Tuesday, November 28, 2023

10 Toys That Promote Speech And Language Development

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Pet Vet Play Set With See And Spell

Toys can promote language development in young children

Best Two-Toy Bundle

Recommended age: 18 months+

A doctor or vet set places your child in the nurturing role, allowing them to give care rather than receive it. This role reversal can help make kids feel more in control and build their confidence, which can help them to feel more positive about their ability to communicate.

This vet set from Mellissa & Doug comes with a cat, a dog, and a range of vet tools. Theres lots of scope for playing together and asking questions like Who is hurt? Whats wrong? and What should we do?

Then theres the See and Spell set which provides the opportunity to spell out the words and focus on the sounds of individual letters.

Toddlers First Word Flashcards

Flashcards are also a great developmental resource that will encourage and increase your childs vocabulary. You can plan fun games to assure that your child is memorizing, understanding and have the ability to identify the cards. Flashcards offer a lot of images your child can visualize, point at, and practice saying. However, these flashcards are texture touch and can be utilized as a motivator. Baby and toddlers developed their first words at different paces. Here are 20 free flashcards to get you started!

Toddler First Flashcards

Number : Stomp Rocket

A particularly great motivator for young boys! I’ve found this rocket is a good reinforcer in between therapy activities or at the end of speech and language practise to motivate children who find it challenging to sit still for too long. Best done outside if possible, with parent supervision and away from any roof that it might get stuck on.

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Mollybee Kids Toddler Scavenger Hunt

Best Low-Pressure

Recommended age: 2 years+

A simple set of cards on a ring, this toddler scavenger hunt provides simple questions to ask your child and everyday household objects for them to find.

You can then encourage your little one to tell you what they are looking for, where they found an item, or where they will search next.

This toy has the added advantage of being small and portable, so you can take this and play wherever you go.

Number : Pop Up Friends

10 Toys that promote speech &  language development
The farmyard friends pop up version of this toy is my favourite as some of the other toy theme characters can be a bit difficult for toddlers to work out what they are or the buttons can be a bit challenging to activate. Great for teaching early vocabulary and animal sounds for speech production, good for problem solving and learning cause-effect.

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Books For Speech And Language Development:

In the Sosa study, researchers found the most language and vocabulary was associated with books, even over traditional toys! For little ones, books with repetitive lines such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear give children a chance to participate as well as build early literacy skills. Authors such as Mo Williams and Dr. Seuss are great for preschool age children.

How Noala Can Help

Noala is on a mission to make speech and language mainstream. Their platform offers your family instant access to a certified speech professional, guiding you through a tailored clinically backed, parent-led Speech and Language Therapy coaching program to help your child reach their set targets.

The first program is built for developmental language, motivating your child to say and understand their first words and sentences.

If youre interested, you can , accessing your first coaching video, all about food. Youll be able to book a call to chat to your designated expert speech professional for guidance, feedback and support your childs progress and questions you may have.

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Rainbow Nesting And Stacking Cups

Best Back-to-Basics

Recommended age: 6 months+

These stacking cups are suitable from an earlier age than most toys on this list because they are suitable for teething babies.

That makes them an ideal toy for helping toddlers talk because even if your little one is delayed in other areas of development, these cups are still safe, engaging, and physically suitable for play.

You can play the apparent games like building a tower, but there are other options such as hiding an item under a cup and asking your child to guess what item is hidden or which cup its hidden under.

Using Play To Promote Speech And Language Development

How to use STACKING CUPS for speech and language development

Play is an extremely important area of early childhood development, especially when it comes to growing speech and language skills. Play is how children learn and explore the world around them. That’s why developing good play skills helps children increase their communication abilities.

In this article, we cover some basics about how play is linked to language development. You’ll also find specific tips you can use at home to get your child on the road to communication success!

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Speak Slowly And Clearly

You can help improve your childs speech skills when you practice speaking to them slowly and clearly. With the proper articulation, they will pick up on the right sounds to make from the get-go.

Eye contact also helps with communication. Making a proper facial expression helps too, as children also pick up on this and they will imitate it.

Why I Like Them:

Wooden puzzles are durable and easy for little hands to manipulate. As your child is learning how to solve a new puzzle, its a great time to make it an interactive play experience by talking about the pieces, having your child request pieces, and helping him figure out how to manipulate the piece to make it fit. These Melissa and Doug puzzles have hidden pictures under the puzzle pieces for added fun and more vocabulary to learn!

