Let’s play – six months to a year old

From six months old, your baby will be starting to get more adventurous in their movement – time to think about getting the stair gates in place and making sure breakable objects are out of the reach of little fingers! There’s lots you can do at this stage to encourage your baby’s learning and have fun together.

Plenty of tummy time in the early months means that from six months, your baby will start to be able to roll over from their front onto their back and from their back onto their front. They may also be starting to lift their head and chest up supported by their arms, and will be able to sit unsupported on the floor. While they’re sitting, they’ll enjoy building towers of blocks with you and joining in clapping games together.

Look out, I’m on the move…

It’s around this time that many babies begin learning to crawl, starting by using their arms to pull themselves along on their tummies before pushing up onto all fours to get around. Not all babies crawl though – many prefer to shuffle around on their bottoms while others go straight to pulling themselves up to standing using furniture to support them. Avoid using baby bouncers and baby walkers too much – your baby needs opportunities to develop their movement skills and spatial awareness independently.

As they gain confidence, try creating mini obstacle courses with cushions and boxes or go outside together to have fun crawling on grass. Stay close so you can provide support if they get stuck.

Little explorers

Encourage your baby to explore their surroundings at different levels by placing toys on a sofa or chair for example so they have to reach for them. Hiding toys under boxes and under fabric is also a game babies this age really enjoy.

You’ll see your baby start to pass their toys from one hand to the other, and explore objects with their mouths as well as with their hands. They’ll start to concentrate for short periods on toys they find interesting, especially those that rattle or make a noise. Pots, pans, plastic cups and containers that fit inside each other will provide endless fascination. Shape sorters are also great at this stage as babies have to work out what they have to do to make things fit. Encourage them to keep trying before showing them how to turn it round. You’ll be teaching them the important lesson that it’s ok to get things wrong, as well as building confidence in their ability to work things out for themselves.

I’m picking it up!

A good way to help your baby learn smaller, more controlled movements with their hands is to let them hold a spoon at mealtimes, supporting them to bring it to their mouth. They will improve their pincer grip if they are able to feed themselves with small pieces of food such as banana slices or rice cakes.

Messy play with sand, water, paint and playdough allows babies to explore how different materials feel and develop controlled hand movements like squeezing, pulling, poking, tipping and pouring. Check out the groups on offer at your local Children’s Centre – many of these include messy play.

One step, two steps, tickly under there

You’ll notice that from six months, your baby starts to be more interested in looking at books and pictures with you. They’ll start to anticipate what’s coming next, smiling and laughing when you sing ‘Round and round the garden…’ together for example, knowing a tickle is coming! They’ll also enjoy listening and moving to music, and trying to join in with songs and action rhymes.

Useful links

Page last reviewed: 07-09-2020

Next review due: 07-09-2023