Your little tot is definitely growing up! At nine months old, he can already pull himself up to a standing position. He can climb and crawl on just about anything and anywhere, and no cabinet or drawer is safe from his persistent curiosity. His hands are becoming even more skilled when it comes to handling objects: he can pass things from one hand to another and pick up smaller items.
Mimicry becomes a talent as he imitates observed actions or vocalizes short phrases spoken by adults. He revels in the spotlight as antics keep drawing attention.
Hide and seek “At nine months, that’s when they start to realize that they can manipulate the toys,” explains An-Marie Bartolome-Villarin, managing director of the Terrific Tots Preschool Program at The Little Gym in Taguig City, and mother to Santi. “They actually play with them, not just put things in their mouths .”
Babies at this period experiment and tinker with the physical structure of objects, poking their fingers in every crevice and discovering what will happen if toys are placed in various positions.
In terms of cognitive development or thinking skills, nine-month-old babies are beginning to learn object permanence, meaning they understand that an object exists even when not in sight.
Villarin suggests playing a game which illustrates such a development. “We would play ‘Hide the toy under the bowl,’ and he would be able to find them!” Villarin enthuses. “If I put a ball inside a bowl and move it around, he’d know where the ball was.”
Stack ‘em up This period in your little one’s development is ideal for nurturing his curious mind and his thinking skills. Stacking toys are perfect for challenging his patience and problem-solving skills.
Stacking bowls , for instance, encourage your child to experiment and practice his imagination with the variety of ways they can be stacked or built. “They’re bowls of different sizes, with different colors,” describes Villarin, who used the same toy with her baby. “You can stack like they’re nestled into each other, or you can stack them the other way around and they can lock and make a tower. You can also make them into balls.”
Aside from developing cognitive skills, building toys also practice your tot’s fine motor skills as he develops handling and grasping the bowls in more complex ways.