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Melissa And Doug Slice And Bake Cookie Sheet

Melissa and Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Sheet is a classic toy that is so much fun! Your child will love to make requests to open, put on, cut and cook. It is also a great toy for sharing, turn-taking, and directing play for those social skills. You can use words and phrases like frosting go on and have cookie parties to work on pronouns .

Some Speechy Terms I Use

10 Toys That Promote Functional Communication

Many of these terms are used throughout my recommendations of certain toys so I felt it was important to define them.

Expectant Pause: Provide opportunities for your child to use language, without asking them directly to repeat what you say, or to label objects. and then continue with the story.)

Model: Rather than testing your childs knowledge, see your job as giving your child lots of models. For example when looking at a book, you can describe the pictures to your child. The length and complexity of your models will depend on the childs age. For example, if a child is 2 years of age, you might model using 2 3 word sentences. Try not to give a model and then expect your child to repeat and take the pressure off your child to perform.

Expressive Language: the use of words, sentences, gestures, sign, and writing to convey meaning and messages to others.

Receptive Language: means the ability to understand information. It involves understanding the words, sentences and meaning of what others say or what is read.

Joint Attention: shared attention is the shared focus of two individuals on an object. It is achieved when one individual alerts another to an object by means of eye-gazing, pointing or other verbal or non-verbal indications.

Symbolic Play: ability of children to use objects, actions or ideas to represent other objects, actions, or ideas as play. A child may push a block around the floor as a car or put it to his ear as a cell phone

Baby Dolls

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Choosing Toys That Stimulate Speech And Language Development

Veronica Montanaro, Speech & Language Pathologist

In a world packed with objects competing for our childs attention, it is very difficult to choose a toy for a child. Toy shops are packed with such a variety of activities and toys across brands and price ranges, so we are paralysed by the huge choice available to us. In my experience, less is more when picking an appropriate toy. As Christmas approaches, the team of SLPs at TAASC and I have put some advice and recommendations together. Our aim is to make it easier to choose toys that are fun, that permit engaging moments between carer and child, and that help to improve a skill or set of skills.

Having worked as a Speech and Language Pathologist for almost twenty years means that I have accumulated quite a vast number of resources. My resource toolbox includes some simple resources that have been downloaded and printed, books and toys that have been passed on to me by friends and relatives whose children no longer use them and others that have been given to us at the development stage for us to review and give feedback on.

We are always on the lookout for new/innovative toys and games. Needless to say, any SLP will be able to guide you on their top picks for toys, though we thought of listing a few of our favourites. Here are a few tips on what to look out for when buying toys.




Maltese Resources


Simple and such fun. So many skills can be learnt from this simple and fun activity.

Climber/tunnel/ride On Toys/pull Toys

I grouped all these together because we know that motor development and cognitive development happen in similar parts of the brainso essentially when children get moving, they are learning! Following/giving directions and prepositions are great to practice-go through the tunnel and around the couch! Usually you dont have too many of these toys in one home, so sharing and turn-taking with others is another way to build good communication.

Budget: Tunnel from Kohls, Melissa & Doug Frog Pull Toy from Kohls

Splurge: Plasmacar Ride Toy from Kohls

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Toys To Get Your Toddler Talking

At Adeline’s first birthday she was only babbling “mama”

One of the things people ask me about most often is, How did you get Adeline to talk? or What toys do you like to get your toddler to talk? At 14 months old, Addie was not talking, she was only babbling “mama”. We decided to enroll her in speech therapy privately through our insurance and also through our Maryland state early intervention program which is called Infants & Toddlers. At the time, many people told us to wait, and Infants and Toddlers really did not want to add kids for speech until they were two.

At 14 months old, we began speech therapy 6x per month

At 14 months old, Addies language skills were in the 4-6 month old range. I knew she was behind, but those scores were a wake up call.

The best gift or thing you can give to your child to help with their language development is YOU. Your TIME, DEDICATION, ATTENTION, FOLLOW THROUGH, CONSISTENCY, is going to be the thing that makes the most difference. You can have all the toys in the world, but if you aren’t playing/talking/reading/ and spending meaningful 1:1 undivided attention with your child, they are not going to make progress.

