As speech therapists, we are often asked by families “What toys should I have at home that will help my child’s language development?”. The answer is you don’t necessarily have to go out and get any! A great tool that you already have to provide language enrichment for your child is everyday experiences and routines.
Below are some examples of simple ways you can incorporate language building strategies into your daily schedule!
Talk about what you are doing/seeing/hearing all the time!
“Mommy is brushing her hair” or “I hear the fire truck”. Talking about what you do/see/hear teaches action words and sentence structure, and improves vocabulary! Interacting with their parent or caregiver also teaches children the social use of language, such as facial expressions and gestures.
Use daily routines to teach new vocabulary and to encourage your child to request.
For example, during bath time, talk about how the water is hot or cold, what toys are in the bath, action words of splash, pour, wash, or use words such as in vs. out. During meal time, give choices of what to eat. “Do you want to have apples or grapes”?. Give your child just a couple pieces and wait for them to want more. When they do, model how to ask depending on your child’s age: “more”, “more grapes”, “I want more grapes please!”.
Reading to your child exposes them to new vocabulary. Be sure to not just read the words on the page but to also talk to your child about what they see in the pictures.
Singing can expand memory and improve rhyming skills.
Daily routines are great ways to encourage language development throughout the day. But when you are thinking of toys for your children, think less is more! Toys such as dolls, cars, and play food are all great tools for encouraging interaction with you when playing.
Blog written by Kelly Broady. Kelly is a Speech-Language Pathologist for Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center.