Updated: Oct 11, 2022
When I’m choosing toys to use during my speech therapy sessions with little ones, I’m looking for fun and engaging toys that offer opportunities for repetitive actions and language. Here are just a few of my favorites toys for working on language learning during play!
1. Barn & Farm Animals. There are so many great early language skills that you can target using a barn and farm animals! You can work on imitating animal sounds (i.e., “Bah,” “Moo,” “Cluck,” etc.), building expressive vocabulary, and following directions (especially spatial concepts, “Put in,” “Take out,” etc.).
2. Puzzles. I am in love with puzzles! They offer so many opportunities for both receptive and expressive language development. Puzzles also support turn-taking skills. Check out my favorite puzzles by Melissa & Doug.
3. Car Ramps (… or anything that can GO!). Cars, trucks, trains, and planes. These are my go-to verb toys. “Go!” Is usually a first word for our kiddos with early language delays and nothing motivates them more than racing a car around the house. “Vroom,” “Choo-Choo,” “Beep-Beep,” and “Whoaaa” are also fantastic early words!
4. Pretend Food (…or anything that encourages pretend play). A must-have for sure! This is great for role-playing cooking or serving food. Kids can work on building vocabulary for food items or verbs used with cooking (mixing, baking, eating), following directions (“Can you make me a sandwich?”), and basic concepts (prepositions, size, counting, colors, etc.).
5. Blocks. Building toys are brain toys. Children work to learn how to solve problems, hand/eye coordination, cause-effect, size and shape, balance, counting, spatial awareness, prepositions, colors and letters, and much more! I’ve seen some amazing language practice just by bringing out the plain old wooden blocks.
BONUS! My last toy recommendation isn’t a toy… it’s YOU! Although toys have wonderful benefits for language learning, children don’t need toys to learn to talk. Remember: toys are only toys unless we play TOGETHER with our children. Parents sometimes forget that YOU can be the most fun thing to play with in the house-and you definitely have the most language to give to your child!
Comment below and tell me some of your favorite toys that you and your child enjoy playing with together!