Choosing Toys To Promote Language Development

Strategies for Encouraging Your Child’s Speech and Language Development

You may be an SLP recommending that parents use play to help develop language skills, or maybe a parent been told to play with your child. Now what? It can be intimidating. What toys? Is this going to expensive? Do I buy the new shiny toy that is marketed as a great educational toy? The answer is, the simpler the toys, the better. Here are three features for you to think about when choosing toys to promote language development.

1. Park the batteries.

Toys that have batteries can be engaging for kids because they may light up, move, or make noise. The big problem is they may light up, move, or make noise.

Researchers have found that if a toy makes noise, adults tend to talk less and let the toys do the talking. If you are letting the toys do the talking, then children have less opportunity to see how you form the sounds. There is less opportunity for you to change up the sounds the toys makes. Ever take a frog, and all of the sudden, you make mooing sounds? What do children do? Children familiar with the sounds that frogs make, will respond because they are not expecting mooing. This allows you to talk about how frogs dont moo. This is a fun way to add language. As I alluded to the above, there are fewer opportunities for the child to use/develop their imagination. If you do have toys with batteries, take them out and play with them.

2. Pick toys that have a simple colour palate.
3. Pick toys that can be used in different ways.

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Why I Like It:

Seek-a-Boo is a game that is made for toddlers and preschoolers , which makes it a great first board game. It plays like a Memory card game, except this game has large circles with photographs of beginning vocabulary that you can put face-down on the floor. This allows little ones to get up and move around, looking for the match to the smaller picture you show them.

I modify this game for Sylvie by just putting down 3-5 circles at a time instead of covering the whole floor. You can also make it easier it by putting pictures face-up to start so that it is more of a matching game than a memory game. As your child grows, you can make it more challenging. This one is a hit at our house!

Top 10 Speech And Language Developmental Toys

Toys for toddlers are fun and exciting essentials that encourage and motivate speech and language development. Toys motivate your child to engage in activities, listen and participate. Toys are also great motivators for little learners who need additional assistance with speech and language development.

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Fisher Price School Bus

Having some type of toy vehicle in your room is essential when working with younger students in speech therapy. Have them put dolls or Little People in the bus and work on pronouns and characteristics. For example, have them put the boy in the bus. Or for a challenge, have them put the boy with brown hair in the bus. Practice other phrases and words such as: push, drive, forward, backward, fast, slow, etc.

Fat Brain Toys Spinagain Kids Stacking Toy

10 Toys That Promote Functional Communication

Best for Speech Stimulation

Recommended age: 18 months+

For kids who enjoy playing in the water, a water table is incredibly motivating. This example has many accessories with which your child can create character stories, pour water, and play anticipatory games.

For example, you can hold a cup of water, count one, two, three, pause, and wait for your child to call out GO!

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How Parents Can Help

Parents play a key role in supporting their children. Always go with your gut instinct if you think there is an issue and seek the help you need.

If your child is diagnosed with a speech and language disorder, there are ways that you can help and support them at home, alongside any professional help they may be receiving.

Read how mum Kellie helped support her daughter to find her voice.

The key to helping them is to be patient and understanding and get them the support they need as early as possible.

Toddler Speech And Language Milestones

As mentioned before, having a child with a language delay is not extremely uncommon.

Communication has two basic parts: receptive and expressive.

Receptive communication refers to a childs understanding of language. For example, if you say, Wheres mama? and your baby looks at you, they are demonstrating good receptive communication skills.

Expressive communication refers to how your child communicates with you. Basically, are they talking?

However, expressive communication can also be the use of gestures or signs for someone who is not yet talking or nonverbal.

Expressive language delays have been reported in about 13% to 17% of 18 to 36-month-olds.

A child may have a language delay if they are NOT doing the following:

  • Babbling by nine months
  • Saying their first word by 15 months
  • Speaking a few consistent words by 18 months
  • Putting two words together by 24 months

Language delay can be related to increased difficulty with reading, writing, attention, and socialization as children get older. Therefore, its important to identify toddlers who may have difficulty with language skills and provide them with communication support.

If you are concerned about your childs language development, discuss your concerns with your pediatrician. You can also contact your local early intervention program for a free developmental assessment.

Now, lets move on to how you can use toys to help toddlers talk.

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We All Scream For Ice Cream 25 Piece Set

“Learned about different sizes with portions, serving, and placing items onto the cone into the spoon and into the plate. Great practice for motor skills. Imagination play, taking turns and requesting what he would like and saying thank you or please correctly. Waiting his turn to order and to be the ice man. Cleaning up and following instructions.”

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