Top 4 toys for babies 9-12 months for 2019

Occupational therapist and infant specialist Meg Faure recommends the following toys for babies between 9 and 12 months old.


This is a busy age and the chaos is just starting! Your 9-12 month old is busy and moving and has no sense of danger. At this age he is working hard at taking the sensory input he has been exploring and using it to learn skills.

Your baby’s milestones

The skills that emerge in this period are language, refined finger movements, crawling and the foundations for walking. The way your little one works on these skills is through play. Most babies of this age can keep themselves entertained for a period of time if the toy is interesting.

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As language is a real focus for babies of this age, your baby will start to understand basic instructions and words, such as his name and “No”. Language emerges in the context of hearing spoken words, stories and even music. Books are the best way to facilitate this process. At this age, you can buy board books with a very simple story. The best books are ones with a story in the image with few words. Use these books as a framework to tell your own story, or relate it to your baby. Use simple sentences like: “Jamie loves his teddy.”

Meg’s toy recommendation:

Usborne’s Peep Inside The Sea board book, R144.50. Available from Readers Warehouse.

Peep Inside The Sea Board BookToys that involve music, such as musical stacking rings, are also great fun for little ones. This toy plays a tune each time a ring is placed onto the stack, teaching your baby cause and effect, hand coordination as well as auditory skills.

You can also choose high-quality music on iTunes or Google Play. Make sure the quality of the music is good and look for tunes with simple repeatable phrases.

Meg’s toy recommendation:

A wonderful option to the musical stacking rings is Dinosaur Stomp. It’s a high-quality music CD with 12 catchy songs. Each song has an imaginary play focus and also teaches word and number concepts. It’s certain to become a firm favourite right into the toddler years.

Dinosaur Stomp and Other Pretend Play Songs, R100. Available from Play Sense or on iTunes and Google Play.

Dinosaur Stomp

Mastering the world through gross motor skills is key at this age. Vestibular (movement) input is important to build up sound muscle tone and for balance reactions. Do lots of outdoor play with your little one. Playground equipment such as swings and see-saws are great at this age. It’s time to buy your first large piece of play equipment – a jungle gym, slide or swing set.

Meg’s toy recommendation:

Modern Plastic Playhouse with Slide from Roof and Climber for Kids, R2 799. Available from

Modern Plastic Playhouse with Slide from Roof and Climber for Kids

As your baby approaches the cruising stage, he will love to hold onto furniture and move from one piece of furniture to the next. Once he starts this stage, it’s time to look at sturdy walkers or block trolleys. These toys are fabulous for cruising and will encourage the development of walking.

Of course, walking is not a milestone we want to rush. A longer period of crawling is way more beneficial than an early walker. To encourage crawling, set up obstacle courses on the floor.

Meg’s toy recommendation:

Fisher Price Zebra Walker, R609. Available from

Zebra Walker

More about the expert:

Megan Faure (BSc OT, OTR) is a lecturer for the Institute for Sensory Integration (SAISI) and regularly talks to both professionals and parents on baby and childcare issues. Megan is the founder and chairperson of Infant Sensory Integration Training programme. She is also co-author of the bestselling baby care series: Baby Sense; Sleep Sense; Feeding Sense; Your Sensory Baby. Visit her website here.

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