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Toys That Promote Speech & Language Development

Do you still have holiday shopping left to do? Out of ideas on what to buy? Here are some recommendations on what to look for in a toy that can not only provide fun for your child but promote speech and language development too!

In a world full of battery operated toys and electronic gadgets, look for timeless toys. Toys that don’t have a screen or require batteries and allow your child to be in control of their own play routines are the BEST kinds of toys. Look for toys that do NOTHING! Does this sound impossible? It’s easier than you think!

Here are some ideas to guide your next shopping trip!

  • Toys with pieces: these toys can facilitate turn taking, requesting, following directions, labeling vocabulary, descriptive language, and basic creativity
    • Toy suggestions: nesting cups/block, wooden blocks, Legos, Mr. Potato Head, puzzles, shape sorters
  • Toys that allow for open-ended play routines: this will help your child develop pretend play, joint attention, imitation skills, and speech sound acquisition (think sound effects!)
    • Toy suggestions: Doll house, cars/trucks, trains, farm set with barn and animals 
  • Books: Books are perhaps the most beneficial toy you can purchase! Books encourage vocabulary acquisition, identification, utterance expansion, speech sound acquisition, and beyond! 
    • Books suggestions: look for a variety of book types such as lift-the-flap, touch and feel, scratch and sniff, and wordless books. You can’t go wrong!
  • Toys that promote movement: Take play outside and into different environments. Movement based activities are so beneficial for many of our kids and can naturally promote and encourage language and social communication.
    • Toy suggestions: bowling set, tunnel, water/sand table, slide, ride on toys

Once you have the staples in your toy closet, try combining the toys to further expand your child’s imagination. Pull out the cars and trucks with wooden blocks to create a construction site or build your own farm using Legos and animal figures. The opportunities are endless!

Always remember, play is learning and learning is fun! Happy shopping! 

– Elizabeth Vincent, M.S. CCC-SLP