Stuck for Christmas presents?
I’ve come up with a list of toys that are great to encourage language if your child is between 2 and 5 years old. Obviously you will have to adapt the rules according to their age.
All for under a tenner. And no batteries required!
There’s just one catch to these toys….
You’ve got to sit down and play with them with your child – shock, horror! The best Christmas present you can give your child is to pledge to spend 15 minutes a day uninterrupted play on the floor with them. No phones, no texting, checking facebook or watching telly whilst you’re doing it. Just pure play, you and them, uninterrupted, following their lead.
PS These games are gender neutral because nothing pees me off more than labelling toys for boys or girls.
So, in no particular order.....
I had to have a big think about which Orchard toys game to include because they are my absolute favourite to use in therapy sessions. They are great for encouraging turn-taking skills, sharing, following directions etc. I like to ask them which one they want, then give them the wrong one, just to see what they will say….
#2 Crazy Chefs
Another firm favourite of mine, because you can encourage pronouns with this one “she needs the prawns, he needs the pizza base.” “I’m giving the noodles to him, and the pineapple to her.”
Growing plants from seeds is a great sensory experience and any activity like this helps the child sequence their language (“first we put soil in the pot, then we made a hole and put the seed in. Last of all, we watered the soil and waited for the plant to grow.”
#4 Tea Set
You can’t beat a good tea set for encouraging language development. Children need to hear language repeated over and over and here’s only so many times you can make a real cup of tea for daddy. But with pretend play, you can make a cup of tea for daddy, mummy, monkey, dolly, dinosaur. You can “stir the tea” “add some milk” it can be “too hot” “too cold”
Kids love interlocking puzzles and these are easy two piece ones for little fingers. After object and action words, children need describing words and this is a perfect starting place.
You can’t beat playdough – another great activity for introducing new vocabulary; “rolling, cutting, squeezing, flattening, molding”
#7 Tummy Ache
My all-time favourite game when I was growing up – yes it’s that old! I use this game as a reward for speech sound homework. They say a sound/word and they get a piece of food for their plate. They love shouting out “tummy ache” - which is great if you are working on ‘k’ or ‘t’!
An oldie yet a goodie! This farm yard scene opens up a whole possibility of story-telling, or following instructions – can you put the cow next to the horse? Can you put the sheep in the barn?
Every speech and language therapist has a tube of bubbles in their bag – they are fun and so versatile in developing language. You can ask them if they are going to blow a bubble “up to the ceiling or down to the floor?” And for younger children “Big bubbles,” “tiny bubbles,” “lots of bubbles, “ “more bubbles “ “pop bubbles” “bubbles gone!” Only hold, on to the pot yourself because I guarantee you, the whole pot will end up on the floor! This one is a big refill, but use little pots for the same aforementioned reason!
#10 What's Up
Oops – this is 70p over a tenner, but it’s a great game to develop your child’s describing skills, though it’s better for older children, say 4 years and above if you’re going to play by the rules as younger children can’t help but blurt out what they see on the card! But you can adapt the game for younger children by just getting them to wear the band and you give them clues to see if they can guess who they are.