Why Do Babies Give You Things?

“Peekaboo, I see you!” Chances are, if you’ve spent any time around babies, you’ve encountered this familiar scene. Their tiny fingers grasping your finger, handing you a slobbery toy, or offering a half-eaten cookie with a toothless grin.

It’s an adorable sight, but ever wonder why babies give you things? It might seem like a simple, random act, but it’s an important developmental milestone that opens the door to a world of learning and bonding. So, why do babies give you things? Let’s dive in and uncover this fascinating behavior!

The Beginning of Interaction: A Developmental Milestone

During their first year, babies undergo significant growth and development. One of these crucial milestones is when they start to hand you things. This interactive behavior is typically observed around the 9-10 months mark, but it could vary depending on the child’s individual pace of growth. When a baby hands over an object, it signifies their growing awareness of people around them and their desire to interact.

  • Baby begins to notice that they can influence their surroundings.
  • They realize that their actions can evoke a response from others.
  • Interaction with adults becomes a learning platform for them.
  • This behavior also showcases the development of their fine motor skills.

Engaging with your child when they hand you things not only aids their development but also strengthens your bond. This interaction lays the foundation for future social and emotional growth, making it a critical milestone in a baby’s journey.

The Exploration Phase: Babies, Their Toys, and You

Babies have an insatiable curiosity. As their motor skills develop, they can’t wait to get their hands on everything around the house. Toys, teddy bears, even the dishwasher’s inside! However, when a baby hands you a toy, it’s not just about the object itself. It’s about sharing their world with you. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, look at this! Isn’t it interesting?”

  • Babies learn about their environment by exploring objects.
  • Handing over a toy can be their way of seeking validation or attention.
  • They also learn about the characteristics and functions of objects this way.
  • It’s a form of play that aids cognitive development.

Remember, when your little explorer hands you a half-chewed teether, it’s not just a soggy toy; it’s a shared moment of discovery!

Beyond Objects: The Emotional Connection

When a baby gives you an object, it goes beyond the act itself; it’s an emotional connection. It’s their way of expressing love and trust. By receiving and responding positively, you reaffirm your bond and make them feel secure. This gesture is the baby’s version of give-and-take, the first step towards understanding reciprocity.

  • Handing you things helps them express their emotions.
  • It signifies a deep trust and love for you.
  • A positive response from you encourages them.
  • This act is a primitive form of sharing and caring.

So, the next time your baby hands you a crumpled piece of paper, know that it’s their heart reaching out to you!

Mimicking Adults: The Learning Process

Babies are keen observers. They learn by watching the actions of people around them, especially their caregivers. When a baby sees you picking up objects or handing them to someone else, they try to mimic your actions. This mimicking behavior is essential for their cognitive and social development.

  • Babies imitate adult behaviors as part of their learning process.
  • Handing things to you is their way of being ‘grown-up’.
  • This process enhances their understanding of the world.
  • It’s also a way for them to connect with you on your level.

So, when your tiny tot hands you a spoon just like they’ve seen you do, it’s their attempt at being a little adult!

Communicating Needs: The Power of Gesture

As babies grow, they learn to communicate their needs, desires, and interests. Before they can verbalize these thoughts, they use gestures. Handing you things can be their way of asking for help, seeking comfort, or expressing their fascination.

  • Gestures like handing over things become a communication tool for babies.
  • It could mean a variety of things, like “Open this for me,” “Play with me,” or “I like this.”
  • Responding appropriately helps them feel understood.
  • This interaction encourages the development of communication skills.

When your baby hands you a toy car with a puzzled expression, they’re probably asking you to show them how it works. Your response validates their curiosity and encourages further exploration.

When Giving Becomes Throwing: Understanding the Transition

As babies grow into toddlers, you may notice a shift in their behavior. That soft handover of objects may suddenly turn into enthusiastic throwing. While it might seem like your child is morphing into a mini quarterback, this is another typical developmental phase.

  • Throwing is a natural part of gross motor development.
  • It helps improve hand-eye coordination.
  • Babies might throw to get a reaction, expressing their sense of humor.
  • This behavior also allows them to understand cause and effect.

So, when your toddler launches their sippy cup across the room, it’s not necessarily defiance. They’re just exploring their newfound skills – in a slightly more chaotic way!

Consultation and Reassurance: When to Reach Out to Healthcare Providers

While handing you things is generally a normal part of a baby’s developmental journey, every child is unique. If you have any concerns or if your baby doesn’t show this behavior by their first birthday, consider discussing it with a pediatric healthcare provider. It’s essential to remember that children develop at different rates, and there’s a broad range of ‘normal’.

  • Always consult with a healthcare provider if you have concerns about your child’s development.
  • Baby’s developmental milestones may vary, and it’s okay.
  • Pediatricians can provide reassurance or address potential issues.
  • Early intervention can be beneficial if there are any developmental delays.

Remember, as much as this guide can provide insights, nothing substitutes professional medical advice. So, don’t hesitate to seek help when you need it!


The act of a baby handing you things, from toys to crumbs, is much more than just an adorable gesture. It’s a signal of their burgeoning development, a way to communicate, and a powerful means of connection. Whether they’re sharing their world with you, mimicking your actions, or expressing their trust, it’s an integral part of their journey towards becoming an independent and socially competent individual. So, the next time your little one hands you a drool-coated teddy bear, cherish that moment. They’re not just giving you a toy; they’re sharing a piece of their world with you!


  1. “Developmental milestones: Hand-eye coordination.” BabyCenter, L.L.C.
  2. “Understanding Your Baby’s Developing Vision.” The American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  3. “Developmental Milestones: Birth to 12 Months.” The American Academy of Pediatrics.
  4. “Speech and Language Developmental Milestones.” The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
  5. “Toddlers and Challenging Behavior: Why They Do It and How to Respond.” The American Academy of Pediatrics.
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