8-10 months old - the crawling and pulling up stage
First make sure floor has nothing small enough for baby to choke on. I work in the toy industry so here's a handy tip - nothing smaller than 1.25" in width or 2.25" in length and here's the chart we use:
product that's only $1.65 that you can drop toys into to see if they are too small for a baby.
Now for the fun ways to entertain baby:
This list is assuming you've already bored your baby to tears with his or her current basket of crinkly, teether baby approved toys and is now looking for other sources of entertainment. Don't be surprised if they are done with these toys in one week after crawling because this age is all about exploration and pushing the boundaries! Put all trash cans up or your trash will be sorted for you.
Play should involve discovery of new objects and lots of noise, these are my top go-to toys after having 4 kids and watching them play. You should be strategic about introducing new toys. After two weeks of crawling introduce a new toy. Then maybe a week later the next and so forth. The goal is to keep things interesting by introducing new objects each week and if you can't afford these more expensive toys do not worry because there are plenty of simple less than $10 items available.
- learning table - baby might not be ready to stand without falling so make sure table comes with removable legs, my kids have returned to this toy over and over from baby age through 5 years old! There is just something awesome about noisy toys that makes kids love it. I rate this high because it's been loved by all 4 kids and returned to over and over.
- cat piano - banging enjoyment will go on and on, actually this piano from Target is really well designed with pre-recorded music so when baby hits any random button it will play nice music for awhile. I don't even mind being in the same room as this toy.
- balls - babies love pushing balls around a room, preferably balls with holes that give them a grip, this ball with rain stick is really cool for noise and grip.
- Babies like to put things in and out of cups. You can buy sets of cups or save plastic sour cream containers and put objects inside that are big enough for baby to play. They will adore shaking the cup to hear the rattle sound and they will eventually figure out how to rip that lid off. Make it a challenge! I've looked for sets to buy but can't seem to find any to recommend that have lids however I can definitely attest to this being a fun challenge for a 9mo and throughout their 1 year old year.
- Toy phone that looks as much like yours as possible although it's really hard to fool a baby! They will do just about anything to get your phone and keys. I found this cute phone that looks like a smart phone so we're going to give it a try. It's adorable when they finally learn to put phone to ear like mom or dad.
- I've tried toy keys and they prefer the kind that makes noise like this style, teether keys are ignored.
- This Baby Einstein music player is less than $10 and has been loved by all my kids, it plays really nice music too so parents won't get tired of it. It might only last for a few minutes per play but I rate this high because of how often they come back to it.
- Plastic water pitcher left on floor, it's an odd shape and makes for great fun to bat around on kitchen floor, not everything a baby loves is a store bought toy. Just make sure the object is clean (no chemicals used in plant watering). This is really more of an example of how any random big plastic object can become fun when left on a tile floor.
- Soft blocks that make noise, I don't know what it is with these silly things but they've gotten good play from all my kids. They're easy to wash too!
- Anything a parent wears is fair game. I recently had a quart size ziplock bag with warm compress inside my bra to alleviate a clogged milk duct. My baby was relentless in trying to pull it out and nom on the bag! So you might considering doing silly things like putting a toy in a pocket for them to find. Just make sure the toy is big enough to not fit in the choke tube.
- Piles of paper, junk mail and a toy thrown in for baby to crawl threw are loads of fun but keep watch that they don't eat the paper.
- Put baby on a blanket, wrap him or her like a burrito and slide them around on the floor - it's hilarious!!
- Clear a shelf on a bookcase and put items there that baby can have but doesn't know it's "theirs" because the more it seems like it's the parent's the higher the value. Cups are fun with small plastic plates that can be thrown. Magazines are fun to toss about so I save catalogs that are nicely stacked so she can throw them around. Again make sure to keep watch that baby does not eat the paper and most importantly make sure the bookcase is mounted to the wall because strong babies have been known to pull down an untethered bookcase and that can be tragic.
- Books are very fun to nom on so make sure they are suitably sturdy.
- Blocks are great! Parents can build a tower and let baby knock it down.
- Play "bank robber" by holding baby so that he/she dangles just above a toy and let them pick it up and throw it down. This game is great fun and can go on as long as parent is willing to play.