Family Life Fun Toys The Best Developmental Toys for 9-Month-Olds and Their Sensory Exploration These delightful toys teach cause and effect, fine motor skills, and more. By Christine Luff and Phoebe Sklansky Published on March 17, 2023 Share Tweet Pin Email We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Photo: Parents / Jaclyn Mastropasqua As their attention spans grow and they become more mobile, 9-month-old babies are eager to explore the world around them. Their developmental milestones help them thrive, and toys that encourage movement, language skills, and social-emotional intelligence are crucial for their development. "At 9 months, many babies have the motor skills—crawling, pulling to stand, cruising along furniture—to explore in new ways. They can move to the objects or toys that they want to play with rather than having to wait for someone to bring toys closer to them. This opens up a whole new way for them to play," says Elizabeth Zack, PhD, outreach and education specialist at the University of Washington. When buying toys for 9-month-olds, keep in mind that at this age, safety is of the utmost importance since babies love putting things in their mouths. We researched value, toy safety, and age recommendations when reviewing products. We also made sure that these toys are fun! Our Favorite Toys for 9-Month-Olds Fisher-Price DJ Bouncin’ Beats Interactive Learning Toy The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys VTech Stroll and Discover Activity Walker Fisher-Price Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth Bright Starts Oball Classic Ball VTech Pull and Sing Puppy Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape Sorter Boon Stacking Boats Bathing Toys Sassy Stacks of Circles Stacking Ring Hape Double Bubble Wooden Bead Maze Fisher-Price DJ Bouncin’ Beats Interactive Learning Toy Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Target Why We Like It: This singing and dancing toy helps teach the alphabet, numbers, colors, and opposites, with different modes to entertain littles as they grow. But Take Note: An easily missed switch in the back controls how long the songs play for. This bouncing interactive toy will have your baby bopping along to over 75 educational songs about letters, numbers, colors, and more. The DJ toy also has a light-up face and soft ears to encourage sensory play. There's also an option for to record sounds to mix with the music. With its three levels of play, DJ Bouncin’ Beats will grow with your little one, from sitting and listening to simple songs at 9 months to a full-on dance party with more advanced songs and phrases at 18 months. Price at time of publication: $45 The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Target Why We Like It: It teaches counting, sorting, and motor skills. But Take Note: The cups have holes, so they can't hold liquid. These simple-yet-fun nesting cups are always a hit with babies, who can use them to stack, nest, or turn over to hide things underneath. Colorful and bright, they have numbers on their base so your baby can practice their counting and number recognition skills as they get older. Though the small holes prevent the cups from holding water, they are still great for water play or bathtime. Price at time of publication: $5 VTech Stroll and Discover Activity Walker Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Target Why We Like It: It has interactive lights and sounds and provides sturdy support. But Take Note: This toy makes a whole lot of different noises, which can be overwhelming for parents and tots. This two-in-one activity walker is packed with lights, sounds, spinners, and sorters to keep them entertained and curious while they're sitting, standing, or walking. Once your baby is more mobile, the attachable activity center snaps onto a sturdy base to prop them up as they start walking. As your tot grows, you can switch the walker between two age-appropriate speeds. Price at time of publication: $35 The 18 Best Kids Mattresses for Every Age and Sleep Type Fisher-Price Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: Not only does the sloth feature interactive lights and songs to teach letters, colors, and numbers, but it also interacts with the other toys in the Linkimals line. But Take Note: It requires four AA batteries. This super cute interactive sloth gets little ones learning and moving with its songs and dance moves. Babies can press the buttons on the sloth’s feet to hear about letters, colors, and numbers while they watch it sing, clap, bob its head, and light up. With over 85 tunes and sounds, there are endless features for your kiddo to discover. If you purchase other Linkimals toys, they sync up and interact with each other. Price at time of publication: $50 Bright Starts Oball Classic Ball Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: The lightweight ball is easy for babies to grasp and transferr between hands, as well as roll and toss like a regular ball. But Take Note: Some areas may have sharper edges, so it's not designed to double as teether. The award-winning flexible design of the Oball classic makes it easy for babies