Dad Bonding With Baby, Months 7-12

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dad bonding with baby 12 months
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In this post, we'll be talking about dad bonding with baby, months 7-12. You may want to read our previous posts, Dad Bonding With Baby, Months 0-3, and Dad Bonding With Baby Months 4-6, as many of the bonding activities covered there will still be relevant for your little one ages 7-12 months. 


Infant Development Months 7-12 

Between months 6-13, your little one is changing in oh so many ways. For one thing, he will begin crawling. He'll move from his tummy to a sitting position, pull himself up with furniture, will be able to stand briefly without support, and will be able to take tiny steps holding your hand.

She may even take her first solo steps. She'll be able to pick up small objects with her fingers, bang two objects together, point at things using her index finger, and drop objects into containers. She will be able to hold her bottle, feed herself finger foods, hold onto a spoon, and attempt to use it.

She'll be able to drink from a sippy cup or take small sips from an open cup. She will look inquisitively at pictures in books, use objects as tools, and enjoy cause-and-effect toys.

Separation anxiety may also kick in. She may follow you when you leave, greet you upon returning, and use you as a safe home base from which to explore. She may coo, squeal and shout for attention.

By her first year, she may be able to say 10-20 words and understand far more. For instance, she may understand instructions like, "Come here, please."

Your child is seriously bonding at this time with you and the other members of the family. And sometime between 6-18 months, she will walk for the first time. That's quite a lot!

However, babies learn in their own time and space. Some learn skills much quicker than others. Progress also happens in starts and stops. As new skills are learned, your baby may return to earlier stages for skills already learned.

If you have any concerns about your baby hitting her developmental milestones in a timely fashion, definitely discuss this with your pediatrician. Hopefully, she can relieve your mind.

Bonding and Developmental Activities for Baby

Dad bonding with baby, 7-12 months

Our top five bonding and developmental activities list remains the same as it was for months 0-3 and 4-6.

All our other suggestions to come are optional. Try them as time permits. Since all babies are different, take these bonding activities as springboards for your creativity, adding your own flair.

And remember, the best bonding activities are also the best physical, social, and intellectual developmental activities for your baby

As Roni Cohen Leiderman Ph.D., co-author of Let's Plan And Learn Together puts it, "Our love, attention, time and touch with our baby are the most important parts of developmental activities. Everything is underlined with parent-child interaction." And so now without further adieu...

Our Top 30 Bonding and Developmental Activities for Your Baby, months 7-12.

1. Moving on to solid foods 

The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that it's best to exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first six months if you can. Once you introduce solid foods, you can finish off the meal with breast or bottle-fed milk to help your baby make the transition to solid foods.

2. Let's get messy

baby eating messy. 7-12 months

Feeding time may be a messy time. When the time comes to start solid foods, try not to be too concerned about the mess. Instead, appreciate your baby's exploration of new textures, tastes, and smells. Remember, it's essential to have your baby get hands-on with the things around him.

3. What was that noise? 

Use items such as squeeze toys, baby musical instruments, wax paper, or newspapers to make different noises to get your baby's attention. Then let them do those activities by themselves. Alternate items to keep the game interesting.

4. Tune into baby 

If your little one shows you something, play along. "Yes, that's your stuffed dog, Joey, isn't it? Do you think Joey wants a snuggle or a cuddle?"

5. Shake the bottle

Take an empty plastic bottle and add colored rice or pasta to it. Then cap tightly. Let your little one shake and rattle the plastic bottle making noise to his heart's content
Hide and seek games
Let your baby watch as you hide an object under a pillow, scarf, or blanket. Then say, "See if you can find it!" If he doesn't, cover only part of the object and try again.

6. Let's dance

Turn on the radio, stereo, or iPod. Hold your baby, so he's standing up, and let him bounce and sway to the music. If he can stand with just a little help, hold his hands and dance together.

7. Show him you understand

When responding to your baby's needs, use words to show you understand how the baby feels or what he needs. You might say, "Boy, you really are hungry, aren't you? You look like you're just about starving."

8. Have a conversation

dad and baby conversation

Repeat your baby's sounds. Though they may sound like gibberish, repeat what your baby says, and then you can add a few more words to it if you like, either actual words or gibberish. Give him time to respond. The idea is to establish a back and forth between you and your baby.

9. Sand play

Sand can be made using flour and just enough vegetable oil to create a crumbly texture. If you like, there are edible food colorings you can add to the sand. Playing with sand will give your child a wonderful tactile opportunity, which will keep him busy for quite a while. You can also hide objects in the sand for him to find.

10. Banging noises 

Your baby will be interested in banging things together. Give your baby wooden spoons to bang on containers, baby blocks to bang together, and rattles to shake. Take part in the play and help show your baby a few new tricks.

11. Container time

It's lots of fun putting things in and out of containers. Let your little one play with plastic containers, filling them with large beads, blocks, balls, and plastic links. You can even add a rattle inside of one. Also, let her take cans on and off the shelves just for fun. Or put socks in and out of your drawer.

12. Practice standing

Place an assortment of toys on the sofa so your baby can practice standing while playing with them. The best way for your baby to master her new skills is through lots of play and your loving support. Success breeds more success.

