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Picking useful and age-appropriate presents for babies isn’t as easy as choosing a stuffed toy or onesie from the rack and calling it a day.
Babies of different ages have varying needs – and because infants reach new developmental milestones every month, these needs change rapidly!
Presents appropriate for a three-month-old, for example, might not be as absorbing for a nine-month-old, who is more mobile and mentally ready to process more sophisticated toys. This gift guide will help you pick presents that are perfect for bouncing, babbling nine-month-olds!
What to prioritize when picking presents for your nine-month-old
To best understand what presents to give babies at this age, you’ve got to have a grasp of the developmental milestones at nine months old. Below are some capabilities and needs of nine-month-olds that you’ll need to prioritize when picking out presents for them!
1 – Stimulation
Young minds are very plastic – that means their brains are rapidly developing, transforming from a blank slate into a rich repository of information about their environment. Nurture this by providing lots of stimulation to your nine-month-old!
In this busy, digital world, it can be tempting to sit your baby in front of a kid-friendly TV show or app. But at this age, it’s much better to give them toys they can fully explore with their senses and teach them cause-and-effect.
Give them colorful gifts to stimulate sight, gifts that play sounds, music, and phrases for hearing, and gifts with textures and parts to grab and grip for touch.
Finally, remember to use these toys with your child! No sophisticated baby toy can ever replace human interaction.
2 – Crawling
At nine months old, one of your baby’s major developmental milestones is crawling. At this stage, your baby has developed balance, and the past months’ milestones of raising their head, sitting up, and rolling over have strengthened their muscles so that they’re now ready to pull themselves along.
Learning they can get around independently opens up a world of new possibilities for your baby! Give presents that encourage mobility – like toys to chase after – or those that facilitate safe crawling – like knee pads, play mats, and playpens.
3 – Pincer grasp
Picking up small objects with their fingers is an important fine motor movement development for nine-month-olds.
They’ll soon figure out that they can coordinate both hands to fit one object into another, pile several blocks atop one another to create a tower, or that they can get their favorite toy to make a sound by pushing small parts into bigger ones.
Choose toys like stackers and sorters that they can grab, lift, and manipulate with their small fingers.
4 – Babbling
Nine-month-old babies have learned intentional communication. Younger babies cry as a reaction to stimuli like discomfort or hunger, but babies at this age have figured out that they can cry, point, make noises, or gesture in order to let you know what they want.
This is the age of babbling – they’ve realized they can use their voices to communicate like adults do, although they still have no concept of what to actually say!
While it may be some time before your baby actually says their first real word, they may begin to recognize and comprehend some simple ones at this age.
Encourage language development by giving them toys that make sounds or say words they can mimic. You can also start to point at their toys and teach them their names.
Again, no matter how sophisticated your talking toys are, remember that there’s no replacement for time spent personally talking and interacting with your baby!
Your Guide to Gifts for Nine-Month-Olds
Here are nine presents we’ve picked out for your precious nine-month-old that would be perfect for their current developmental needs!
Fat Brain Toys OombeeCube Shape Sorting Toy
Available from Target for $16.95
Every nine-month-old out there owns a shape-sorter, but this one is special. It’s a shape-sorter that will never make you worry about your baby losing the individual shapes, or hazardous plastic pieces finding their way into their over-eager mouth.
The OombeeCube comes with six colorful shapes tied securely to the main cube, so you’ll never lose a single one. Each shape fits snugly into its individual sorter slot – circle, double circle, oval, pentagon, square, and triangle.
The shapes and cube are made of food-grade silicone, so they’re soft but textured, good for squishing and tactile exploration, and safe for teething.
Thick string secures the shapes to the six corners of the cubes. The strings are long enough to allow the shapes to be played with but still short enough to be safe for children.
Given its clever design, the OombeeCube lives up to its billing of “early tactile learning perfected.” And it’s got staying power too – you’ll still have use of it later on when it’s time for your child to learn about shapes and colors.
