The Best Language Development Toys for Toddlers
Seeing your child hit developmental milestones is important. These can include smiling, babbling, crawling, taking their first steps, saying their first words, and beginning to string together short sentences made up of a few words. When your toddler does not seem to be reaching the developmental milestones centred around talking, it can be very concerning. You don’t want them to fall behind from such an early age, but you also may know what is still considered ‘normal’ in the spectrum of development for different children.
Our article will help you learn more about speech and language development in toddlers, what typical language development looks like, and ways you can help your toddler if their speech doesn’t seem to be developing as it should. We’ll specifically focus on some talking toys for toddlers and toys for speech therapy that you can use to help your toddler develop their speech in a developmentally appropriate manner—through play.
Should I Worry If My Toddler Isn’t Talking Yet?
If your toddler hasn’t started talking or isn’t saying more than a few words, you may be starting to worry. Every child develops at his or her own pace, so it is important not to use another child’s development as the baseline for your concerns about your child. That being said, there are some milestones your child should be hitting by certain ages. If they aren’t hitting these milestones, it may be a sign they have a speech delay.
This article from Healthline lays out some basic speech milestones children should hit by certain ages. By 18 months, most toddlers should start using simple, familiar words. These will likely include words they hear regularly, such as mama, dada, baby, or milk. By age 2, children should be able to use 25 words or more. They should start combining words in to two or more-word phrases by the time they are 2.5. By age 3, typically developing children will be using 200 words or more, asking for things by name, and getting easier and easier to understand.
If you’ve noticed that your child is not meeting these goals, it may be time to talk to your paediatrician. You can also review our suggestions for talking toys for toddlers and children to help kids talk to begin encouraging speech development at home.
What Can Cause Speech Delays in Toddlers?
If you think your toddler’s speech is delayed, there are different factors that may be causing the delay.
- Hearing problems: If children are experiencing a hearing issue and are not able to clearly hear the words or sounds that you are saying to them, it can have a huge impact on their speech. An audiologist can check a child’s hearing to confirm that this is not the reason for their speech delays.
- Oral impairments: Oral impairments can include issues with a toddler’s tongue or the roof or their mouth (palate) that can impact their ability to form different sounds.
- Shorter frenulum: The frenulum is the fold under our tongues. If the fold is too short, it can impact how much the tongue is able to move and limit the sounds it is able to produce.
- Troubles with coordination to produce sounds clearly: Sometimes the part of the brain that helps a child produce speech has an issue that can impact the child’s ability to achieve the necessary levels of coordination between their tongue, lips, and jaw to produce sounds.
KidsHealth outlines these different factors that can be responsible for speech delays in children. The article also includes information on how to get help from a speech-language pathologist to assess your child and determine the specific cause for their language delay. Using the information provided by the speech-language pathologist in addition to some speech therapy toys for toddlers can have a dramatic impact of your toddler’s language skills.
What Is A Late Talker?
A ‘late talker’ is a child who is otherwise developing normally, but is not reaching developmental milestones related to the production of speech. Children who are considered ‘late talkers’ are more likely to be male, may have been born prematurely, or may have a history of speech delays in the family.
While many people say that being a ‘late talker’ is not a huge concern, working with your child to encourage speech can be beneficial. Developing speech through play and language toys can be very engaging for toddlers, and won’t make them feel frustrated that they aren’t meeting your expectations. Language development toys for toddlers are ones that encourage them to interact with the toy, engage in role-playing, or perform other actions related to speech.
Do Toddlers with Speech Delays Catch Up?
Yes, toddlers with speech delays can, and often do, catch up with their peers. Studies indicate that at least 70% of toddlers who are considered a ‘late talker’ will have average language skills by the time they are ready to begin school. While they will have generally caught up with their speech, there are still a few areas you will want to keep an eye on and provide support for if your child had delayed speech as a toddler.
The areas you should continue to monitor and support through your child’s schooling include their vocabulary, grammar, writing, reading and listening comprehension, organization, social skills, and impulse-control skills.
If your child is showing signs of being a ‘late talker,’ early intervention is key in reducing the impact their speech delays will have on their future learning and development. Talk to your paediatrician, seek out intervention services, and continue working with your child to encourage speech and language skills at home. Talking to your child, reading with them frequently, and using language toys for toddlers are a few examples of little things you can do at home that can make a big difference in their speech.