13. Box moves

Get a large box that your baby can crawl in and out of. Stay nearby and comment on her actions. "Looks like you're in the middle of the box now. Don't get stuck. Oh, now you're coming out again! Look at you." and so on.

14. Fingerpainting

You can buy edible paint or make it with yogurt and baby-safe food coloring. Pour the mixture on a large tray and see what she comes up with. Remember, messiness is a part of learning, especially at this age. You can even leave some foam sponges and paintbrushes and teach your child how to use them. She'll get the hang of it.

15. Repeating easy sounds 

Let your baby play while you repeat a sound she's just made such as, "La La." Say it a few times. Then introduce an easy sound of your own and see if your little one imitates you back.

16. Exploration at bath time 

bath time for baby 7-12 months

There are a million ways of exploring at bath time. Add measuring cups, strainers, and containers to his bath. Throw in colorful plastic balls, sponges, rubbery sea animals, and squeeze toys. Drop naturally derived, child-safe fizzing bath bombs and watch the bubbles erupt in a foamy mess. You can also hide toys underneath the water and see if he can find them

17. Sensory box

Make a sensory box. You can add objects with different textures and coverings to your box. For instance, you may want to add feathers, scarves, a large plastic ball, a rubber ball, and various pieces of textured cloth; anything that is child-safe.

18. The ping-pong puzzle 

Put ping-pong balls inside a muffin pan or egg carton. Then take them out and see if he's able to put them back in again. Lots of fun!

19. Hi and bye

Say, "Hi" when entering a room and wave hello. Encourage your little one to do the same waving her hand. Then wave bye-bye when it's time to leave and have her say and wave, "Bye."

20. Choices 

Everyone likes choices. It empowers us. Give your baby choices of what to play with or eat. Encourage her to reach out and point to her preferred object. You might say, "This one or that one" to get her used to making choices.

21. Slime time 

Buy some baby-safe slime made from all edible ingredients to ensure your baby's safety. He will love kneading his fingers into the slippery, gooey, slimy mixture. Whenever he's playing with his hands, he's exercising his fine and gross motor skills. Besides strengthening his muscles, he's also developing his hand-eye coordination.

22. Rice Crispy fun

Fill a container with a little milk and rice crispies and put the lid on securely. You may want to tape it down. Let your child shake and play with it. Let him listen closely for the snap, crackle, and pops.

23. Teething blocks

Stacking blocks help to enhance your little one's understanding of balance and gravity. Teething blocks are chewy and filled with different textures. Plus, they're imprinted with numbers, animals, and shapes. Your baby will love stacking and fitting them together. Other toys and blankets are made specifically for chewing that help soothe during teething. For extra relief, you can even put teething rings or toys in the freezer.

24. This little piggy

Teach your baby "play-along songs" like This Little Piggy, Pop Goes the Weasel and the Itsy-Bitsy Spider. Babies love to hear the songs and anticipate the accompanying action. Though it may seem boring to you, your little one will enjoy hearing the same tune and fun words over and over.

25. Join a playgroup 

This is a great way to help your child with socialization by playing alongside other kids and starting to share. It also gives you the opportunity to meet other adults you can share stories and tribulations.

26. Wooden puzzles 

Around her first birthday, your baby will be ready for large wooden puzzles. Colorful shapes and pictures work best. You'll have to show her how puzzles work and guide her hands. Clap and give her a lot of positive feedback when she gets it right.

27. Floor exploration 

floor exploration baby 7-12 month

Make a safe floor space for your baby to explore. Encourage baby with lots of facial expressions and take part in playing or holding a toy out for baby to come and reach for.

28. Baggy painting

Use water-soluble, child-friendly finger paint and squeeze a couple of dark colors into a tightly zipped seal-tight baggy. You can add duct tape for extra security. Spread the paint around, coat the inside of the bag and place the bag on the floor in front of your little one during tummy time. Then let her play, showing her how to make marks on the outside of the bag.

29. Pillow play

Create a small mound of pillows and cushions and place your baby on it. Then encourage her to come over to you. Appreciate her efforts. This activity helps build muscles, balance, and coordination.

30. Obstacle track

Convert your floor into an obstacle course using blankets, bedspreads, and cushions as obstacles to climb over or push aside. Give her lots of encouragement and applause as she overcomes the barriers.

And there you have it. Our top 30 bonding and developmental activities for little ones 7-12 months. I hope you enjoyed this post. I welcome any comments or feedback you may have. Thank you for reading, and happy parenting!

About the author 

Dan Sperling

I'm the proud father of two great children. They are grown up now, and although I would have preferred to be a stay-at-home dad, I had to work. Luckily, I could work out of my home so I was around a lot. I ran a video production company, had a couple of great guys working with me and it allowed me to be around the children a lot. I was the "fun guy" for my kids and fathering was something I just took to.
When my daughter became pregnant, I was glad to see my son-in-law was doing everything right--or as good as it gets--we're always winging it, right? It got me thinking that so many dads would like to be more emotionally involved and knowledgeable when it comes to their wives' pregnancy and the first year of their children's lives.

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