If you find yourself looking for lists of toys that build speech and language skills you’re in the right spot! I’m Jenna Kirk, MA, CCC-SLP and I’m a pediatric speech-language pathologists. I’m a mom of two littles, one who has Childhood Apraxia of Speech (a speech sound disorder) who loves kids toys! If you’re on the hunt for toys for this holiday season that will help support your child’s speech and language skills, you’re in the right place!
When I’m shopping for toys, I focus on a few things!
- Promote open ended pretend play. Blocks can be a building, a pancake, or a cell phone! If you start building a collection of open ended toys, you won’t feel like you have to completely throw away their toys as they grow. Instead, the play with change and the toys will grow along with your child.
- The fewer noisy toys the better! When you shop the baby toy aisle, it’s shocking how most of the toys light up or make noise with buttons. In general, we want our children to be the ones making the noise for play! Avoid toys with lots of buttons and noise making actions. A simple doll house, regular instrument, or set of figurine people allows them to use their speech and language skills rather than to just listen to the dollhouse do all the noise making!
- Gather my child’s attention. We’re in a strong Spiderman and Paw Patrol phase right now. I make sure we have the character figurines he loves so we can pair those with open ended toys for tons of play!
- Target a variety of skills. Each month, I swap out some toys in our playroom. I try to make sure we have toys for open ended play, fine motor tasks, art, and building toys. For the holidays or birthdays, you can try to make sure you have purchases from each different domain.
- Experiences are critical! One way to really build language skills is through different experiences. Consider how you might gift an experience instead of a gift. Think about your local area of create some “dates” to share with your child. Library, Nature Walk, Park (especially a new one!), a museum, Christmas Lights Displays, cultural festivals, drive-in movie theaters, etc! These varied experiences gives kids a chance to learn new background information, grow their language, and share positive moments with their family.
- The interactions matter more than the toys. No matter which toys you select, it’s your interaction with your child with the toys that will really help their speech and language skills grow the most. Pick a toy you’re going to enjoy too!
I made some simple Amazon Gift Guides, sorted by age to help you find some toy I would recommend to help build speech and language skills.
I couldn’t forget your stocking stuffers! Here are some ideas for those whole family!
If you have any favorite toys comment with them below!
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