6 Fun Activities for 9-Month-Olds

Your 9-month-old baby’s brain is going through a period of rapid growth! So the more you read to your baby, interact with them, and play with them, the better.

At 9 months old, your baby is probably interested in exploring the world around them. They might be on the move–crawling and beginning to pull themselves up to stand. They’re typically becoming more verbal, and taking turns babbling back and forth with you. Nine months old is definitely full of fun! 

Playing with your baby is a great way to support their development and strengthen your bond. But what kind of activities can you do with your baby? Read on for 6 easy activities to try with your 9-month-old, plus expert tips for boosting your baby’s speech and language development while you play!

1. Playing on the swingset 

Playtime outside is fun for everyone! When you push your baby on a swing, stand in front of them so you’re face to face. After a few pushes, hold the swing and pause. Say, “Ready, set…,” and teach your baby the sign for “go!” or “more!” as you say the word aloud. Then let go and let your baby swing. Repeat this process a few times to make swing time more interactive.  

2. Reading books with your baby

The importance of reading to your baby can never be overstated. For infants and early talkers, books with photos of everyday items or animals are perfect. The pictures help babies learn the names of things they often see and use. 

When reading with your 9-month-old, point to the page to show what you’re talking about. Discuss the story out loud so they get good exposure to vocabulary words and hear how we structure our language. Try these tips with any of these favorite books! 

Tip:  Check out this Instagram post! One of our speech therapists shows you how to read Where’s Spot in a way that boosts your child’s language development.

3. Sensory activities for babies

You’ll need a towel for this one, or you can try it outside on a warm day. Fill trays or bowls with some water. Add edible items (in case your baby puts it in their mouth) or toys to the tray or bowl. Cucumbers cut into thin rounds or thin slices of apples are great options for this activity! Let your baby fish the items out.

Sensory bags are another great activity to try with your 9-month-old. Fill a zippered plastic bag with hair gel and soft pom poms, and let your baby play and explore. You can even tape the bag to the floor, high chair tray, or door for extra stability. 

Sensory activities offer many benefits. They allow your baby to freely explore and investigate their world. Sensory activities also help your baby develop their motor skills and the ability to focus. Support your baby’s speech and language development while they explore by modeling, or demonstrating, language for them:

  • Use describing words, like hot/cold, wet/dry, and soft/hard.

  • Use verbs, such as “splash” and “squeeze.”

4. Play “toy rescue”

Here’s a fun and easy indoor activity! Fill a muffin pan with toys and place a piece of tape over each one. Allow your baby to practice their pincer grasp while taking the tape off and “rescuing” their toy!

Support your baby’s speech and language skills by modeling:

  • Verbs, such as “Take off” and “Pull!”

  • Item names (and noises), such as “cow – moo!” and “car - vroom.”

  • Exclamatory words like “Yay!” and “Wow!”  

This activity also supports your baby’s problem-solving and attention skills. 

5. Have fun with everyday household items 

Your home is full of everything you need to promote language development in your 9-month-old. As you go about your day, label the names of items and show your baby how you use them. Here are some more ideas to spark your imagination!

  • Stack food storage containers or cups, then knock them over.

  • Fill a food storage container with dry rice and shake it to make “music.”

  • Play peek-a-boo with a blanket. 

6. Bonus activity: Sing songs!

Simple songs and nursery rhymes provide some great family bonding time. Singing songs also builds your baby’s vocabulary and helps them learn and recognize the natural rhythm of speech. Here are some of our classic favorites:

  • “Itsy Bitsy Spider” 

  • “Wheels on the Bus” 

  • “Open, Shut Them”

Best of all, there are so many opportunities to break up boring activities with songs, such as during long car rides or bath time.

How many toys does a baby need?

Don’t worry about buying a lot of toys for your 9-month-old. When it comes to the number of toys a baby should have, less is more. Research shows that fewer toys in a child’s environment can lead to better attention, more creativity, and overall higher-quality play.

Remember, as your baby’s parent or caregiver, you are in the best position to support their speech and language development. In fact, research has shown that children learn language best from the people they love most. Happy playing!

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