Best Educational Toys for 9-Month-Old [12+ Top Picks for 2020]

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At nine months, your little one is closely approaching the toddler stage but not quite there yet. It’s likely that they’ve begun to crawl, wave to you, and explore. Because they are beginning to become more invested in the world around them and may be more mobile than in previous months, the need for toys to keep them entertained will grow.

As children this age can see colors well, develop preferences, and develop their working memory, their educational play needs are more different than ever before. If you need advice on picking the best educational toys for your 9 month old, we’ve brought together the best options available right now to support your baby’s development. Our top pick overall is the VTech Wiggle and Crawl Ball since it can encourage your child to have fun and learn through sound and colors while playing with this toy. However, there are so many other great options – read on for more ideas!

Our Top Picks
Best Overall
VTech Wiggle and Crawl Ball,Multicolor
Best for Quality
Play22 Activity Cube with Bead Maze - 5 in 1 Baby Activity Cube Includes Shape Sorter, Abacus Counting Beads, Counting Numbers, Sliding Shapes, Removable Bead Maze - My First Baby Toys - Original
Budget Option
Sassy Bop-A-Tune Musical Drum Early Learning Toy | Promotes STEM Learning | 8 Different Sounds and Textures | Ages 6 Months and up
Name
VTech Wiggle and Crawl Ball
Play22 Activity Cube with Bead Maze
Sassy Bop-a-Tune Musical Drum
Features
Interactive ball that wiggles and wobbles while playing music.
Wooden activity cube with five separate activities.
Each bellow includes a different sound to create a full, musical octave.
Best Overall
Our Top Picks
VTech Wiggle and Crawl Ball,Multicolor
Name
VTech Wiggle and Crawl Ball
Features
Interactive ball that wiggles and wobbles while playing music.
More Info
Best for Quality
Our Top Picks
Play22 Activity Cube with Bead Maze - 5 in 1 Baby Activity Cube Includes Shape Sorter, Abacus Counting Beads, Counting Numbers, Sliding Shapes, Removable Bead Maze - My First Baby Toys - Original
Name
Play22 Activity Cube with Bead Maze
Features
Wooden activity cube with five separate activities.
More Info
Budget Option
Our Top Picks
Sassy Bop-A-Tune Musical Drum Early Learning Toy | Promotes STEM Learning | 8 Different Sounds and Textures | Ages 6 Months and up
Name
Sassy Bop-a-Tune Musical Drum
Features
Each bellow includes a different sound to create a full, musical octave.
More Info

Related post: STEM Toys for Babies for Cognitive Development & Motor Skills

Best Educational Toys for 9 Month Old

1. Best Overall – VTech Wiggle and Crawl Ball

Sale
Best Overall
VTech Wiggle and Crawl Ball
Allow your little one to move and crawl with their favorite VTech animal friends.

The Wiggle and Crawl Ball features more than forty-five playful songs about animals, colors, numbers, and more. This ball will encourage your little one to crawl as it wiggles and wobbles while flashing lights encourage them.

This toy has a number of sensory features. The bright colors and flashing lights hold your baby’s attention as they work to enhance their fine motor skills by spinning, sliding, twisting, or pressing the buttons on the ball. This toy does require batteries, but are confident your crawling little one will have the time of their life!

2. Best for Quality – Play22 Activity Cube with Bead Maze

Sale
Best for Quality
Play22 Activity Cube with Bead Maze
A satisfaction-guaranteed wooden activity cube that includes a multitude of activities like shape sorting, number counting.

This Activity Cube with Bead Maze from Play22 will allow your little one to learn shapes, colors, and counting while improving their problem-solving and fine motor skills. Your little one can grow into this toy for years to come as you begin to use the abacus to teach one-to-one correspondence and the word tiles to begin building sentences.

However, while they’re little, they’ll be sure to love the pathfinder and the beginning shapes puzzle, as well as the comforting, organic noises of wood clinking together as they explore!

3. Best Budget Option – Sassy Bop-A-Tune Musical Drum

Best Budget Option
Sassy Bop-A-Tune Musical Drum
The easy-to-press bellows of this toy will invite any baby to grab, squish, and create their own music while improving their hand-eye coordination.

The safe, BPA-free Bop-A-Tune Musical Drum makes a variety of noises to teach music. The bellows are built to be easily graspable within little hands, and it’s silicone material renders it easy to clean.

The middle of this toy can be used as a drum, and the top of each bellow offers a different texture for sensory exploration. Additionally, this toy can be clipped to a car seat for travel purposes.

4. Best for STEM Literacy – Baby University Board Books

Sale
Best for STEM Literacy
Baby University Board Books
Get your little one started on science as early as possible with this boxed set of books for babies.

