Three of the best toys for language development

By |2019-07-16T16:39:36+10:00May 22nd, 2019|Uncategorized|

Three of the best toys for language development

 

As speech pathologists we often get asked what the best toys are to support the language development of young children. Research shows that children don’t need high-tech complex toys to learn, traditional toys work best. Here are a few key toys that we go to because of the variety of skills that we can promote with them.

 

  1. Wooden blocks
  • They teach cause and effect
  • Provide opportunities to discuss colour and size concepts/vocabulary (blue block, big block)
  • Provide opportunities to teach shapes
  • Provide opportunities to teach descriptive language (spotty block, stripey block)
  • Provide location concepts/vocabulary (in, on, under, behind, next-to etc.)
  • Opportunities for imaginative play (the block could be a telephone or a spoon)
  • If playing with other children provides opportunities to develop play skills such as co-operative play and sharing.

 

  1. Balls
  • They teach cause and effect (if you kick it, it moves)
  • There is lots of opportunity to discuss action words (kicking, throwing, bouncing). Action words are key for early language development.
  • They support a wide range of social skills (turn-taking, non-verbal cues, facial expressions)
  • Provide location concepts/vocabulary (in, on, under, behind, next-to etc.)
  • Provide colour and size concepts/vocabulary (red ball, big ball)
  • Provide tactile concepts/vocabulary (hard, soft, bumpy)
  • Provide movement concepts/vocabulary (fast, slow)
  • They also encourage kids to support to get moving. Adding movement to play can also support learning.

 

  1. Wooden vehicles
  • Opportunities for teaching action words (pushing, driving)
  • Provide location concepts/vocabulary (in, on, under, behind, next-to etc.)
  • Provide movement concepts/vocabulary (fast, slow)
  • Provide opportunities to discuss colour and size concepts/vocabulary (blue car, big car)
  • Opportunities for creative play to make roads, bridges etc.

As you can see some of the best toys don’t involve batteries, flashing lights and noisy buttons. However, one key thing to remember is that toys are the tool, the parent or teacher facilitates the language.

 

Written by Jessica Cooper, Speech Pathologist, Southern Highlands Speech Pathology.