Toys have come a long way since we were children. We grew up with wooden and plastic toys, and we were forced to use our imagination for playtime. Now it seems like the majority of toys on the market have tons of lights, bells and whistles and some form of artificial intelligence. Can you take a wild guess which one is better for your kids?
While some electric toys can be fun and useful, the best toys for your kids in regards to speech and language development are as simple as they come. Here are some toy suggestions:
Stacking and Nesting Toys:
Stacking toys have a lot of benefits, they’re great for fine motor skills, visual and spatial perception, and language development. You can use the different sizes of the nesting/stacking toys to teach them about size comparisons, sequence (which comes next), and following instructions. You can use simple words like “up” and or “on” after each stacking cup. Repetition is key with language development. Note: let them knock it down after stacking, it’ll keep their attention longer because it’ll be a fun exercise. This exercise can also work well with wooden blocks.
There are so many great books for language development. Some examples of helpful books are: real life picture books (realistic situations can spark their curiosity and help them learn new words, ex: “First Words Bright Baby”), flip the flap books (these are a lot of fun for young minds, like “Where’s Spot?”), repetitive books (these are books with predictable rhythmic language like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?), books with familiar nursery rhymes (songs are a great way to help them remember words, a great example is “wheels on the bus”).
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Did you know bubbles can be great for speech development? Blowing bubbles strengthens abdominal muscles, which is helpful for sustained speech. Strong muscles can help increase sentence length.
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Shape sorters are another great tool for language development. You can use the fun exercise to teach kids about shapes and sizes. For example: when putting the circle in you can use the “ssss” sound to make out “circle”.
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Song and Musical Instruments:
Singing and playing fun musical instruments with your kids is an easy way to help them with language development. Kids' songs often have repetitive words, which is engaging for little minds. Try singing your actions such as, “this is the way we brush our teeth/wash our face/wash our hands/put on socks.” This will make learning new words fun.
Try singing your actions such as, “this is the way we brush our teeth/wash our face/wash our hands/put on socks.”
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Arts & Crafts:
Speech therapists often use coloring as a way to connect with children and help them use speech. It’s the most creative way to get children to express language. It’s also a good way to help them learn colors. Tip: the easiest way to help toddlers learn colors is saying the color after a noun. A study conducted by the Cognition, Language and Learning Lab at Stanford University found that using color words AFTER nouns should make colors easier to learn, and should make kids faster at learning them. When you say the banana is yellow, the strawberry is red…etc…there’s a significant improvement with identifying colors.
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