Think speech therapy toys have to be drab? No way! Toys for toddlers with speech delays are easy to find, and some you may already have hanging out in your child’s room. From pretend play objects to ball pits and tunnels, today’s post will sum up all of the ways you can keep your child entertained while boosting their speech and language skills. So, let’s dive in.
Speech and Language Delays in Toddlers
Many toddlers can experience speech and language delays for a multitude of reasons. A speech delay is when a child has difficulty formulating words to speak.
A language delay, on the other hand, describes a child who may, or may not, have difficulty speaking, but also, cannot fully comprehend what is being spoken to them. This may manifest as the child not following simple directions or piecing together words that don’t quite make sense.
Doctors may become concerned about speech and language delays as soon as 12 months if your child isn’t babbling, pointing or gesturing. It is important that you contact your doctor if your child hasn’t quite met the language milestones for his or her age by 12 months; the earlier intervention is received, the better!
Do Toddlers With Speech Delays Catch Up?
Thankfully, many toddlers with speech delays go on to catch up with their peers, however, that often happens when early intervention is implemented. Still, some children are referred to as “late bloomers” meaning that though they fell behind on milestones in the past, they were able to catch up with their peers by 18-30 months.
What Toys Can Help With Speech?
Best Toys For Toddlers With Speech Delays
While there are a whole host of activities you can engage in with your child to bolster their speech and development, finding toys that support language and communication is one of the most entertaining of the methods out there.
So, what are some of the best toys to help toddlers with speech and language delays? Whether you are seeking best age appropriate toys for 6 month old to 1 year or something for children that are a bit older, we’ve got you covered!
Check out the following types of toys that can help your toddler grow leaps and bounds in the world of speech and language development:
Manipulatives come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can be great for building language skills. Counting Bears are a great example of this type of toy and can be used for most anything including stacking, sorting, learning positional phrases, counting, naming colors, and so much more!
Both boys and girls will love construction toys and will benefit from the vocabulary boost they’ll get when you engage in this sort of play with them. Construction vehicles, building blocks, Magna-Tiles, and more fall into the category of construction.
If your child is two years or older then there’s no doubt that they love pretend play items. Load up your kiddos room with the typical toddler bedroom essentials and also with fake food, baby dolls, dollhouses, trains, kitchen sets, dinosaurs, safari or farm animals, and whatever else floats your child’s boat. As always, make sure you are playing too, as this is what works to boost your child’s language skills.
Sensory play comes in all different shapes and sizes. Allow your kiddo to explore with colored water or let them have a ball with rice and scoops. Introduce vocabulary words to your kiddo like “scoop”, “dump”, squeeze”, “dive” and “swim” as they play.
Note: Be very cautious what you give your child for sensory playtime and make sure that your child is supervised at all times, especially when handling items that can be choked on.
Gross Motor Activities
Don’t think physical activity and speech therapy are related? Think again! By getting your child up and moving you not only stimulate their body but also their brains as you verbalize their actions as they perform them. “Run”, “skip”, “hop”, “crawl”, and “bounce” are all great vocabulary words to use while your kid is on the go!
Now, we’re going to let you in on a little secret. You actually don’t have to buy any toys at all to stimulate your child’s speech and language development. The beauty of nature is all around us… use language as a means to highlight the beauty of everyday life!
10 Toys That Promote Speech and Language Development
Toys That Help With Speech Delay
The following are toys that help with speech delay split into age groups.
Speech Therapy Toys For 1 Year Old – Speech Therapy Toys For Early Intervention
iPlay, iLearn Baby Stacking Toys: We love nesting cups of all types for toddlers because they lend themselves to so many possibilities. Count them, stack them up, knock them down, sort them into colors and more for endless opportunities to grow your child’s vocabulary skills. What’s more is that this particular kit also comes with a shape sorter so you can begin to introduce the concepts of shapes early.
Note: Remember at this age, it isn’t as important to “drill” concepts like colors, numbers, and shapes, but rather, to introduce them. Hence this is a great toy to help get started!
B. Toys One Two Squeeze Baby Blocks: Similar to nesting blocks, building blocks also lend themselves to plenty of opportunities to explore language. Introduce words like “tall”, “fall” or “uh-oh” when you knock the blocks over.
Toys to Help With Speech 2 Year Old
Mr. Potato Head Silly Suitcase Parts and Pieces Toddler Toy: Surely you remember Mr. Potato Head from your younger years, right? We certainly do. Mr. Potato Head is still around today, offering plenty of fun vocabulary opportunities for your two-year-old. As your toddler puts each body part on Mr. Potato Head’s body, be sure to name those parts as they go. You can also name the colors of each body part as well as name any accessories Mr. Potato Head comes with.