- Material: 100% BPA-free food-grade silicone
- Dimensions: 75 x 4.5 x 4.75 in
- Weight: 0.75 lbs
- Shapes are tethered to the cube so they’ll never get lost
- Made of silicone, so it’s safe for teething
- Silicone attracts dust like crazy! You’ll have to wipe this toy often to keep it clean for teething nine-month-olds
My First Fidget Cube by Fisher Price
Available from Amazon for $7.88
Like children, adults sometimes can’t keep still, hence fidget spinners and cubes becoming such a hit in recent months. And like adults, the fidget cube craze is something your nine-month-old can get on too!
Keep your child on a trend by giving them My First Fidget Spinner Cube from Fisher Price. This 3 ½-inch activity cube is undoubtedly bigger than adult-sized fidget spinners, but is just the right size for your baby’s hands!
Introduce them to the concept of cause-and-effect: Ooooh, what does this button do? There are six sides to explore, each with the usual fidget cube features: a fingertip spinner, gear rollers, a gliding joystick, buttons, a flip switch, and a textured “worry stone” side.
Just like adult-sized fidget spinners, there are textures, colors, and sounds to stimulate your little one’s mind, all while keeping their hands busy.
- 6 sides of play
- Dimensions: 5 x 3.5 x 3.2 in
- Weight: 8 oz
- Durable and entertaining
- Just the right size – small enough to be grasped but too big to fit in a baby’s mouth
- Would be much improved if it made sounds and noises that amused children instead of just the natural sounds of the buttons
- A little heavy for a baby toy
Follow Me Fred by Tiny Love Baby
Available from Amazon for $19.99
Ideally, dogs follow humans around, but while your nine-month-old isn’t old enough to handle the responsibility of a pet, they can tag behind Follow-Me Fred!
This cherished crawling toy from Tiny Love is shaped like a yellow and green dog, with a cuddly plush head and a slinky accordion body design. Follow-Me Fred moves about a foot forward when your baby touches it, encouraging your little one to crawl and follow.
Follow-Me Fred barks and plays three different tunes to keep your baby’s attention from wandering from the game. You can choose between two-speed settings, depending on your baby’s skill at crawling.
Give your nine-month-old their first best friend and encourage them to get moving! Follow-Me Fred is excellent for beginning crawlers – and you can also get the matching pink Follow-Me Fiona to join in the fun!
- Material: Plastic
- Requires 3AAA batteries (not included)
- Dimensions: 2 x 5.5 x 10 in
- Weight: 5.4 oz
- Very durable considering how much stress this toy can be subjected to!
- Has a mute setting if the sounds annoy the parents
- May not move on plush carpeting
- Stops serving its purpose if it tips over – you might have to check back periodically and make sure Follow Me Fred is still upright
- No lights or cause-and-effect parts, so it might bore some babies
Crawlings Knee Pads
Available from Uncommon Goods for $22.00
Speaking of crawlers, these knee pads are a perfect gift for a nine-month-old. The floor is their new playground, but we all know what kind of bumps, pebbles, and dirt you can find on the floor. It’s not the friendliest of places for your baby’s delicate skin.
These knee pads from Crawlings protect your baby’s skin from being scratched or bruised or getting dirty as they explore their world on all fours.
They’re made of soft, breathable fabrics and a bit of foam. The center of the pad is made of polymer cushion, water, and UV resistant, ideal for babies on the move in the outdoors.
The back of the knee pads has ventilation holes to allow the fabric to breathe, minimize sweat and prevent rashes. They stretch comfortably over your baby’s chubby little knees, so you can put them on in a pinch when your little crawler is raring to go!
These Crawlings knee pads will serve your baby well throughout crawling, cruising, and taking their first steps, until they’ve gotten full control of their legs. It’s the perfect gift to teach your child, even at nine months old, that it’s okay to fall down – what matters is how you get back up!
- Materials: 80% premium cotton, 10% EVA foam, 5% nylon and 5% spandex; pads are made of polymer cushions
- Care instructions: Machine wash in cold water and air dry. Do not use bleach!
- Dimensions: 5.5×3 in
- Comfortable and breathable fit
- Easy to wash after a day of crawling on a dirty floor
- The fabric is made of a light color and dirties easily; not available in other colors
Vtech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker
Available from Amazon for $24.99
If you’re looking for educational toys that cram as much function as they can into every available cranny, Vtech has you covered! This Vtech Sit-to-Stand Walker can be used for when the baby is just learning to sit up to when they begin toddling about.
