What do kids like to play with? Sure, you can go to Toys 'R' Us and clear the shelves. Kids will love some for two seconds, others for two minutes, but their favorites will last for two years or more.
One thing that I realized, though, is that the things they are playing with, especially at an infant's age, are often specialized toys that are more interesting to an adult that to the kid. As I've witnessed tens of dollars go down the toilet in toys that fail to hold my son's interest, I've realized that I needed to go back to basics, to remember what some of my favorite things were.
Of course, I don't remember being eight months old. But I do remember seeing my grandmother give the babies pots and pans to play with when they were at her apartment in the city. Granny would put us in the kitchen and there would be spatulas, spoons, pots, pans, lids, towels, and any other safe kitchen item. With various weights, sizes, and noises, the child's attention would be held for longer than most any commercially purchased toy.
Ever folding laundry? Give the kid some socks to play with. That's at least a few minutes of entertainment. Something I read in one of my parenting magazines: when doing loads of towels or sheets, put the child safely on one end, then give him or her a "magic" carpet ride.
Finally, bags and boxes. No! Not plastic bags. Paper bags and boxes. This should, of course, be supervised. But they love the ins and outs as well as the noises that they make.
Our son loves his steering wheel, his Baby Einstein apparatus, and his wiffle balls. But for every one of these successful toys, there are three that never gained his interest.
So before you go out and buy your kid a bunch of new toys, play with some of the things around your house. If anything, it may narrow what you know will be a hit from the store. You don't have to fit it into the toy bin. And they may be things that the child will recognize later on for its real use.