This is an activity that’s quick to set up, yet has encouraged all three of my boys to pull to standing.


  • Baking tray
  • Ball pool balls


I made sure Cian (9 months old) saw me place some of the balls in the baking tray and put them out of reach on a table. He crawled over to check them out.

After a few attempts, Cian figured out that if he took two hands off the table to pull the try towards him, then he toppled over. Instead he used his mouth to pull the tray closer.

He also realised that the balls fitted perfectly inside the holes in the corners of the table. He took it in turns picking up a ball, dropping it in the hole, then retrieving it and placing it back on the tray.

Another thing Cian discovered, was that when he tried to pick up the green ball, he accidentally knocked it and it rolled along the channel in the table.

It took him a while to process how to roll the ball from side to side, but this satisfied face shows how excited he was by his discovery.

This video shows him pulling to standing, then trying to maintain his balance.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS (2013)

Communication and language

Listening and attention (Birth to 11 months)

• Turns towards a familiar sound then locates range of sounds with accuracy.

• Listens to, distinguishes and responds to intonations and sounds of voices.

• Reacts in interaction with others by smiling, looking and moving.

• Quietens or alerts to the sound of speech.


Speaking (Birth to 11 months)

• Makes own sounds in response when talked to by familiar adults.

• Practises and gradually develops speech sounds (babbling) to communicate with adults; says sounds like ‘baba, nono, gogo’.

Physical development

Moving and handling (Birth to 11 months)

• Turns head in response to sounds and sights.

• Gradually develops ability to hold up own head.

• Makes movements with arms and legs which gradually become more controlled.

• Reaches out for, touches and begins to hold objects.

• Explores objects with mouth, often picking up an object and holding it to the mouth.

Personal, social and emotional development

Self-confidence and self-awareness (Birth to 11 months)

• Laughs and gurgles, e.g. shows pleasure at being tickled and other physical interactions.

• Uses voice, gesture, eye contact and facial expression to make contact with people and keep their attention.

Managing feelings and behaviour (Birth to 11 months)

  • Shows a range of emotions such as pleasure, fear and excitement.

Making relationships (Birth to 11 months)

• Enjoys the company of others and seeks contact with others from birth.

• Responds when talked to, for example, moves arms and legs, changes facial expression, moves body and makes mouth movements.

• Recognises and is most responsive to main carer’s voice: face brightens, activity increases when familiar carer appears.