Melissa & Doug Service Station Parking Garage: This Melissa & Doug favorite is awesome for speech therapy because it lends itself to so many vocabulary words while providing your child with a fun and entertaining experience they’ll keep coming back to. Practice words like “up”, “down”, “clean”, “barrier”, “wash” and more to increase language skills.
Melissa & Doug Felt Food Sandwich Play Food Set: What two-year-old doesn’t like to play pretend? We don’t know of any! Pull out this felt sandwich kit and have a ball as you name various components of the sandwich to your kiddo as well as color and the number of toppings you put on. They’ll love the relatable experience of making a sandwich.
Best Speech Therapy Toys For 3 Year Olds
Toys to Help With Speech 3 Year Old
Battat Animal Farm Playset: Complete with farm animals and a farmer, this lovely barn set is perfect for acquiring new language skills. Name each animal and its corresponding sound while allowing the farmer to take care of the animals in varying ways. Feel free to count the animals, identify their colors, as well as what these animals would eat in the real world. There are many ways to make this barn come to life while also boosting your child’s communication skills.
Ball Pit, Play Tent and Tunnels for Kids: Want to get your kiddo up and moving while you work on language skills? That’s a great idea! By allowing your child to get up and move, you can encourage gross motor development while also introducing your child to words like “run”, “crawl”, “hop”, “jump”, and “throw”. This ball pit comes with a tent, tunnel, and multicolored balls for endless opportunities for language development!
Yeonha Toys Pull Back Vehicles: Both boys and girls will love these multicolored pull back vehicles. With several different vehicle types, you can begin to introduce your child to words like “excavator”, “dump truck”, “racecar”, and more. Then, pull the vehicles back and let them “go fast”! All of these words are excellent to use to help build preschool vocabulary.
Bonus For Threes – Learning Resources New Sprouts Munch It! Pretend Play Food: Imaginative play is a fun and relatable experience for preschoolers, and playing with pretend breakfast food is sure to please. Equipped with pretend cereal, muffins, toast, cookies, fresh fruit, and more, you’ll have ample opportunity to name and categorize foods that your child likely already consumes at home for a fun and educational learning experience.
Speech Therapy Toys For 4 Year Olds
Magna-Tiles 100-Piece Clear Colors Set: Creative and open-ended Magna-Tiles are the perfect addition to any four-year-old’s toy arsenal. Simply piece the tiles together and watch the magic happen! Build structures for your child’s toys to “sleep” in or create dramatic “skyscrapers” or “castles” to engage your child’s imagination. Build tall and then “collapse” your structures to start over. There’s so much you can do!
CUTE STONE Kids Gardening Tool Set – Got a little one who loves to help? Why not give them the tools they need to assist in the yard? Nature provides ample opportunity for learning and language development. Take advantage of it by allowing your child to help out in the yard using his or her own wheelbarrow and shovel. Identify “soil”, “roots”, “plants”, “insects”, and so much more while creating memories with your child they won’t soon forget.
How Can I Help My Toddler With Speech Delay?
How Can I Help My Toddler With His Speech at Home?
The following tips can be implemented at home and can help your toddler flourish in his or her verbal communications skills:
- Read to Your Child Daily – Make sure the stories you choose have a basic plot and are age-appropriate. Be sure to point out illustrations to your child and rephrase the text of the story in the language you think your child would better understand to help with engagement.
- Use Audio – We all know that too many screens can be detrimental to little ones, so why not utilize audio instead? Play educational videos over a Bluetooth speaker or play read-aloud stories out loud in your car to help bolster your child’s vocabulary and comprehension.
- Speak With Your Child Often – The more you interact with your child, the more words they’ll pick up and the more confident they’ll become when communicating. Ask questions, narrate what you are doing, and engage in conversation with your child often. Be sure to show patience and give your child ample time to respond to you.
- Play Often – Use the toys mentioned above as a means to create a fun environment that lends itself to learning all on its own.
- Intervene Early – Remember that the earlier your child receives intervention for speech and language delay, the better. Speak to a pediatrician as soon as possible if you suspect your child may be struggling with speech and language.
Many of the toys that speech therapists use are similar to those mentioned above, although every speech therapist will be different in the methods that they employ. For more tips, speak to your local pediatrician for tailored advice.
Speech and Language Intervention Doesn’t Have to Be Boring!
Use toys in fun and imaginative ways to get your child talking, learning, and building vocabulary. We hope this has given you additional ideas on how to help your child struggling with speech delays. Happy learning!