With the holidays fast approaching, here are some tips for choosing gifts that also support your child’s development. The best toys to support your child’s speech and language development are traditional toys that do not make noises or talk for your child. Taking batteries out of toys is an option as well. Choosing toys that relate to everyday activities (e.g., kitchen set, baby doll) are great for facilitating language that can be applied to real life situations.
Additionally, toys that are open-ended and can be used in a variety of ways are best. For example, a basic farm set has more language opportunities than a toy with buttons that makes animal noises. With a basic farm set, the child can imitate animal noises, label the animal names, practice location concepts (e.g., on, in, under, next to, etc.), answer wh-questions (e.g., “Where is the pig?”), and much more!
Here is a list of basic, traditional toys that are great for expanding your child’s speech and language skills:
- Wooden blocks
- Baby doll
- Potato Head
- Doll House
- Kitchen set and play food
- Tea set
- Farm set
- Dress-up clothes
- Stacking toys
- Doctor set
- Wind-up toys
Traditional toys are excellent for supporting speech and language development, but it is also fun to discover new toys/games as well!
Here is a list of new toys/games I have been using in speech and language therapy:
- Seek-a-Boo Game
- Great for working on vocabulary, turn-taking, and memory skills!
- Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pads
- All of these reusable sticker pads are AWESOME for working on speech and language skills! I particularly like the “play house” one. These are great for answering wh-questions (i.e., who, what, where, when, why, how), labeling actions (e.g., swimming, playing), formulating complete sentences (e.g., “She is playing), and more!
- Frankie’s Food Truck Fiasco Game
- Excellent for working on shape identification and turn-taking! Find foods that are in the shape of a triangle, square, circle, heart, and rectangle.
- This one is always a favorite with the kids. Great for vocabulary, turn-taking, and asking questions. Play with the family and have your child ask if you need a piece, such as, “Do you need a hat or a bird?”
- Melissa & Doug “Stamp Sort” Mailbox
- Great for little ones to practice phrases, such as, “go in,” “put in mail,” “close the door,” “open door,” “put in key,” etc. Put stamps on the letters and ask your child, “Who are we mailing it to?”
- Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game
- Work on color identification, matching skills, and turn-taking with this fun game. Ask your child, “Whose turn is it?” to practice pronouns in “my turn” and “your turn.”
There are many great toys/games out there, but these are favorites among speech-language pathologists. Ditch the batteries and get talking!
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!