We all know kids develop at different ages but when you have a child diagnosed with a speech delay or any other delay you turn into a therapist really quick. When I first started doing research on speech and motor skills my oldest was only 18 months old. When I dug into the world of speech it truly changed how I looked at toys in general.
With all the brands and selections of toys out there these days it can be hard to narrow down the best ones for our children. When you become a new parent you might think all the toys that light up and make noise are cool and will entertain your child. But when you do some research you will find that it will take you back to the most basic of toys. I have made a list of my top toys for speech in toddlers and will write some pointers on how to use them.
Balls may seem really basic but have so many uses. You can use them for simple words. Get a bin or basic and you can use them to work on “in, out, roll, throw,” the list is endless and can go into the colors of the balls.
Cars are another simple but easy tool to use for speech. Think about driving them on the ground and turning, pushing, pulling them and naming the colors and parts of the car. Then add in some recycled products like paper towel rolls and you can make some tunnels and push tracks to add into the word development.
Mr. Potato Head:
This one by far is my favorite. Not only do both my boys LOVE “Toy Story” but he is a perfect toy for labeling body parts. Start with the basics and of “in, out, push, off, and on” Those are just the easy words of teaching your child how to put the pieces in and out. Then there is the body parts. Ears, mouth, nose, arms, ect. You can pick up a Mr. Potato Head really cheap online or you might get lucky at a thrift store but this is a must have.
I prefer blocks like the Melissa and Doug set that have the alphabet on one side plus different colors and shapes. When using the blocks I like to start with just the basics of stacking them on and off. Push to knock over or simple play. Then use them for labeling colors, designs, abcs. The more you can point to the different things on the blocks and get your child engaged in the play the better.
Finally I would like to mention the phone. This can be an old phone from the house, thrift store find, or a play phone. Not only do you have the hello goodbye aspect here with using the phone but you can use the buttons as well. Teaching push, numbers, on and off are all possible with a phone. We have the old fashioned toy phone from “Toy Story” with the string to pull it and love to use it for push and pull imitation as well as finger turning ect.
When shopping for toys in general I like to say less is more. Buy toys that get your child engaged in the play with you. You don’t want the toy doing all the play for your child, you want them to have to do the play. Avoid toys that need batteries or that have too much going on. Your child will benefit from the toys that they have to do more play with. And you will both have so much fun doing the play.