of any age to grip, catch, and play. Lightweight and soft, it has 32 large, easy-to-grasp holes and is made of a flexible plastic that’s a cinch to wipe clean. Price at time of publication: $5 The Best Thermometers for Kids, Tested by Editors and Their Children VTech Pull and Sing Puppy Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Why We Like It: This agreeable puppy lets babies push and pull it, learning cause and effect as they develops fine motor skills. But Take Note: The puppy's leash is short, so toddlers may have to stoop to pull it along. Babies have a blast pulling and pushing this dog toy as they watch and listen to it play music and light up. Perfect for 9-month-olds, this highly interactive and visually stimulating toy helps them learn about cause and effect and develop their fine and gross motor skills. From teaching them their numbers and colors to the parts of their body, this toy will be a learning favorite as they grow. Price at time of publication: $25 Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape Sorter Baby and Toddler Toy Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Melissaanddoug.com Why We Like It: The shapes are easy to grip for babies learning sorting and matching skills. But Take Note: Because the sides are soft, some find it collapses when babies push the shapes in. This padded on-the-go activity center is so much more than a basic shape sorter. Babies can lift the crinkly flaps, match the shapes, and drop the textured blocks through the sorter. As they develop their skills, they’ll enjoy identifying the objects and zipping and unzipping the bag. Recommended for babies ages 9 months old and up, the set also has an easy-to-grasp handle to carry it from place to place. Price at time of publication: $28 Boon Stacking Boats Bathing Toys Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Why We Like It: These BPA-free bath toys inspire creativity and dry quickly. But Take Note: They only stack in a certain order, which may be frustrating. These brightly-colored stackable boats make bathtime more fun for babies. They can float them in the tub or use them to scoop up water and let it drain out as they watch the holes’ cool rain effect. Suitable for 9-month-olds and up, they’re free of BPA, phthalates, and PVC—plus, since they’re single-piece construction, they won’t get moldy like other bath toys. Price at time of publication: $10 Sassy Stacks of Circles Stacking Ring STEM Learning Toy Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Target Why We Like It: This vibrantly colored toy develops fine motor skills without frustration. But Take Note: Though it's made of plastic, these toys shouldn't be submerged in water, as they could grow mold inside. Designed to help develop fine motor, grasping, and hand-eye coordination skills, this stacking toy features chunky rings of all different textures and weights. The straight post accepts different size rings for frustration-free stacking, while the see-through ring with colorful beads helps little ones connect sight to sound. Plus, when they’re a bit older, the numbers on the side of each ring will help babies learn counting order. Price at time of publication: $13 Hape Double Bubble Wooden Bead Maze Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Mastermindtoys.com Buy on Walmart Why We Like It: Durable wooden beads promote hand-eye coordination. But Take Note: The beads could pose choking risk if the toy breaks. This two-track bead maze promotes fine motor skills, develops hand-eye coordination, and entertains little ones as they work the wooden beads from one end to the other. Durable and portable, it has four suction cups to keep the wooden base secure on smooth surfaces, like high chair trays, for extra stability. Price at time of publication: $22 VTech Turn and Learn Driver Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Why We Like It: It holds an impressive 60 songs and sounds, and appeals to early car lovers. But Take Note: This toy is on the noisy side. As your baby steers the wheel, this toy plays one of over 60 songs and sounds as the little dog moves back and forth. The fun design also includes a traffic light, a turn signal lever that triggers sounds and music, a horn, and a gear shifter. Little drivers can also press the five colorful buttons to learn about different animals and vehicles. Price at time of publication: $20 9 Best Potty-Training Seats and Chairs for Toddlers Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Stack & Roll Cups Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Kohls.com Buy on Walmart Why We Like It: In addition to stacking, the cups nest inside each other and can turn into colorful balls. But Take Note: It may be tricky to separate the pieces when snapped into a ball. Babies can stack these versatile cups into a tower, nest them inside of each other, or snap two together to make a ball that they can roll. The cups are numbered one through 10 to help little ones learn their numbers, while the bright hues can teach them about colors. As a bonus, the hard plastic material is easy to wipe clean. Price at time of publication: $11 Bright Starts