Best Toys for Toddlers with Speech Delays
Parents, are you are looking for a toy that will help your child’s language development improve, then the toys on this list should do the trick. We’ve asked the speech therapists at Therapy Works Together to list the best toys for toddlers with speech delays that they recommend to parents everyday and have the best results in eliciting sounds, words, phrases and social interaction!
The most important reason parents with a speech delayed toddler are getting these results is that they are playing with their toddler and not leaving the child to play on their own. And in fact, the biggest tip we can give parents is not which toys to buy but how to use the toys they already have. Read on to learn how to use the toys you have for your toddler with a speech delay.
Best Toys for Toddlers with Speech Delays
- Toys without batteries
- Those that follow your child’s interests
- Toys that do more than 1 thing
- Active toys
- Toys that spark imagination/creativity
Your child is developing skills from playing with you or another person. When they are engaged in a hands-on activity, such as active play on the floor instead of watching TV or pressing buttons on battery operated toys, they’re learning critical thinking and problem solving abilities. If you find yourself wanting to buy new “shiny” things for your speech delayed toddler right now because everyone else seems too busy doing so then we encourage to hold back and try to look in your child’s toy box to see how you can repurpose the toys you already have.
Blocks For Toddlers with a Speech Delay
Blocks are some of the best toys for toddlers with speech delays that everyone likely already has in their home and they are a classic with toddlers everywhere. You can also use boxes, plastic cups/bowls or other stackable items. In fact, you can use an old set of tupperware with a cover that can open so you can hide small animals/characters in them.
How Can Parents Use Blocks with their Late Talking Toddler
Parents can practice teaching their child following directions by telling them what and where to put different blocks. You can work on many concepts or types of words like “more,” “big,” “high,” “up,” fall,” “on,” and “over.”
Many kids like to stack them up very high and then knock them over, but they are having fun putting them back in the larger one. Parents can also teach their child size words, for example, “Get the big one,” or “That one is little.” Depending on what the target type of word that your child with a speech delay is learning, parents can emphasize it by stressing it and using it over and over again during play.
You can target learning how to answer Wh-questions (who, what, when, where, why) by build creations and talk about them. For example, you can talk about who who or what goes inside. Parents should remember that the first few times they play and target these words or concepts, they are only modeling them to their toddler with a speech delay but they should not expect them to repeat it.
Parents need to remember that play is not just what kids are doing to pass the time. There are many benefits and play is a time that a toddler or preschooler is learning. They are also developing socially, which means noticing social cues, listening, and taking another person’s perspective — key aspects to developing empathy.
During social and guided play, children are learning self-regulation as they follow norms and pay attention while experiencing feelings such as anticipation or frustration. Play is an opportunity to also teaches children how to set and change rules, and how to decide when to lead and when to follow. Self regulation is very important because when a child is regulated they are in a ready to learn state. A child who has a speech delay or is a late talker or has another speech or language issue may be frustrated and so not be in a ready to learn state.
RELATED: Speech Therapy Helps Late Talkers and Toddlers with Speech Delay.
Farms/Houses for Kids with a Speech Delay
Farms, houses or any other type of container you can use like an empty box (which is usually the best anyway) can be the best toys for late talking toddlers. These structures are great “containers” where a child’s imagination can grow and develop and so can their communication skills.
The speech therapists at therapy works together love using houses or barns in speech therapy for toddlers who are late talkers, coaching parents for how to use them at home to grow their skills. They are inherently a relevant, meaningful “category” for learning vocabulary.
- Teach Sounds – for kids that are not yet repeating words, work on animal sounds
- Teach Vocabulary – like animals, people who work on a farm, locations like upstairs/downstairs
- Teach Verbs – like walking, climbing, cooking, planting
- Teach Categories – what items go in which room (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen)
- Teach Following Directions – Put the cat in the house, put the yellow cat inside the house
RELATED: How Many Words Should My Child Have?
Follow Your Child’s Lead to Foster Imagination and Language Skills in Toddlers
At this age, children learn best when they are playing and this is their job at this age. When we let them take the lead and decide what is relevant and important to them, we can take the opportunity to guide learning. If we “force” them to use toys or activities we deem relevant or educational, their interest may decrease and you will have a toddler that does not want to learn.
Parents will have an easier time if they want to build learning into whatever their child is already interested in doing by following their lead. Toddlers learn faster and remember more from meaningful play in their natural environments.
The Best Toys for Toddlers with Speech Delays are Those that Get Them Moving
Have your kids been sitting around too much? Some of the best toys for late talking toddlers are those that get them up and moving. If parents can pair motor skills with language learning especially for kids that learn better when moving. Also, active children love to play and move so combining learning speech or language skills with moving around is an activity creates a perfect and meaningful language learning opportunity. You are also likely to see your child’s ability to learn and retain what they are learning more when they are moving around.
It has already been show through ample research that children need opportunities to move in class. Furthermore, memory and movement are linked, and the body can be used as a tool to improve learning. So the speech or language targets can be those related to movement or playing together. For example:
- Bounce the ball and say “bounce,”
- Add descriptive language like “high” or “fast”
- Work on turn taking, like “my turn, your turn”
- Follow directions like “jump in the sand”
Parents can also use music to help their child relax after a long day sitting in class. Turn the music on to start dancing and turn it off to stop. Target words like “on, off, stop, start, fast, slow, silly dance, more dance.” The possibilities are endless.
Some Toys for Toddlers with a Speech Delay are Not Toys at All
We’ve encouraged you to see at home that the best toys for late talking toddlers may already be what you have at home. So why do we say that some of the best toys are not toys at all? Because our speech therapists want to encourage you to think outside the box and be creative. You don’t need to get the best or newest toy. Just think about what your child needs to learn for speech and language development (ask your speech therapist) and then adapt it. Pots, pans, wooden spoons, cardboard boxes, homemade forts with blankets and pillows… can be the BEST toys for your child.
Therapy Works Together – Online Speech Therapy for Children and Adults
We care about every child and adult achieving their speech, language and communication goals. You can start speech therapy online now with a certified speech language therapist. We’ll discuss your personal needs, develop an individualized treatment plan, and schedule affordable online therapy sessions online at your convenience.