Around 7-9 months, baby's understanding of cause and effect continues to grow and they begin to grasp object permanence, the idea that things still exist even when you can't see them. These ideas are vital to baby's understanding of how the world works.
Read, read and read again
We are a high reading family here. Introducing books early, allows baby to work on their concentration, conceptual thinking, cognitive thinking and memory skills, as well as speech and friendliness.
Soft books made of cloth, with simple pictures are amazing for this age group. Xiaobao especially enjoys board books with pictures of real babies, such as Baby Talk, Baby's Day and Global Babies.
Peekaboo games are great at this point in life, to help baby understand that objects exist even when you can't see them. This makes her feel more secure when she can't see you.
Start with simple games of peekaboo, hiding yourself behind your hands and then saying peekabook when you move your hands away. The next stage is showing baby a noisy toy, such as a rattle and then hiding it behind your back, encourages baby to find out where things go when she can't see them. Then, once baby understands this game, hide the toy under a cloth and encourage baby to find it.
Once baby is sitting you can begin to introduce treasure baskets. Heuristic play builds language, curiosity, manipulation and concentration.
Treasure baskets are incredibly easy to create. Just fill up a bag or basket with interesting objects from around your home and let baby explore to their hearts content. You can create it around a theme - round objects, wooden objects, red objects etc - or you can just give baby a basket of random things from around your home. The best part about treasure baskets is that as soon as baby has finished playing with them, you can return the objects to their drawers and you don't have a million toys cluttering up their living area.
Here is one I created for Baobao when she was younger.
Tissue Paper Scrunching
Another great activity for babies is tissue paper scrunching. The rustling sound appeals to their sense of hearing. You can also let them tear the tissue paper apart, allowing them to work on hand-eye coordination, hand control, as well as cause and effect. It's high mess, but easily cleaned up. I tend to use packaging material that is too ripped to reuse for shipping something to somebody else.
Just make sure they don't eat it (Xiaobao would)
Give and Take
Around 7 months you can begin to introduce give and take games. This involves giving baby a toy or object and then encouraging them to give it back to you, sometimes by gently taking it, and narrating what you are doing the whole time. This helps to work on grasp refinement, as well as sharing and observation. We tend to do this as a part of baby groups, such as baby sensory, but is easily done at home as a cheaper option.
Listen to the Music
Classical music helps with logic, maths and speech skills and nursery rhymes help with speech, listening and friendliness. They all improve concentration and sense of rhythm.
There are a few different activities you can do with music with your baby. Choose a quiet time each day and put on some music. Lie down with baby on your chest, or sit with baby cuddled against you, and gently pat or stroke their back in time to the music. For faster music, gently hold baby against you and bounce and dance with them to the music.
Enjoying music can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it. You can buy nursery rhyme CDs for as little as £3 from the supermarket, or borrow them for free from the library, if you like to change it up once in a while. For classical music, buy a CD/mp3s or listen to Classic FM.