At nine months old, your child will love the detachable play panel, which they can sit on the ground and tinker with. The play panel features buttons, gears, spinners, and shape sorters, all to enhance your nine-month-old’s fine motor skills, knowledge of cause-and-effect, and stimulation.
There’s an interactive farm door and a cow that goes “MOO!” to entertain your child (and teach them about animals later on). There’s a detachable telephone for pretend play and a five-note piano that really plays music.
Finally, the play panel has adjustable volume settings – the better to keep parents sane when their nine-month-olds really get going.
In the next few months, the interactive walker will be useful for when your baby starts cruising and learning to walk. The walker is heavy enough to support an average child.
Its wheels feature a rubber seam to prevent the walker from teetering sideways, and there’s a tension control dial on the rear wheels to make the walker easier or harder to push and control its speed.
As with many Vtech toys, get this Sit-to-Stand walker early to get the most mileage out of it – it’s sure to be one of the most long-lasting toys for your little one!
- Color: Orange
- Handle Bar
- Walker body with front wheels
- Back legs with rear wheels
- Removable toddler play panel with batteries already included
Play panel features
- 5 Piano keys that play music
- 2 spinning rollers
- 3 shape sorters
- 3 light-up buttons
- Telephone playset
- Plays over 70 sing-along songs, sound effects, kid-friendly phrases music,
- Requires 2 AA batteries (included)
- Dimensions: 16.5×14.2×18.1 in
- Weight: 6 lbs
- Easy to assemble, all pieces fit together well
- If detachable parts go missing (as toys inevitably do with kids!), you can order a replacement from VTech
- The walker still tends to slip and move quickly on smooth floors, like polished hardwood
Little Stackers Sort ‘n’ Spill Turtle by Fisher Price
Available from Amazon for $20.99
Stackers and shape-sorters are excellent toys to practice your nine-month-old’s pincer grasp. In particular, the Little Stackers that come with Fisher Price’s Sort’n’Spill Turtle are perfect for small, developing fingers!
The Little Stackers are designed to be grabbed and manipulated – they feature a chunky square base with a knob on top for grasping. The knob fits into the base of another Stacker for easy stacking, but they also come apart easily so as not to frustrate your baby.
They’re also textured and vibrantly colored to stimulate your nine-month-old’s sight and touch.
Let your baby stack the colorful Little Stackers on the ground or top of the Sort’n’Spill turtle’s shell. The turtle features clacker beads on its tail for spinning and sliding to maximize fine motor movement fun.
Your baby can also sort the Little Stackers through the diamond and square openings in the shell to further practice hand coordination. You can turn the lock to keep the pieces inside the clear shell when it’s time to tidy up or open it up to spill out the Stackers and let playtime begin all over again!
- Sort ‘n’ Spill Turtle
- 10 brightly colored Little Stackers
- Dimensions: 14.2x6x11 in
- Weight: 2.2 lbs
- Easy to grip and stack
- Also good for teething
- Doesn’t come with sounds but makes plenty of noise on its own with all the stacking, clacking, and spilling!
Available from BambinOz for $49.50
If you’ve ever been to a restaurant or any establishment where there aren’t any highchairs to strap your squalling little one into, you’ll know how challenging being out and about with a nine-month-old can be.
Enter the Porta Chair! Invented by fellow frazzled-during-travel parent Carren Rieger, it instantly turns any chair into a portable baby seat. It uses a five-point, fully-adjustable safety harness to strap the baby seat to regular, adult-sized chairs.
The Porta Chair is easy to fold and roll up and fits in your nine-month-old’s diaper bag so you can take it everywhere. Now you can set up a baby-friendly seat anywhere, be it your friends’ houses or restaurants and cafes!
The Porta Chair immensely simplifies traveling with children aged five months to two-years. It’s won multiple awards for its ingenious design and incredible usefulness. Gift this to the parent of any nine-month-old – they’ll be thanking you for years and years after.
Safety notes: Ensure that your baby is secured using the five-point safety harness and adjustable straps at all times. Never allow your baby to stand while using the Porta Chair, and do not use if the baby is trying to break free or rock the chair. This might cause the chair to tip over and injure your child. Never leave your baby unattended while using the Porta Chair.
