At Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center, our Speech-Language Pathologists are often asked- “What toys can help with my child’s speech and language development?”.
Toys have the ability to help build vocabulary and promote problem solving, social interaction, and creative expression! To help you pick the best toys this holiday season, our team has put together some tips for selecting toys that are optimal for targeting speech and language.
Pick Open-Ended Toys
Open-ended toys do not have one specific way that they are “supposed” to be played with. This means your child can use his or her creativity to use them in their own way. As a result, this types of toy is more conducive to language development. Some examples of open-ended toys are wooden blocks, Legos, stuffed animals, and costumes. A great open-ended toy this season is this Silly Suckers Suction Cup Building Toy.
Go Back To The Basics
Additionally, traditional toys, like play kitchens, doll houses, Mr. Potato Head, and transportation toys, are all great tools for encouraging interaction with you when playing. Use this type of toy to talk about what you are doing/ seeing/ hearing with your child. For example, “I hear the fire truck! It is driving down the street.” This teaches action words, sentence structure, and the social use of language, such as facial expressions and gestures. Some great examples of basic toys are the “Let’s Play House” Pretend Play Set and this Wooden mailbox play set.
Pick A Toy That You Can Use During Daily Routines
Whether it be bath time or dinner time, daily routines are a great way to teach new vocabulary and expand your child’s language! For example, during bath time, talk about how the water is hot or cold, what toys are in the bath, and action words like splash, pour, or wash. Pick toys that your child can easily play with during these routines. A great toy that your child can use while you cook dinner is this Wooden Play Food for Kids Kitchen. Your child can “help” prepare dinner by chopping their own vegetables and fruit!
Pick A Toy That Sings
Singing songs can expand your child’s memory, vocabulary, and improve rhyming skills! Pick a toy or two that can sing and sing along with it! One great singing toy this season is this Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Storybook Rhymes, Take-Along Musical Toy Book.
There are so many options for toys that you can use to help your child build her/his language. And, honestly, nearly any toy can be adapted to target speech and language!
In addition to toys, never underestimate how much your child wants to play with YOU! Whether you’re reading, telling stories, singing, playing patty-cake, talking in a funny voice, or being silly, remember that you are the best toy for your child!
If you are interested in learning more about improving your child’s speech and language, visit our Resources For Families page, which includes information about speech-language milestones, tips for early literacy development, and more! We also encourage you to follow us on Facebook or Instagram!