A friend of mine, who works as a Speech and Language Therapist, recently suggested that I should write a blog highlighting some of my toys that would encourage language development. I was reluctant at first but after doing a little reading about it myself, I realised how many of the toys I stock fit into this category. So, here goes!
- Blocks, stacking cubes and shape sorters. These all encourage interactive play, problem solving and creative expression.
- Books create literacy opportunities and introduce new vocabulary. Personally, I love the Tales of Acorn Wood books by Julia Donaldson. They are rhyming stories with lift the flap pages. Encourage your child to lift the flap and predict what might happen next.
- Cars and Trains. It’s best to choose toys that don’t do all the ‘doing’ for your child. This encourages them get involved in playing. Encourage your child to make noises as they play like ‘choo choo’
- Play Kitchens and Food. Role playing what happens in a kitchen will encourage your child to use verbs. As they play with the food they will understand and use concepts like ‘in’ ‘on’ and ‘under’. I am a big fan of the Melissa and Doug Shopping Trolley, Le Toy Van Kitchen and the Goki wooden lollipops.
- Dolls Houses. It’s easy to memorise words but not know how to use them functionally. Having a dolls house will encourage your child to figure out how to use words around the dolls and their living, functionally. Below is Sweetheart Cottage from Le Toy Van and Melissa and Doug’s Doorbell House.
- Tools and Tool Sets. As your child gets engrossed in playing, they will start expressing verbally what they are doing. These chunky wooden ones from Small Foot Designs are lovely for little hands to hold and use.
- Role Play outfits and accessories can aid your child’s cognitive development as they reenact what they see around them. Melissa and Doug make some really lovely, top quality costumes that suit boys and girls, and the Le Toy Van Doctor’s Set is one of my best selling toys.
- Art – This can be a huge language stimulation tool. Here’s two sets that I’d recommend from Djeco.
- Animal and Farm Sets. Making animal sounds has been linked with speech development and language. Try getting ones that don’t have the animals making the noises for you. I love this Noah’s Ark from Le Toy Van.
- Dress up Puzzles. These types of puzzles help your child verbalise items of clothing and body parts. Melissa and Doug make gorgeous wooden magnetic dolls that come with a variety of clothes. Their names are Abby, Emma and Billy!
From my research it appears that most speech therapists are encouraging children to spend less time in front of screens or with battery operated toys. I hope this blog has got you thinking about the toys you already have that may encourage language development and perhaps help you choose a few new ones!