Hello, everyone! I wanted to share some recommendations for toys that help support learning. As a practicing speech-language pathologist, I strive to incorporate activities that readily engage children in play and encourage language use. This list is by no means all-encompassing and not every child will want to play with each one of these toys. However, I'm confident that you can find at least 1 toy in the list below that your child will enjoy.
Check out these Great Toys that Support Learning:
This classic game from my childhood is a staple in my therapy sessions. A wide age range of individuals can play this game and it is great for practicing turn-taking. Also, Candy Land™ helped me to learn to lose and attempt to lose gracefully. As such, other children can learn to lose by playing Candy Land™ as well. With that being said, this may be easier said than done, ha. Candy Land™ also has recurring key language concepts including numbers, foods, and colors. You can also use the game to work on structured sentence production by describing whatever card you draw (i.e., I got 2 blues). You can look into the game more by clicking here.
The sorting crayons from Learning Resources™ are wonderful for working on colors, sorting and organizing, and labeling varied things (including foods and animals). I've found that the children I work with are almost universally interested in playing with these crayons and often want to play with them regularly. I recommend these to anybody looking for a great vehicle for learning. If you want to check out sorting crayons and other great resources from Learning Resources™, use my affiliate link by clicking here.
This seek-and-find memory game readily incorporates concepts including shapes, colors, things, and sizes. Seek-a-Boo!™ is a unique take on structured therapy that in my experience helps kids to be more actively engaged in structured language learning. You can also change up the game by hiding the cards over a wider area or turning off the lights and using flashlights to find the 'hidden' cards. If you're interested in this game, you can buy it here.
There are different varieties of puzzles out there, but I love the puzzles from Melissa & Doug™. Their puzzles are great for children to manipulate easily and come with options including environmental sounds such as vehicular or animal sounds. Puzzles also help to train more structured play and help to foster alternative learning opportunities. If you're interested in puzzles, check out the puzzles at Melissa & Doug™ using my affiliate link.
Mega Bloks™ offer an opportunity for children to play with larger blocks that don't present a choking hazard. I'm sure you all have heard of these as a play option, but I still feel it is worth mentioning here. Blocks can be used to teach stacking and develop motor skills. The varieties of colors and shapes along with the creative nature of building things with blocks all help to foster opportunities for creative thinking and language use. If interested in Mega Bloks™, you can buy them here.
Cars with City Playmat
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with cars as so many other kids were and are. The one problem with cars is that they are not always the best for facilitating language use and fostering language development. That's why something like a city playmat or something comparative is so helpful. With the addition of a playmat, there is naturally much more to talk about as your toy cars drive down streets, stop at stoplights, and pass varying buildings and places to see. The nice thing about these playmats is that they are easily stored as they often come as either puzzles or rugs. So, if you're interested, check out the playmat here and look out for toy cars at any local store near you.
This unique game is great for encouraging conversation and creativity within a board game format. The more creative you are the more fun you'll have in this unique role-playing game. Another nice thing about this game is that you can easily modify it for the age of the players so that people stay engaged and avoid getting frustrated. I encourage you to go to the No Thank You, Evil!™ website and check it out further as my description here doesn't truly do it justice.
From my experience, kids tend to really enjoy play food. Pretending to cook food, eat food, and prepare food is an engaging activity. Children love to imitate their parents and play food provides a golden opportunity to do just that. Give play food a shot, but don't forget the dishes, pots/pans, utensils, and other tools needed to enjoy the full play food experience. Check out one play food option by clicking here.
Toy animals are another toy option that inherently grabs most children's attention. Animals are fascinating to most, myself included. They provide an excellent opportunity for making animal sounds and talking about animals overall, so let out that roar or howl at the moon. If interested in buying some toy animals, check out an assortment of small animals by clicking here.
A potato head in all its forms provides a great opportunity for talking about parts of the body as well as engaging in conversational play with your potato head creations. Be as silly as you want and encourage creativity as you and your child build your own version of a potato head. From my research, one of the best places to look is at Hasbro™.
Thanks for reading this blog. I encourage you to give at least one of these toys a try and see how you can use it to help foster your child's speech-language development. If you enjoyed learning about these resources, you may also enjoy 10 Great YouTube Videos for Early Learning. You can also follow me on my Facebook page and Instagram.
Where to Find the Toys:
Melissa & Doug™: https://bit.ly/3xTOqL5
Mega Bloks™: https://amzn.to/3wXjQA9
City Playmat: https://amzn.to/3qrkPpS
No Thank You, Evil!™: http://www.nothankyouevil.com/
Play Food: https://amzn.to/3qsmoE6
Toy Animals: https://amzn.to/3vYZrtp