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Activities for Infants 8-12 Months Old

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Let your baby feed her or himself. This gives baby practice picking up small objects (cereal, cooked peas) and also gives experience with textures in hands and mouth. Soon baby will be able to finger feed an entire meal.

Baby will be interested in banging objects to make noise. Give baby blocks to bang, rattles to shake, or wooden spoons to bang on containers. Show baby how to bang objects together.

A good pastime is putting objects in and out of containers. Give baby plastic containers with large beads or blocks. Baby may enjoy putting socks in and out of the sock drawer, or small cartons (Jell-O, tuna, or soup cans) on and off shelves.

Mirrors are even more exciting at this age. Let baby pat and poke at self in the mirror. Smile and make faces together in the mirror.

Baby will begin using index fingers to poke. Let baby poke at play telephone or busy box. Baby will want to poke at faces. Name the body parts as baby touches your face.

Put toys on sofa or sturdy table so baby can practice standing while playing with the toys.

Attach a favorite toy to baby’s high chair with a yarn string. Show baby how to use the string to pull the toy within reach. Let baby try to get the toy by using the string.

Read baby books or colorful magazines by pointing and telling baby what is in the picture. Let baby pat pictures in book.

Play hide-and-seek games with objects. Let baby see you hide an object under a blanket, diaper, or pillow. If baby doesn’t uncover the object, just cover part of it. Help baby find the object.

Play ball games. Roll ball to baby. Help baby, or have a partner help baby roll the ball back to you. Baby may even throw ball, so beach balls or Nerf balls are great for this game.

Turn on radio or stereo. Hold baby in a standing position and let baby bounce and dance. If baby can stand with little support, hold baby’s hands and dance like partners.

Play imitation games like peek-a-boo and So Big. Show pleasure at baby’s imitations of movements and sounds. Babies enjoy playing the same games over and over.

Let baby play with plastic measuring cups, cups with handles, sieves and strainers, sponges, and balls that float in the bathtub. Bath time is a great learning time.

Play pat-a-cake. Clap hands together or take turns. Wait and see if baby signals you to start the game again. Try the game using blocks or spoons to clap and bang with.

Baby will play more with different sounds like “la-la” and “da-da.” Copy the sounds baby makes. Add a new one and see if baby tries it too. Enjoy baby’s early attempts at talking.

Make a simple puzzle for baby by putting blocks or ping-pong balls inside a muffin pan or egg carton.

You can make another simple toy by cutting a round hole in the plastic lid of a coffee can. Give baby wooden clothespins or ping-pong balls to drop inside.

Say “Hi” and wave when entering a room with baby. Encourage baby to imitate. Help baby wave to greet others. Waving “hi” and “bye” are early gestures.

Let baby make choices. Offer two toys or foods and see which baby picks. Encourage baby to reach or point to the chosen object. Babies have definite likes and dislikes!

New places and people are good experiences for baby, but can be frightening. Let baby watch and listen and move at his or her own speed. Go slowly. Baby will tell you when he or she is ready for more.

Ask Dr. Susan