|Climb Every Cushion
As your baby learns to walk, she'll set her sights on climbing. You'll spend lots of extra minutes getting up your front steps and into the house because she'll want to scale the stairs all by herself – not once, not twice, but until you say "no more."
Appropriate for: 9 to 13 months
Skills developed: Gross motor
What you'll need: Lots of pillows from the bed, sofa, and elsewhere
Pile up a stack of pillows for a safe, fun climbing activity. Use the largest, most stable pillows, such as couch cushions and bed pillows, on the bottom, then add chair pillows, throw pillows, and so on.
Holding your baby steadily, help her climb up the mountain of pillows and stand triumphant on top. If you have a lot of rectangular pillows, you can use them to create more of a stair-step structure, but you'll need to hold your baby's hand to make sure she doesn't step off the top tier into thin air.
Safety note: Never leave a baby alone with her pillow mountain; this activity should be supervised constantly. And move any furniture with sharp corners, so there's nothing for her to bang against if she falls.
Babies will walk when they're good and ready – you can't rush this skill. But as your baby gets closer to taking her first steps, it's fun to "sneak-preview" the joys of getting around.
Appropriate for: 9 to 15 months
Skills developed: Hand-eye coordination, walking
What you'll need: Adult-sized chairs
Line up a row of chairs against a wall (preferably in a carpeted room). Help your baby stand up and hold on to a chair at one end of the row, then show her how to use the chairs to steady herself as she moves slowly along from one to another.
If she needs extra incentive, take a favourite toy and place it on the farthest chair, and when she reaches the toy, help her get it, then clap and give her a big hug. Put another toy at the opposite end and send her back in the other direction. You can keep it up as long as she's having fun and still steady on her feet.
Home From 9 Months