By six months of age your baby may be sitting unassisted, her coordination skills are growing in leaps and bounds, and she will soon be crawling, standing, and then walking. Six to twelve months is a fun time for parents and babies. Play a variety of games with your little one and watch her quickly master new skills, like language skills and fine and gross motor development.
Between 6 and 9 months your baby will love to experiment with simple cause and effect relationships like pressing a button to play a song. Little ones also love to explore sounds by banging spoons and toys together or on the table at this age. Give your baby an assortment of pots, coffee cans, and containers along with wooden spoons and metal spoons. Encourage her to play the drums as you sing along. The Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Toy Bench is a great toy to satisfy those banging urges. It also offers a number of educational benefits, like color and letter recognition, and provides opportunities for your baby to explore cause and effect.
Games with balls are a lot of fun at this age. Use soft, squishy balls to roll back and forth across the floor with your baby. Try dropping beanbags into a wide, open container. Your little one will love taking them out just as much as watching you toss them in. Once your baby starts to crawl, set up an obstacle course for her to crawl over. Pillows, large stuffed animals, and piles of soft cloth scraps make perfect climbing obstacles to boost her crawling skills and strengthen the muscles she will soon use to walk.
Sometime between 9 months old and the first birthday, most babies will begin to walk, some earlier and some later. During this age, your baby will be developing a number of new large muscles as well as her fine motor skills. She will know how to hold her toys and can probably throw them. These soon-to-be toddlers also love to imitate and copy the things they see.
Play sound games with your baby. Make a sound or unusual noise and encourage your baby to copy it. Try this with funny faces and movements for even more fun. Stacking and arranging blocks, cups, or other toys is also a fun game to enhance fine motor development. Give your baby an assortment of toys and a big box and watch her meticulously put them in and then dump them again all over the floor.
Sing lots of silly songs with your child and read everyday. Language skills are becoming quite strong during this stage and her vocabulary of understood words is growing rapidly. Repetition of her favorite story books, nursery rhymes, and songs can give her an even better understanding of the common patterns of spoken language. Songs with movements, like the Itsy Bitsy Spider, are favorites at this age.
As your baby begins to cruise around the house, typically using furniture to aid her balance, play walking games. Hold her teddy bear or another cherished toy a few steps away and encourage your little one to walk to you to get it. Remember to praise her efforts and not to make too big of a deal when she stumbles or falls. Once your baby becomes a confident toddler, there are tons of new games to enjoy together!