is?“ or "that sock has a rough texture".

Basket with same colour objects

Put same colour toys in a basket and each day of the week, present baby with a new colour.

Repeatedly say the name of the colour and objects to baby over the course of the day so that baby can learn about colours and can come to realise that different things sometimes share the same colour. “These toys are all yellow. The duck is yellow. Look, the ball is also yellow…”. This develops colour/object recognition and language. You can put items of different textures in the basket to give it a sensory twist.

Play with magnets

Put big fridge magnets on a metal tray or baking sheet and have baby pull them off.

Put them back on when baby pulls them off in order to make a game of pulling off and putting back that will keep baby entertained a bit longer. Talk about the magnets. “This magnet is a flower. The flower is red. '' Make sure the magnets are of good size and have no parts coming off of them that could pose to be a choking hazard. Great for fine motor development, language, colour and object recognition.

Give baby a tour

Walk around the garden or house with baby in your arms and give baby a “tour”. Point and show baby everything, naming objects and talking about them. “This is a curtain, behind the curtain is the window, There is outside. There are trees outside, look the tree is green”. This is great for language development, memory and object/colour recognition.

Simple play

Get down on the floor with baby in front of baby’s toy bin and simply play with baby. Babies love it when others demonstrate playing with toys.

This is great for all areas of baby's development.

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