The Baby University Boxed Set is a board book series designed for little hands (and mouths) that features “colorful, simple introductions to scientific principles for babies.” This set of books includes Quantum Physics for Babies, Rocket Science for Babies, General Relativity for Babies, and Newtonian Physics for Babies.

The beauty of books like these is that although no book is going to teach a toddler physics – really, no book could serve that purpose for an adult – these books will plant the seeds of STEM learning inside of your little one’s brain. This means that when your child encounters these challenging concepts later on, they won’t feel so new and scary, which will encourage them to deepen their learning.

5. Best for Building – Mini Toudou Soft Baby Building Blocks

Sale
Best for Building
Mini Toudou Soft Baby Building Blocks
A baby blocks set that includes twelve blocks with embossed images of animals, shapes, fruits, numbers, or geometric patterns on each side.

As babies develop their senses of touch and sight, they’ll be able to work these blocks to explore the world around them. The Mini Toudou Soft Baby Building Blocks Set is soft and meant to be able to be squeezed by a tiny hand. These blocks are chewable and are perfectly safe for little ones developing their first teeth.

These baby blocks are designed to help your little one satisfy their tactile curiosity and function as both building blocks and clickable stacking toys.

6. Best Interactive Toy – Whack and Learn Mole

Best Interactive Toy
Whack and Learn Mole
Best toy for babies to lean numbers and colors - with sleep mode option that produces classical songs to soothe your little one.

Winner of the 2018 Tillywig Brain Child and Mom’s Choice Gold Metal Award and the 2019 Creative Child Preferred Choice and Creative Play of the Year Award, this toy will help your child learn the alphabet, colors, numbers, and more!

The Whack and Learn Mole is specially designed to help your little one develop fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, logical thinking, and communication skills by offering a response that children can engage by simply whacking the toy. Depending on which of the modes is engaged, children can practice and learn the alphabet and numbers, or simply engage with music by singing familiar songs.

Best of all, once your baby has exhausted all of the educational features of this toy, you can improve their brain development by using this toy as a nighttime classical music player.

7. Best Tummy Time Toy – VATOS Tummy Time Baby Water Mat

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Best Tummy Time Toy
BATOS Tummy Time Baby Water Mat
This tummy time mat is the perfect sensory accessory as your little one develops hand-eye coordination, fine motor, and social skills.

The VATOS Tummy Time Baby Water Play Mat fun begins when you fill the mat with water and let your little one crawl over it, feeling all of the movement that the water will provide. Their eyes will be quickly drawn to the bright colors and cute floating toys within the mat.

This mat contains foam toys that your little one can move around with their hands or their body as they embrace their upper body strength. Worried that your little one will be cold? Fill the mat with warm water and allow them to go to town on a comfortable, warm, inflatable mat.

8. Best Learning Cube – Best Learning Cube Activity Center Block

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Best Learning Cube
Best Learning Cube Activity Center Block
This toy engages and stimulates little ones with essential sights, sounds, songs, and facts.

This toy has won multiple awards, including the Family Choice Award, Mom’s Choice Gold Metal, Academics’ Choice and Tillywig Brain Child Award Winner. It has also won the Creative Child Preferred Choice and Product of the Year Award. 

The Best Learning Cube Activity Center Block is a learning toy with a variety of functions on all six of its sides. These sides will allow your little one to learn the alphabet, numbers, colors, music, animal sounds, and musical instruments. 

Children can tap any button on the cube to activate the talking features. A toy like this is great for teaching little ones cause and effect as they begin to recognize that their actions (touching the button) lead to a consequence (the music playing). 

9. Best Mobile – Manhattan Toy Infant Mobile

Best Mobile
Manhattan Toy Infant Mobile
This black and white developmental toy is inspired by laboratory-research and designed specifically to stimulate your little one’s mind.

Professional research has shown that infants, as they are still developing their eyesight, are more attracted to high-contrast patterns. This type of toy invites your little one to observe color changes and near optical illusions as the mobile moves. 

The Manhattan Toy Infant Mobile has three reversible disks produced from cardstock. It can be attached to ceilings for use at home or packed to use in strollers and car seats. 

Because this toy is made of paper and your little one will want to grab it, you will want to ensure you hang it somewhere where it can be viewed for imagination building, but not yanked on or ripped.

10. Best Musical Toy – NextX Baby Musical Toy

Best Musical Toy
NextX Baby Musical Toy
This toy features six piano keys, three-hand drums, three musical instrument buttons, and more. 

Are you looking for a way for your little one to discover three kinds of sounds for their musical instruments, along with songs and animal sounds? 

The NextX Baby Musical Toy features lights and music. Little ones can create music by hitting a drum or initiate more structured play by following the lights to create a variety of sounds. This toy has a cute design that will attract the budding curiosity of your little musician and help them recognize patterns, animals, and colors. You can protect your little one’s hearing with adjustable volume.

