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How Babies Learn Through Play – From 6-12 Months

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Babies at this age are just starting to sit and move about a bit more.  They learn at this age through repetition and trial and error. Give your child toys that they have to explore to discover how it works.  You can help encourage your baby’s physical development at this age by placing toys just out of reach from where they are sitting. This will make them learn to transfer their weight in preparation for transitioning into crawling. Once they are crawling try placing toys up on the sofa so that they are motivated to pull to stand. Here are some ideas for toys that will help with their overall development.

Cause and Effect

Babies at this age like to play with cause and effect toys.  This way they get an instant response to their actions. For example, with a pop up toy they may need support with this at the beginning to push the button down, so place your hand on top of theirs until they can do it on their own. Once they achieve it on their own, help to progress them by getting them to use their pointer finger.

Stacking Objects

Start encouraging your baby to stack blocks and knock them down.  This will help with their fine motor development. You can also try ring stacking, so they understand the concept of size when getting them in the correct order.


Simple shape sorters are a great way of learning about shapes.  Start with easy shapes and cover the incorrect holes to begin with. Then teach them to try each hole until they can work out which shape goes in which hole.  As you are doing the activity describe the colour and shape and get them to turn the shape if needed.


Start with simple insert puzzles with large knobs, and start by teaching your child by hand over hand play.


Reading is one of the best ways to teach your child.  It encourages imagination as well as developing language and communication skills. You can also make reading a way to progress physical development by getting them to point to things on the page, and turning over the pages.


Singing is a great way to help develop communication.  Sing songs and teach your child the actions and signs that go with the song.

Post by Victoria Healey, Head of Paediatric Physiotherapy at Physiocomestoyou.