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What toys will help my child develop language?

Walking down any toy aisle or browsing Amazon, there are so many choices. Barbies...cars...Magna Tiles...but what toys are the best for promoting early language development at home? Below is a list of 6 toys that are perfect for fostering early speech and language skills:


Bubbles: bubbles are an easy way to engage children and practice basic turn-taking skills (“my turn” “your turn”). Parents can also model new vocabulary (e.g. action words such as “pop” “blow” “go” and adjectives like “big” “small” “up” “down”).




Wind-up toys: another great way to practice a variety of vocabulary words and basic concepts. Label the actions of the toy (e.g. “jump” “fly” “crawl” “run” “flip” “go”), practice prepositional terms (e.g. “on” “under”), and target requesting words/signs such as “stop” and “more.”



Play-dough: for children that enjoy more sensory/hands-on toys, play dough is a fantastic, versatile toy that allows parents to model a variety of language concepts with their children. Play dough can cover basic concepts such as color, size, shapes, and prepositions (e.g. in, on, under, next to); verbs (e.g. “squeeze” “smash” “roll” “push”), and other describing words (e.g. “soft” “hard” “big” “small” “squishy” “cold”).




Cooking sets: cooking sets can be used with both younger and older children to work on a variety of language and social skills. Practice describing words while labeling food as “hot” “cold” “yummy” “yucky” “little” and “big” and action words like “stir” “pour” “mix” “drink” and “eat.” Parents can “order” food to practice following directions (e.g. “Can I have the pink donut and the blue spoon?”).



Blocks: foster development of basic concepts like size and shape terms (e.g. “big” “small” colors, “square” “circle” “on top” “under”). Action words like “stack” “push” “fall” “crash.” Have your child request blocks through naming the color, telling you where to put the block, or using demand words/signs like “more.”




Farm set: a great way to practice labeling common animals and objects (e.g. cow, pig, horse, sheep, door, farm, window, door, food, etc.) as well as encourage production of early-developing speech sounds that are common in animal noises (e.g. “baa” “moo” “neigh”). Animals can also perform certain actions like “eat” “sleep” “run” “jump” “bite” “kick” “stop” and “go.” To practice prepositions and following directions, play hide and seek with the animals (e.g. “put the cow on the roof” “the pig is behind the couch” etc.).



Happy playing!


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