By the time your baby is 9 or 10 months old, he's usually able make his way around the room in some fashion – creeping, crawling, or cruising (walking while holding on to the furniture). By 12 months, he may be able to stand and even.
Your baby has also started using objects as tools, pushing a ball with a stick or chasing the carrots around his plate with a spoon. He's also more interested in interactive games. Tickle him and let him tickle you back. "Talk" on the phone, then pass it to him so he can babble and hand it back to you for another round.
His problem-solving skills are improving now too. He'll take the lid off a clear container to get the toy he sees inside rather than trying to reach through it. And he's beginning to understand words and recognize the names of familiar objects.
On all fours or on two feet, a baby with the freedom of movement and mobility is more curious than ever. He'll want to move, grab, and get into everything that used to be out of reach. Be ready for this stage by childproofing your home.
Also, a baby this age puts everything in his mouth, so make sure to buy age-appropriate toys.
Shape sorters: Trying to figure out why the square block won't go through the round opening is a nice challenge for early problem solvers. This is one of those toys that fascinate, and only occasionally frustrate, a baby this age. You can also just give him a clear, plastic container and some balls or blocks. Then watch the fun begin!
Balls: He's encountered them before, but balls get even more thrilling when you can actually stand up and bounce them off the floor. Your baby might also like toys that feature balls – ones that use air to make them pop up and have other entertaining features, like silly sounds and songs.
Toy telephone: Babies love to imitate their parents. Even if he can't say much yet, a baby will try to communicate by holding the receiver and pushing buttons. The more realistic the phone, the better.
Books: At this age, children are particularly intrigued by books with flaps that open, pull tabs that reveal new characters, textures that can be rubbed, and bunnies that need patting.
Blocks: A must-have for your baby at this age, blocks give him the chance to practice the art of stacking. He may be able to stack only a couple at a time, but knocking them over is just as fun. Start with large, unpainted wooden blocks, and when he reaches his first birthday graduate to large, plastic blocks that snap together.
Pail and shovel: These tools come in handy when your baby's all-time favorite activity is filling and dumping, filling and dumping. Take these along to the sandbox or park and your baby will stay contented and busy for some time.
Push toys: These give your toddler a chance to exercise his new walking skills. Choose one that's heavily weighted – like a wagon – so your baby can lean into it and take a lap or two around the living room. (Most babies this age are still too young for pull toys, which are better for slightly advanced walkers who can look behind them as they move forward.) Newfound mobility is a heady experience. But even after the novelty of walking wears off, your baby will enjoy pushing and pulling toys for months to come.