What Kinds of Toys Encourage Language?
There is no set formula for what to look for in toys to help with speech delays. Many different types of talking toys for toddlers can be used to help your child develop their skills and increase their vocabulary. However, when selecting toys to encourage speech, there are a few general guidelines you should keep in mind.
First, look for more open-ended toys. These are toys that encourage creative play and aren’t designed to be used in just one way. When your child is encouraged to use their imagination and come up with different ways to play with a toy, it can help him or her produce new words. Many of the toys you played with as a child, that were less reliant on technology, are also a good place to start. Children can be very creative when building with blocks, driving cars or trucks around, or playing with a baby doll.
Another thing to look for when selecting toys to help toddlers talk is toys that your child can relate to and make a connection with. Look for toys or games that will encourage your child to role-play and engage in familiar activities with their toys. For example, your toddler is likely very familiar with the routine of getting dressed or sitting down at the table to eat a meal, so buying a baby doll with a few accessories can encourage him or her to re-enact these activities and use some of the words you use when performing these activities.
Some of the best language learning toys are ones that help children learn social skills, such as taking turns. Look for talking toys for toddlers that your child and another child (or you) can play with together that will help them work on these important social skills and develop their social-language vocabulary.
In many cases, but not all, looking for battery-free toys is a good idea. Battery-powered toys do too much of the work for your child, letting them sit back and not use try to use their language skills. For example, if they have a toy car that makes motor sounds, they don’t need to produce these sounds themselves as they make the car drive. If a doll they have talks to them as they play, they also aren’t necessarily going to start producing more words on their own.
Toys that Encourage Speech
Some speech development toys help children improve their skills by learning sounds for different words. These talking toys for toddlers can help toddlers learn the ways different words sound by hearing them, either through the toy talking or through parental interaction.
When looking for toys to encourage speech development, you want to find products that will be engaging and exciting for children. Choosing topics that they are more interested in can help them be more willing to try to produce the sounds themselves.
Here are a few different toys for speech development you can use to help your toddler focus on the sounds different words make.
Puzzles: Many matching puzzles can be a good resource for teaching children the sounds different words make. You may want to look for puzzles where your child needs to put together two different pieces of an image/subject to complete the puzzle or ones where they need to match the beginning sound to the image.
When working on a matching puzzle with your child, use a lot of modelling and language of your own. For example, if you match two pieces of a cow together, say something like, “Look, I made a cow. A cow says moo. Cows are black and white.” Your toddler is more likely to begin producing their own words when they hear you saying words.
Recordable toys: Recordable toys allow you (or another adult) to record a message to be played for a child and can be great tools to help toddlers talk. You may choose to record a familiar phrase or change the recording periodically to focus on different words or phrases you are working on with your toddler.
Toys for Speech Development
Open-ended toys are a popular type of speech toys for toddlers. These talking toys for toddlers can be used in numerous ways and can encourage your toddler to experiment with new and different words.
When looking for toys for speech development, choose exciting options that will keep your toddler engaged. Consider toys that your toddler could use to recreate familiar activities and events where they can incorporate some of the language they hear you using throughout the day.
Some great options to consider when selecting toys to encourage speech development in your toddler include:
Baby dolls: Whether your child is a girl or a boy, a baby doll can be a very beneficial speech therapy toy. As children play with their baby doll, they will likely begin to use more of the words you use with them. For example, when pretending to feed the doll, they could start to use words like spoon, bowl, open, milk, bottle, and so on.
Animal sets and stuffed animals: Most children love animals and are very interested in them. Animal sets and stuffed animals are among some of the best speech toys for toddlers. Toddlers can make the different sounds the animals make as they play, repeat the animal names, and engage in creative play with these sets.
Cars and trains: Toy cars and trains also offer up the possibility for lots of fun and speech development in your toddler. Toddlers will enjoy pushing the car around and making sounds to go with the movement, even if they aren’t forming words yet. You can encourage more language development by playing with them and talking about how you are pushing the car/train (forwards, backwards, fast, slow, up a hill, etc.) and asking them how they want the car or train to move.
