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By the time your baby is 9 or 10 months old, he's usually able to make his way around the room in some fashion – creeping, crawling, or cruising (walking while holding onto furniture). By 12 months, he may be able to stand and even walk.
Your baby has also started using objects as tools, pushing a ball with a stick or chasing the carrots around his plate with a spoon. He's probably also more interested in interactive games. Tickle him and let him tickle you back. "Talk" on the phone, then pass it to him so he can babble and hand it back to you for another round
His problem-solving skills are improving now too. He'll take the lid off a clear container to get the toy he sees inside rather than trying to reach through it. And he's beginning to understand words and recognize the names of familiar objects.
On all fours or on two feet, a baby with freedom of movement and mobility is more curious than ever. He'll want to move, grab, and get into everything that used to be out of reach. Be ready for this stage by childproofing your house.
Also, a baby this age puts everything in his mouth, so make sure to buy age-appropriate toys. Check out our tips on toy safety.
Gifts for 9-month-olds
These come in handy when your baby's all-time favorite activity is filling and dumping, filling and dumping: water, dirt, sand, whatever’s around – and they help teaching basic counting skills at the same time These stacking cups are made of recycled plastic milk containers and easily go from tub to park and back again.
Green Toys Stacking Cups
Blocks are a must-have for your baby at this age, to give him the chance to practice the art of stacking. He may be able to stack only a couple at a time, but knocking them over is just as fun. Start with large, unpainted wooden blocks or those made of soft fabrics, and when he reaches his first birthday, graduate to large, plastic blocks that snap together.
Melissa & Doug Match & Build Soft Blocks
Gifts for 10-month-olds
A shape sorter
Trying to figure out why the square block won't go through the round opening is a fun and classic challenge for early problem solvers. This is one of those toys that fascinate, and only occasionally frustrate, a baby this age.
Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape-Sorter Toy
An activity cube
Babies are endlessly fascinated by objects that do something in response to their touch, and this five-sided cube has many, many responses. Your baby can bang on the five piano keys to hear music, numbers, or colors; twist the light-up spinner; sort shapes and more, for lots of learning all while developing her hand-eye coordination.
VTech Sort-and-Discover Activity Cube
Gifts for 11-month-olds
Classic wooden vehicles
Anything that rolls mesmerizes a baby, and all the better if what’s rolling is a baby-sized version of the real vehicles he loves watching outside. These handsome wooden toys, including car, airplane, truck, and helicopter, are easy for small hands to grasp and will inspire many an imaginary journey to come.
Hape Wooden Push Toys
An interactive book
At this age, children are particularly intrigued by books with flaps that open, pull tabs that reveal new characters, textures that can be rubbed, buttons to press, and bunnies that need patting. On each page of this board book, babies can press a button and hear the sound that corresponds with that animal.
Noisy Farm Board Book
Gifts for 12-month-olds
A musical learning toy
Benches with pegs to tap in with a toddler-sized hammer are a classic toy for a reason: Babies love them. This model ups the ante musically,with a xylophone that sits beneath the pounding area. Push a ball through the holes and it tumbles down the xylophone in a cascade of notes. You can also pull the xylophone out altogether to let your baby tickle the ivories in earnest, or to quiet the hammer-and-bench toy down.
Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide-Out Xylophone
A balance bike
A pedal bike is well beyond her still, but your newly mobile toddler wants to move, as fast and in as many ways as possible. Balance bikes, which let kids push off to scoot or roll around, are an ideal first step on the road to pedal bikes, helping kids develop strength, balance, and nerve along with the thrill of the shoosh.
Bammax Baby Balance Bike