Every baby develops in their own unique way. Always be sure your baby has the strength and developmental skills for the activities you choose. Try these five games for starters…
1. To me, to you…
What? Rolling a ball back and forth
How? If your baby can sit without support, sit opposite them with your legs and theirs in a “V” shape. Roll a soft ball towards them and encourage them to grab it. Once they figure out how to grab it, ask them to roll it back towards you.
Why? Practices sitting without support (a skill that many babies tend to master between seven and nine months). Also builds core strength, as well as encouraging hand-to-eye coordination.
2. Clap to the beat
What? Classic “Pat-a-Cake” and clapping to music
How? Start by sitting directly in front of your baby (or help support them until they get strong enough to sit by themselves) and clapping your hands. If they don’t copy you, gently take their hands and show them how to clap. Then take their hands and clap them against your own, while singing a song with a beat. It doesn’t matter what you sing—childhood classic, modern pop music, or spontaneously made-up lyrics—as long as there’s a rhythm.
Why? Helps improve coordination and babies tend to love music and rhythm. From a very young age, babies respond physically to music and rhythmic sounds.
3. Look who’s standing!
What? Bouncing your baby in a standing position
How? While you’re sitting on a chair or couch, hold your baby firmly under their arms and stand them up on your knees (supporting their head if necessary). Let them gently bounce, or squat up and down, so they can feel what it’s like to support their weight on their legs.
Why? Between seven and nine months many babies are able to bear weight through their feet when supported in standing. This helps them build leg strength for when they learn to pull up to standing and starts cruising.
4. Hit the target
What? Throwing/putting toys into a box and then emptying them out
How? Grab an empty plastic box or bucket and place it on the floor. Sit with your little one a small distance away from it (with support for your baby if needed), with a pile of soft toys beside you both. Pick up a toy and toss it into the box, encouraging your little one to do the same. When the box is full, they’ll love taking all the toys out and starting again.
Why? Copying movements helps develop motor skills and gets your little one active. This activity also helps your baby improve their ability to reach for toys from a sitting position.
5. Monkey see, monkey do
What? Copying actions
How? Lie your baby on their back and encourage them to do what you do: wave your arms, shake your head, or make funny faces. Praise them when they copy you and repeat the action back in a more exaggerated way.
Why? Can help strengthen core muscles and coordination.