Doctor kits: All children have been to the doctor and observed how they use their various tools and instruments to check on the patient’s health. Many children are intrigued by this and would enjoy performing their own ‘check ups’ for members of the family or their dolls and stuffed animals. A doctor kit is one of the toys that can help a 2-year-old start talking more. As they perform their ‘check-ups,’ you can encourage them to share what they are doing. Doctor kits can also help children learn the names of the different parts of the body as they perform these check-ups.
Character sets: Character sets that incorporate familiar characters from treasured stories can also be used to help your toddler develop their speech. Choosing first aid kits, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, bath toys, and more that feature beloved characters and animals can not only make it easier for you to get your toddler to let you brush their hair or give them a bath, but it can make them more engaged in the process. You can use the different components of the set to retell a familiar story or act out pieces of it as you get your child ready. Some great options you can use to encourage speech include this Newborn First Aid Kit, this Mother Goose Baby Wooden Hairbrush Set, and this Mother Goose Baby Grooming Kit.
With a cartoon design baby accessory – such as a baby hair brush or a kit per la cura del bambino – that will pique the interest of your child, they will be encouraged to make sounds to interact with you.
Choosing a few talking toys for toddlers that will talk to your child and model the use of language and different words/phrases can also be beneficial. However, you want to be careful to only choose a few electronic toys to ensure that your toddler still has plenty of time to be the one in charge of producing their own language for his or her toys.
Here are a few different talk toys you may want to consider:
Talking piggy bank: There are a few different talking piggy banks on the market. These can be engaging for children and can help them develop basic maths vocabulary. The piggy banks can help children learn to count to 10 since they will count as your child inserts the coins into the bank.
Sound effects puzzles: Sound effects puzzles are a good way to help your toddler learn and start to say the sounds different animals make. These puzzles will play the sound each animal makes when your toddler inserts it into the correct spot on the board.
Some toys for toddlers with speech delays are great for helping them develop their communication skills. When choosing toys to encourage communication, look for options that encourage cooperative play, role-playing, and taking turns. If you frequently host play dates or have other children over to play with your toddler, these would be good toys for them to use together. If you don’t typically have other children in your home, find some time to play with these toys alongside your toddler so they can still reap the benefits of having someone to play with and develop their communication and social skills.
Here are a few toys that can help with the development of communication skills in toddlers:
Play kitchens and play food sets: Toddlers love to mimic what they see their parents doing, and, chances are, they see you or someone else in your home cooking in the kitchen. With a play kitchen e play food set, toddlers can do so much and work on a variety of language skills. They can use words to describe the foods they are cooking and where they are cooking them, open a restaurant where they are serving you or others different foods, and so much more. All of these activities will encourage them to use new words to describe what they are doing.
Blocks: Building with blocks can be another very powerful activity to help toddlers develop their speech. They can talk about the different colour blocks they are using, the sizes of the blocks, and more. As they build, you can model using words like stacking, tower, up high, and knocked over. Building with blocks is definitely a good opportunity to encourage cooperative play between two toddlers.
Water tables: UN water table is a good outdoor toy that can be used for language development. As children play with the water, you can ask them questions about what is happening and model the use of different words, like pour, dump, wet, cold, splash, and so on.
Language Toys for Toddlers
You can also find toys that are geared specifically towards helping a toddler develop his or her language skills. These toys will encourage toddlers to learn and use new words to describe what is happening or what they are doing.
Sign language cards and books: Learning sign language can actually help babies and toddlers improve their language and vocabulary skills. Such sign language toys for toddlers can also help them find ways to express themselves as their verbal language skills are still developing.
Sign language cards and books: You can find numerous books and flash cards that will help you learn and teach your toddler basic signs. Pick a few words that are familiar and important to your toddler (such as more, milk, eat, all done, bath, diaper, etc.) to start with and then expand on what you teach them.
Stacking cups: Stacking cups can be a powerful speech learning toy. They can be used to teach positional words, such as under, in, next to, and in between. Use a small block or animal toy along with the cups to have your toddler identify where the toy is in relationship to one of the cups.
Best Toys for Speech Therapy: Talking Toys for Toddlers
If you ask a speech therapist which talking toys for toddlers they recommend using, many of their recommendations will be similar to what we shared above. The most important thing is to get your child interacting with the toys and modelling language for them. That being said, there are a few other speech therapy toys and talking toys for toddlers you may want to consider based on the age of your child.