Press & Glow Spinner Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Target Why We Like It: This toy glows and spins with each push of the star, and the music it plays is at a gentle volume. But Take Note: Flashing lights might not be suitable for some babies. This spinner will mesmerize your little one with its bright lights and fun tunes. To operate, your baby needs to push on the star, helping them hone their fine motor skills and explore cause and effect. Caregivers will appreciate that the volume isn’t too loud, and that the various songs are fairly short. Price at time of publication: $14 VTech Drop and Go Dump Truck Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Target Why We Like It: Babies and toddlers love loading the included "rocks" into the dump truck, which counts each one aloud. But Take Note: Its songs may get annoying to grown-ups. More than just a pull-along toy, this colorful truck helps little ones learn about numbers, colors, and tools. As they load the plastic rocks into the truck, it counts each one. They can also tilt the hinged bucket to dump out the rocks or push the buttons to play songs that teach colors, words, and tools. Price at time of publication: $21 The Best Baby Walker Alternatives for Tots on the Move Hape Penguin Musical Wobbler Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Faoschwarz.com Why We Like It: This soothing toy makes a tinkling sound as it moves, without the need for batteries. But Take Note: It's meant for babies, so won't be entertaining when they're older. This adorable wooden musical toy plays soothing tinkling sounds as it waddles, spins, and rolls. As the sweet penguin wobbles, the interior bell creates a soft sound that is perfect for little sensitive ears. Babies can bat at it, and it always pops back up. Price at time of publication: $17 Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Stride-to-Ride Puppy Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: While this pup's fun for babies on the ground, it also turns into a ride-on toy for toddlers. But Take Note: It may not roll on high-pile carpet. This adorable puppy grows with your baby, as it easily converts from a walker to a ride-on toy. Babies can sit and play with it by sorting the colorful blocks and “feeding” them to Puppy. When they’re ready to walk, the seat raises and becomes a handle. Whether they’re pushing, walking, riding, or scooting along, babies can watch the puppy’s head and ears wiggle and listen to fun songs and encouraging phrases as it moves. Price at time of publication: $60 LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Why We Like It: The table the ground for babies and up on legs for toddlers, teaching in both Spanish and English modes. But Take Note: The tabletop is heavy without its legs. Little ones can press, slide, spin, and pull the colorful instruments on this activity table to play more than 70 songs and sounds as they work on developing motor skills. The learning mode, which can be set to English or Spanish, introduces them to basic concepts like letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. You can also remove the legs for floor play and then replace them when your baby is ready to stand. Price at time of publication: $53 VTech Musical Rhymes Book Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: This toy combines the interactivity of an electronic toy with the educational value of a book. But Take Note: Adults will find the songs repetitive. Babies will hear songs, sounds, and phrases as they slide, twist, and push buttons and levers in this interactive book, which is full of classic rhymes such as “Little Boy Blue.” Turning this book’s pages helps little ones build motor skills, while the five piano tabs introduce them to instruments and colors and help build children's vocabulary. Price at time of publication: $20 Green Toys Tugboat Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Target Why We Like It: This endlessly fun bath toy is made from recycled plastic milk containers. But Take Note: Be sure to clean all its small crevices to prevent mold growth. Babies can float this colorful boat across the bathtub or use the wide spout to scoop and pour water. When your little one is old enough to play safely in the kiddie pool, this boat is a fun pool toy, too. Like all Green Toys, it’s made in the USA from recycled plastic milk containers and contains no BPA, PVC, phthalates, or external coatings. Price at time of publication: $15 VTech Baby Babble and Rattle Microphone Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: While encouraging your future divas and emcees with real amplification, this mic develops fine motor skills. But Take Note: Its many interactive sounds may be overstimulating. This interactive microphone amplifies your little one's voice, and the puppy button encourages them to sing along with playful melodies. When a baby shakes the rattle or turns the ring, they hear different animal sounds and fun music. Great for promoting imaginative play, this fun-filled toy enhances listening and motor skills and can also be used well into your kiddo’s toddler years. Price at time of publication: $15 Baby Einstein Musical Mix ‘N Roll 4-in-1 Push Walker Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Target Why We Like It: This multipurpose activity table and walker is stocked with 100 melodies and phrases in four languages. But Take Note: Some assembly is required. For a toy that'll give you the most bang for your buck, try this four-in-one floor toy, activity table, and push walker from Baby Einstein. It starts out as a musical floor toy and then transforms into a walker, DJ mixing table, and finally, a toddler play table. Along with the four different modes of play, babies will love the more than 100 melodies and phrases, which come in four languages: English, Spanish, French, and German. Price at time of publication: $50 What to Look for in Toys for 9-Month-Olds Safety At 9 months old, safety is of the utmost importance since this is the age babies love putting things in their mouths. Magnetic objects and toys with button batteries should be avoided for babies due to their potential dangers if ingested. Check how much a baby will need to be supervised or helped while playing with a particular toy before buying it. And, if they can fit it into their mouth entirely, avoid it altogether. Once you're sure the toy is safe, you can step back and allow them to play on their own. "It can be challenging, but we need to take a step back at times and allow children to follow their curiosity, even if it might feel a bit risky to us. Stay close by so you can offer verbal or physical support," recommends says Elizabeth Zack, PhD, outreach and education specialist at the University of Washington. She continues, "Rather than saying 'be careful,' which doesn’t provide helpful information, say things like, 'Take your time. Check your feet before climbing higher.' Providing this type of scaffolding—a technique in which adults offer the right level of support to take a child to the next level—can support safe play as children follow their curiosity and build confidence and skills." Milestones Milestones are a great guideline to follow to ensure your child is developing appropriately for their age. Certain types of play can help babies to meet these milestones and skills: Moving objects from one hand to another.Moving their bodies and building muscles.Crawling and strengthening their gross and fine motor skills. Physicality Buying toys that encourage movement is great for building a baby’s muscles and overall strength. Toys like large balls, soft things to crawl to, or vehicles with wheels to push and pull are great for getting a 9-month-old’s body moving. Your Questions, Answered What types of toys do 9-month-old babies like? "Babies love simple objects to play with, like a box, a ball, or a drum to bang on," says Dyan Hes, M.D., director of pediatrics at Concorde Medical Group in New York City. Thick board books are also great, as their little fingers can easily turn the pages. Putting things like blocks or cups into a bowl or box and dumping them out is another fun activity. "They also like to play peek-a-boo at this age, so they like little pop-up toys," adds Dr. Hes. How many toys does my 9-month-old need to have? Toys are fun to buy and watch your child play with. However, try not to go overboard. As Dr. Hes points out, 9-month-olds want to explore and probably want to play with whatever their parent is holding, whether it be their cell phone or the TV remote. "I always find it so funny that if you give a 9-month-old an old remote control, they have no interest in it. These babies are smart—they want the remote control that their parent uses. What is the fun if it is not forbidden?" Toys like the Bright Starts Press & Glow Spinner are wonderful for learning cause and effect, and they’re even more beneficial when paired with a good old-fashioned game of peek-a-boo behind a blanket How much do toys for my 9-month-old cost? Toys for 9-month-olds can range in cost, but generally, you can expect to pay between $10 and $60. Simpler toys like the Bright Starts Oball Classic Ball tend to have a lower price point, while toys with more functions and accessories, such as the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Stride-to-Ride Puppy, are often a bit more expensive. Why Trust Verywell Family Christine Luff is a freelance writer who covers fitness, health, parenting, and other topics. She’s also mom to a 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, who have always enjoyed a wide range of active and educational toys. Phoebe Sklansky is the associate commerce editor at our sister site, Verywell Family. She is a big fan of sensory play and particularly loves toys that can be adapted for multiple ages and stages. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Parents uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Healey A, Mendelsohn A. Selecting appropriate toys for young children in the digital era. Pediatrics. 2019;143(1):e20183348. doi:10.1542/peds.2018-3348 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important milestones: your baby by nine months. National Association for the Education of Young Children. Good toys for young children by age and stage.