This toy is made from high-quality ABS plastic, which makes it non-toxic for babies. It is light and can be carried from room to room for hours of musical fun! 

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11. Best Water Toy – Sassy Easy Squeezies Bath Toys

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Best Water Toy
Sassy Easy Squeezies Bath Toys
Have a water baby on your hand? Time to consider ways to engage their minds while allowing them to engage in their favorite activity - bathtime.

The Sassy Easy Squeezes Bath Toy is a two-part assembly toy which means that the pieces are interchangeable. This allows your little one to piece the toys together like a puzzle and allows you to dry the toys thoroughly to ensure no mold or mildew sets in.

Your little one can begin using basic science concepts to squeeze water out of these in a sponge-like fashion and in a strong, linear squirt. They’ll love sending water throughout the bathtub!

12. Best Walker – VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

Best Walker
VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker
Featuring a removable play panel, this toy has five piano keys that play music, along with spinning rollers, shape sorts, and light-up buttons.

This interactive baby walker is perfect for a nine-month-old who is ready to pull themself up, but perhaps still getting up the courage to take those first crucial steps. 

The VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker is built to provide minimal support, which allows your child to do the work they need to do to learn to walk. Seated walkers can force your child to learn poor walking habits such as walking on their toes. This type of walker does not do that, and can only serve to foster independence within your little one.

Along with learning to walk, this toy will provide your child with scads of fun. Included with the toy are telephone handset, seventy sing-along songs, music, sound effects, and talking phrases that can be engaged through the push of a button. 

13. Best Blocks – Infantino Press and Stay Sensory Blocks

Best Blocks
Infantino Press and Stay Sensory Blocks
This set comes with twenty-four blocks that can be pushed together and pulled apart via prongs. They can stack and be built sideways.

The Infantino Press and Stay Sensory Blocks are a simple toy, and therefore one of the best. Simple toys such as this encourage your little one to use their imagination and develop their creativity. 

These two-inch cubes are safe to go near your little one’s mouth and have no holes, which makes it easy to clean in sanitizing solutions. 

What to Consider When Buying a STEM Toy for an Infant

Teething and Oral Exploration

Most babies begin teething at six months of age. This stage can last all the way until children reach three years of age. Babies begin putting things in their mouths during this stage, not only to soothe their gums but to explore the world around them. 

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This exploration, called mouthing, is a perfectly natural and safe activity for your child. However, with this in mind, you will want to select toys that are appropriate and safe to go in their mouths. An easy way to check this is to make sure that the toy is larger than the opening to a cardboard tube, with no pieces that may break off. An item of this size would be too big for your child to choke on, which means that as long as the material is safe to bite, it passes the test! 

Age-Appropriateness 

Your tot will get the most use out of a toy they can actually use. Although it can feel exciting to begin purchasing more complicated toys, a toy that your little one won’t use is a simple waste of money. 

An age-appropriate toy should encourage your baby to use some of their developing skills. At nine months, such a toy would assist in milestones such as:

  • Playing peek-a-boo
  • Picking things up between their thumb and index finger
  • Standing
  • Sitting without support
  • Crawling

Activity Level

Infant playing with colorful piano toy

A child this age should be napping and engaging in quiet time for multiple hours per day. You’ll want to select a repertoire of toys that offer quiet time and active time for your child. Additionally, you’ll want to select toys that you can engage in play with your child, as well as toys that allow for independent exploration. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of lights and sounds in toddler toys? 

Many toys for small children come outfitted with buttons that play music or create dazzling light shows. These toys can help your child track their attention to a specific toy and develop their auditory sense.

However, sometimes, these toys can be overstimulating for your child. If your child can sit and watch the toy, they are unlikely to be learning while they are playing. The toys that yield the most educational value require some level of cognitive lift on the part of your child. The more they have to use their brains to operate the toy, the more they are gaining from the experience. 

Should I buy electronic toys for my small child?

Although we live in a digital age, it is important to set limits with children in regards to computer and technology usage. Electronics can pose some dangers for children’s health, largely due to the inactivity children experience – both physically and mentally – while engaging with such toys.

If you do seek electronic toys for children this young, set appropriate limits regarding time and supervision to ensure that they remain safe and academically enriched throughout their playtime. 

How many toys should my small child have? 

Children these days are often inundated with toys. Although there is certainly nothing wrong with offering your children a variety of options for playtime, experts recommend rotating toys in and out of a designated toy box or playroom to allow your child to fully explore toys before moving on to others. 

Because the most powerful play children can engage in is imaginative play, ensuring that children have time to exhaust all possibilities with various toys allows them time to develop a variety of skills. The simplest of toys have the most potential, which will increase your child’s ability to improve their spatial relationships, language, creativity, and more.

Kaitlin Anselmo

Last update on 2020-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API