Speech Therapy Toys for Babies
While most babies won’t be producing words on their own yet, now is the time to lay the foundation for speech. Talking to your baby all the time is important. The more language they hear, they better. Narrate your day, tell them what you are doing, why you are doing it, sing to them, ask them questions (even though they won’t answer), and so on.
Below are a few toys you can pick up to help your baby develop their language skills:
Books: Reading to children from an early age is important for so many reasons. When babies hear you read a book, they start to learn language patterns and are exposed to so many different words that they may not hear otherwise. Choose a variety of books and visit the library frequently to expose your baby to more language and vocabulary.
Hand puppets: Hand puppets are a good option when you’re looking for talking toys for babies. You can use the hand puppets to talk to your baby as you would otherwise, but seeing the colorful animal with a moving mouth may make the experience more exciting and engaging for your baby. You can continue using the hand puppets as your child grows older, and even encourage them to start making the puppet talk on their own.
Speech Therapy Toys for One Year-Olds
Continuing to read and talk to your 1-year-old remains important. Below are some other speech learning toys you can begin to incorporate around this age:
Touch and feel picture cards: Touch and feel picture cards are a great way to help your toddler learn and experiment with words. These picture cards have different textures that you can describe as your child feels and compares the differences between the cards.
Toy microphone: Echo microphones are very exciting to children. They can hear the sounds and the words they made echoed back, which can encourage them to make new sounds and try out new words.
Giocattoli di logopedia per bambini di due anni
I giocattoli di logopedia per aiutare un discorso di 2 anni saranno incentrati sull'incoraggiamento a usare più parole. Di nuovo, vorrai continuare a parlare e leggere a tuo figlio quando avrà 2 anni; ciò continua a rimanere essenziale durante tutto il loro sviluppo.
Di seguito sono riportati alcuni giocattoli per lo sviluppo del linguaggio che puoi utilizzare con un bambino di 2 anni:
Schede di logopedia: Schede di logopedia può essere usato per aiutare il tuo bambino a imparare e usare nuove parole del vocabolario. Puoi trovare diversi tipi di carte, ma molte si concentrano sull'apprendimento di emozioni, verbi o preposizioni. Quando usi le carte con il tuo bambino, prova a recitare oa fargli recitare ogni parola per aiutarlo a comprendere più a fondo cosa significa.
Set di ordinamento e conteggio del colore: Il conteggio e l'ordinamento degli oggetti possono anche essere giocattoli parlanti utili per i bambini piccoli e per la logopedia. Set di ordinamento e conteggio del colore includi tutti i pezzi di cui avrai bisogno per aiutare il tuo bambino a lavorare su queste abilità. Puoi lavorare insieme per contare elementi, raggruppare elementi simili o abbinare elementi simili insieme. Mentre lavori su queste abilità, modella parole di vocabolario diverse per il tuo bambino e parla di quello che stai facendo.
Giochi per aiutare il tuo bambino a parlare
Alcuni giochi possono essere utilizzati anche per incoraggiare il tuo bambino a parlare e sviluppare il suo linguaggio. Abbiamo condiviso alcune idee di seguito per aiutarti a iniziare:
Peekaboo è un gioco senza tempo che può essere giocato in molti modi diversi. Tu o il tuo bambino potete nascondervi dietro le vostre mani, sotto una coperta o dietro l'angolo. La persona che si nasconde quindi salta fuori (o muove le mani / la coperta) e dice "peekaboo!"
Come il peekaboo può aiutare con lo sviluppo del linguaggio: Peekaboo può essere giocato a partire da bambini molto piccoli. Quando i neonati ei bambini piccoli giocano a cucù, iniziano a imparare molto sui modelli di discorso e sullo sviluppo del linguaggio. Possono imparare a prestare attenzione, imitare azioni, fare a turno e fare gesti. Tutte queste sono abilità importanti di cui avranno bisogno man mano che si sviluppano e sono pronte per avere conversazioni reali.
Giochi con le dita
I fingerplays sono brevi rime che vengono recitate usando le dita e le mani. Molte volte si canta un fingerplay, altre volte si pronuncia. Esempi di giochi con le dita che piacciono ai bambini includono "Where is Thumbkin", "Open, Shut Them", "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" e "Five Little Monkeys".
