Christmas is just around the corner.
If you are still doing some shopping for your toddler, this blog post is here to help! Whether you have a child who is typically-developing or has a communication delay, these toys are a great addition to your child’s toy collection.
1. Play set
If you’re always on the hunt for toys, you’ll come to realise there are a huge variety of play sets. Kitchen play, construction/building, doctor’s, pet shop… you name it!
With play sets, your child is exposed to less familiar vocabulary such as stethoscope, spanner, tongs, cash register. Play sets also encourage pretend play, which develops other skills including imagination, visualisation and problem solving.
2. Mr. Potato Head
This is one of our personal favourites! You can get so creative with this, from naming the parts, to making silly potato heads. With many sets including Mrs. Potato head, you can also introduce pronouns (e.g., he, she, his, her).
There are also other play sets which include costumes for the potato heads which is again great for extending your child’s vocabulary, for example, in our set we have outfits for an explorer, diver, alien, surfer. We use this often in our therapy sessions, and the kids love it!
You must be thinking… bubbles?! Yes, bubbles! Speech Pathologists use bubbles in therapy to teach toddlers or children with delayed language the skill of requesting and commenting. Depending on your child’s level of communication, he/she can use gestures, or one to two words, such as: more, up, pop, more bubbles, bubbles gone etc. There are so many different types of bubbles and bubble blowers, even the most simple (and inexpensive) are loved by the little ones. Here are a selection of ours that we use in our therapy sessions.
4. Shape sorters
We’re sure many children have shape sorters but how about an interesting one like this? We like how it’s an unconventional shape sorter and you can use this toy to target verbs such as ‘stop’, ‘go’, fast, slow, ‘spin’.
Verbs are often overlooked when encouraging children’s language. We found this concrete mixer shape sorter at Target if you’re interested (maybe one of our next purchases!).
5. Bath toys
Many children love water play. And what’s even better is using bath time to make learning fun! You can encourage simple verbs and prepositions, such as: ‘splash’, ‘push’, ‘float’, ‘on’, ‘in’, and ‘under’.
You might be interested in our post coming up on water play – just in time for the Australian summer holidays!
6. Kinetic Sand
Kinetic Sand feels different to regular sand. It holds its shape a lot better, making it more interesting and fun (and a lot less messy, so it is suitable for inside play!). Like regular sand you can make different things with it, allowing children to develop a range of skills including fine motor, pretend play and language.
We use ours in our therapy sessions in lots of different ways, such as making dinosaur and space scenes and playing hide and find games.
We use balls quite frequently in our therapy sessions. There are many different textured balls some very soft which are great for inside play. It is important to choose the type of ball that is suitable for your child, depending on his motor skills, size etc. There are lots to do with balls, from playing early turn taking games, catching, kicking, hide and seek, or simply just rolling.
Not only can you encourage the use of verbs (catch, kick, push, stop, go), you can also encourage describing words (big, small/little, soft, round, colours). A ball pit is also a great addition!
9. Colouring supplies
This would be an ideal present this Christmas if your child is ready to sit at a table. We recommend parents to get some paper- based colouring supplies for their children rather than just using an iPad. While the iPad is a convenient tool, it does not allow children to develop some of the fine motor skills (e.g., pencil grip) that they will need at school.
Table-top activities also help children learn to learn to focus and attend to specific tasks for a short period, preparing them for school.
10. And last but not least… Books!
If you have not seen our other blog post “My Favourite (Tried and Tested!) Books for Toddlers/Young Children” please do. There are a variety of books We’ve recommended which are equally great as gifts.
As we were browsing, we found another gift set that we are absolutely stoked to share with all of you. It is also currently on half price in Big W!
There are no affiliate links in this post and we are not advertising any specific toys – just offering you some gift suggestions and how these types of toys can help your child’s language development through fun and play.
We hope you’ve found the perfect presents for your little ones.
Happy holidays, everyone!