Health Library
Infant Play

How Can You Help Infants Play?

All children are individuals and may enjoy different toys and interactions. The following are suggestions for activities and toys:

Age-Appropriate Suggestions

Birth to 1 month:

  • Likes to be wrapped and/or held securely
  • Likes the colors black, white and red
  • Will be startled and disturbed by loud noises

What you can do as a parent:

  • Sing and talk to your infant
  • Play music softly
  • Rock your infant, take him/her for walks

2 to 3 months:

  • Likes bright objects
  • Enjoys pictures and mirrors
  • Likes rattles
  • Enjoys infant swing
  • Enjoys car rides

What you can do as a parent:

  • Sing and talk to your infant
  • Play music softly 
  • Rock your infant
  • Take him/her for walks

4 to 6 months:

  • Likes brightly colored objects
  • Likes to hold toys
  • Enjoys rattles
  • Likes to splash in the bath, needs support and constant attention
  • Likes swings and strollers

What you can do as a parent:

  • Sing, talk and read to your infant
  • Provide tummy time: Encourage your infant to crawl and sit by placing him/her on the floor

6 to 9 months:

  • Enjoys toys with bright colors that move
  • Likes to play peek-a-boo

What you can do as a parent:

  • Call your infant by name
  • Speak clearly to your child and encourage different sounds
  • Name body parts, foods and people
  • Play pat-a-cake
  • Begin saying words that tell what you are doing
  • Encourage your infant to crawl by placing toys beyond his/her reach
  • Continue to cuddle, sing and read

9 to 12 months:

  • Enjoys looking at books
  • Likes naming animals and identifying animal sounds
  • Enjoys large toys that can be pushed and pulled

What you can do as a parent:

  • Take your infant to different places and outings
  • Play ball with your infant
  • Read to your infant
  • Tell your infant names of body parts, objects and people

Age-Appropriate Toys

Birth to 6 months:

  • Mobiles
  • Mirrors that will not break
  • Music boxes
  • Stuffed animals with parts that cannot be swallowed
  • Swings
  • Board books

6 to 12 months:

  • Rattles
  • Teething toys
  • Blocks
  • Brightly colored toys
  • Board books
  • Balls
  • Cup and spoon
  • Manipulative, cause-and-effect toys
  • Toys that can be pushed and pulled

Last Updated 10/2022

Reviewed By Katie Nees, Child Life Specialist

Visiting Cincinnati Childrens.

Cincinnati Children’s has primary care services at locations throughout Greater Cincinnati.