In che modo i giochi con le dita possono aiutare con lo sviluppo del linguaggio: Quando i bambini eseguono (o addirittura ti guardano mentre esegui) i movimenti di un gioco con le dita, creano associazioni tra le parole e il loro significato. Ad esempio, nel gioco con le dita "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider", i bambini inizieranno a capire cosa significa in alto mentre loro (o tu) muovono le dita verso l'alto quando il ragno "si arrampica sul beccuccio dell'acqua". Possono quindi iniziare a dire le parole al gioco con le dita mentre eseguono i movimenti o iniziare ad applicare il vocabolario che hanno imparato ad altre situazioni.
I Spy è un altro gioco divertente che può aiutare a incoraggiare lo sviluppo del linguaggio nei bambini piccoli. Per giocare a I Spy, scegli qualcosa nella stanza e usi un attributo dell'oggetto per descriverlo. Tuo figlio deve quindi indovinare a cosa stai pensando nominando possibili oggetti che potrebbero essere. Ad esempio, se stai pensando alla coperta rossa sul tuo divano, potresti dire: "Vedo qualcosa di rosso". Il tuo bambino potrebbe quindi indovinare altri oggetti rossi nella stanza per vedere se riesce a capire a quale oggetto stavi pensando.
Come I Spy può aiutare con lo sviluppo del linguaggio: Quando giochi a I Spy con i tuoi figli, inizieranno a usare parole del vocabolario per nominare i diversi oggetti nella stanza che potrebbero corrispondere all'attributo che hai scelto. Se tuo figlio non ha il vocabolario per nominare questi oggetti, potresti chiedere a lui o lei di portarteli, e poi potresti nominare l'oggetto e dire se era quello a cui stavi pensando. Man mano che i bambini acquisiscono familiarità con il gioco e aumentano un po 'il loro vocabolario, potresti anche provare a cambiare ruolo nel gioco e lasciare che sia il tuo bambino a "spiare" qualcosa nella stanza.
Suggerimenti per sviluppare il linguaggio dei bambini
Se il tuo bambino non raggiunge le pietre miliari per lo sviluppo del linguaggio, incorporare l'uso di giocattoli e giochi per parlare può avere un enorme impatto sulla sua capacità di produrre linguaggio. Ecco alcuni altri suggerimenti che puoi utilizzare anche per aiutare tuo figlio a parlare di più:
- Parla a tuo figlio di tutto ciò che stai facendo.
- Leggere libri insieme ogni giorno.
- Ascolta storie e canzoni in macchina.
- Poni a tuo figlio domande su ciò che sta facendo o con cui sta giocando.
- Guarda tuo figlio mentre parla (o balbetta).
- Incoraggia tuo figlio quando cerca di parlare, anche se le sue parole non sono chiare.
- Chiedi a tuo figlio di indicare diversi oggetti o parti del corpo che hai nominato.
- Limita il tempo davanti allo schermo e dai a tuo figlio più tempo per giocare con i suoi giocattoli o leggere libri.
- Usa sempre nuove parole.
- Usa parole descrittive per parlare dell'aspetto, dei suoni, degli odori, dei gusti o delle sensazioni di qualcosa.
- Aggiungi alle parole che il tuo bambino usa per creare una frase più completa.
- Fingi di parlare al telefono e poi passa il telefono a tuo figlio per continuare la conversazione con la persona immaginaria dall'altra parte.
- Programma le date di gioco in modo che il tuo bambino possa interagire e comunicare con altri bambini della loro età.
Può essere preoccupante quando il discorso di tuo figlio non è dove deve essere. Tuttavia, incorporando giocattoli per parlare per bambini e giochi per aiutare il tuo bambino a parlare, rimarrai colpito dai guadagni che sono in grado di ottenere in un breve lasso di tempo. Se sei interessato a leggere di più sui ritardi nello sviluppo nei bambini piccoli, questo articolo di WebMD include alcune informazioni utili sui ritardi linguistici e di linguaggio, nonché alcune cose che puoi fare con il tuo bambino per superare i ritardi.
Lavorare con i tuoi figli sulle loro abilità linguistiche e linguistiche è importante e può essere molto utile. Tuttavia, se sospetti che ci sia un problema, dovresti anche consultare il tuo pediatra e incontrare un patologo del linguaggio o un gruppo di intervento precoce nelle vicinanze. Prima vengono rilevati ritardi nel linguaggio e inizia l'intervento, minore sarà l'impatto che avranno su tuo figlio man mano che crescerà.