- Material: Cotton and polyester, nylon
- AZO dye, phthalate, and formaldehyde-free
- Supports up to 35 lbs.
- Upper age limit: 30 months
- Care Instructions: Machine wash separately (warm or cold water), hang or lay flat to dry.
- Dimensions:4 x 4.4 x 4 in
- Weight: 5 lbs
- Incredibly convenient, portable, and easy to use anywhere
- Easy to wash if you’ve spilled food on it
- Some places like the neck and shoulder areas are not cushioned (you can remedy this by padding with burp towels!)
Vtech Drop and Go Dump Truck
Available from Amazon for $21.99
Here’s another multipurpose toy from Vtech! The Vtech Drop and Go Dump Truck is an elevated shape sorter.
It enhances both fine and gross motor skills: Your nine-year-old can grasp and dump the “rock” into the top of the truck and watch as it slides merrily into the bed.
The truck also counts aloud every time you drop a rock into it, which provides stimulation as well as an introduction to counting when they’re a little bit older.
Once all the rocks have been dumped, go! The Drop and Go Dump Truck is an amusing push-pull toy. Bigger children can drag the truck along behind them with the pull string. Your nine-month-old might have to wait a bit more to do that, but for now, you can pull the toy along, and they can crawl after it.
The rocks make an entertaining racket when they rattle about inside the truck bed. When you get to your destination, pull the blue lever to lift the hinged bed and unload the rocks on the floor and start the fun all over again!
It wouldn’t be a VTech toy if it didn’t come loaded with extra bells and whistles! The Drop and Go Dump Truck also has three fun buttons to push to maximize educational play. Each one plays kid-friendly tunes and phrases that teach colors and tools, so your child can find the use for this toy even when they’re much older.
- Drop and Go Dump Truck
- 3 colorful rock-shaped balls
- Requires 2 AAA batteries (included)
- Dimensions: 6 x 9.9 x 5.4 inches
- Weight: 1.9 pounds
- Excellent mileage – nine-month-olds can grow into the toy while they’re still floor-bound and proceed to push and pulling it when they learn to walk in a few months
- Extra rocks can be ordered from VTech
- Given the counting, tunes, and rattling rocks, it can be a rather noisy toy
3 Sprouts Play Mat Bag in Hedgehog Grey
Available from Amazon for $21.65
This 3 Sprouts Play Mat Bag is one of the most genius gifts you could give any parent with a small child! It does double duty as a portable play mat and a container for your nine-month-old’s many favorite toys at this age.
The canvas bag spreads out flat for your baby to crawl and play on top of it. It features handles for portability but no drawstrings, making it safe for children.
This play mat bag is great for use at home. Parents have reported using the bag as a play mat, a portable changing station, and even as a mat placed under a highchair to catch food during messy mealtimes (simply toss the play mat bag in the washing machine after!).
However, it really shines when you’re on the move! This play mat bag is an absolute blessing when you travel. It provides a safe, soft play area for your baby anywhere you can lay it out.
Then when it’s time to leave, just fold the bag up with all the toys inside and go! The convenient, portable design makes it perfect for play dates and vacations alike.
This 3 Sprouts Play Mat Bag is also available in Elephant, Fox, Owl, Whale designs.
- Material: Cotton
- Dimensions: 44 x 44 x 3 in
- Weight: 1 lbs
- Makes for stress-free cleaning after playtime
- Not water-resistant; refrain from using in damp places (like wet grass)
Bring it, baby!
This gift guide features presents that are appropriate for a nine-year-old’s growing mind and body, but we’ve also taken care to ensure longevity. These are presents that will serve your child for multiple purposes throughout the rest of their infancy and even up to toddlerhood.
Nine-month-olds require a lot of stimulation, activities that exercise their gross and fine motor movements, room to crawl, and interactions that enhance language development. The best gifts are those that give them the opportunity to practice these skills!
We hope this guide has armed you not only with gift ideas but also a better understanding of your baby’s unique needs at this age – which are really all you need to inform you of what would be the perfect present for your precious little one.