Top 10 Toys for Eliciting Speech and Language in Children


With all the snow and cold weather upon us in the start of February, I thought it would be a good idea to post some toys that are useful in promoting speech and language right at home:

  1. Nesting/Stacking toys: These toys are very useful for infants and toddlers. Not only do these toys last a long time but children are often very interested in these toys because they are highly interactive. Some language, cognitive, and other skills a toddler can learn from these types of toys include:
  • Prepositions concepts such as: in, out, under, above, below, in front, behind, on, off
  • Color concepts
  • Shape concepts
  • Size concepts such as big, bigger, biggest; tall, taller, tallest; small, smaller, smallest
  • Counting skills
  • Concepts of full and empty
  • Fine motor skills
  • Other activity idea: take a different toy such as a teddy bear and hide it under a cup and have your toddler find where the toy went
  1. Wooden Blocks: Every child should own a pair of wooden blocks. Blocks that come in all shapes, colors, and sizes are particularly useful to teach children important concepts. Some blocks come with numbers and letters on them as well and help  teach children the alphabet, and counting. Some language, cognitive, and other skills a toddler can learn by playing with blocks include:
  • Letter and number concepts
  • Number concepts
  • Color concepts
  • Shape Concepts
  • Cause & Effect relationships
  • Early Problem Solving: how to build the blocks in order for them not to fall
  • Cooperation and sharing in school settings
  1. Toy Phone: These toys are EXCELLENT for developing language and are low cost! This toys concept is perfect because as adults we talk on phones and use our language. Therefore, a phone is a great toy to promote these types of skills. Some of the skills that your toddler can learn from a toy phone include:
  • Social skills/ pretend play: You can use the play phone to practice speech and language. It can also be used to pretend to talk to all different people and language will be used during different pretend situations.
  • Turn taking: Often, when speaking on a telephone it is a back and forth conversation. Children will want to model this real life situation. Take advantage of this and have your child speak and then give you the phone to speak. In essence, they are learning turn taking skills.
  • Practice speech sounds/language: Sometimes children do not want to practice their sounds in the traditional articulation manner. Some children will find it more fun and engaging to speak/say their sounds through a phone. It may motivate a child and help them to practice
  1. Balls: Balls come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes. There are associated with sports and may be used to release energy and promote physical activity. Some concepts that can be learning while playing with balls include:
  • Verbs such as throw, roll, bounce, kick, hit, fast, slow etc.
  • Colors concepts (using different balls)
  • Size concepts: Big, medium, small,
  • Adjectives (tactile): such as bumpy, smooth, soft, hard, and rough (using various materials)
  • Gross motor/ motor planning skills
  • Social skills: rolling a ball between two people takes a lot of social skills. A child must be able to watch their friend, read their friends non verbal skills such as if he/she are ready to receive the ball (i.e. Gestures, eye contact, body language), and waiting patiently to receive the ball in return etc.
  1. Farm Set: The farm set is one of my favorite toys to use during therapy. Some concepts the farm set can teach includes:
  • Animal names and animal sounds
  • Basic concepts: using the animals and the barn, prepositional concepts (in, out, on, under, behind), first/second/last, colors, and size concepts (big/bigger/biggest etc.).
  • Answering WH questions: Answering who, what, where, when, and how while playing with the animals. An example of this includes: “Who is eating?” and “What sound does the pig make?”
  • Pragmatic skills: Turn taking can be used with the barn and animals. For instance, “ Can I play with the barn now?” or “May I have the sheep please?”
  1. Mr. Potato Head: Mr. Potato Head is a classic toy that can help teach endless speech and language skills. You can use Mr. Potato Head with toddlers and elementary school children in a variety of ways. Some concepts that Mr. Potato Head teaches include:
  • Body Parts: This is the most obvious skills because he comes with basic facial and body parts to help teach children. Also, it is important to teach a child that they have those facial/body parts as well. Point out to your child where a specific body part is on them and then use Mr. Potato Head to facilitate this concept
  • Clothing Items: Mr. Potato Head also comes with different clothing items and accessories. This is a good way to teach a child different articles of clothing such as pants, shirt, hat, earrings, and glasses etc.
  • Basic Concepts: In/out, colors, first/second/last, right/left, and over/under/bottom/top
  1. Cars/Trucks: This toy is one that all children should encounter and use despite their gender. Girls can use trains, cars, and trucks as well. Concepts that can be learned through cars and trucks include:
  • Basic Concepts: you can use cars to work on almost all basic concepts such as numbers, colors, counting, sizes, and propositional concepts such as in/on, under/over, up/down, and top/bottom etc.
  • Part whole relationships: Cars are great for teaching part whole relationships. You can work with your child on teaching parts of cars such as: wheels, window, doors etc.
  • Verbs and Adjectives: Cars are great for describing and actions words. Some examples include: Go, stop, fast, and slow
  • Social/Pragmatics Skills: Turn taking with friends while playing with cars. Practice saying “My turn” and “Can I have that car please?”
  1. Kitchen Set: There are an extensive amount of fake foods and kitchen items that help to facilitate tons of language. Some concepts that kitchen sets can teach include:
  • Vocabulary/labels: Foods, parts of a kitchen (microwave, stove, oven), and kitchenware (pot, spoon, knife, fork, plate)
  • Verbs: Actions words including cook, eat, drink, make, stir, and blend delicious
  • Adjectives: Descriptive words including hot, cold, sweet, sour, and delicious etc.
  1. Doll House: This toy is good for both genders. Children love to manipulate the dolls and compare them to spaces and rooms in their own homes. Some concepts that doll houses help to facilitate for speech and language include:
  • Functional objects: this includes all items in the home such as toilet, shower, bed, stove, microwave, couch etc.
  • Verbs: Action words such as sit, stand, run, walk, skip, go, and sleep etc.
  • Part/whole relationships: You can use the house and talk about the parts of the house in many different ways (e.g. walls, roof, floors, ceiling, windows etc.).
  • Basic concepts: almost all basic concepts can be used when playing with dollhouses. Concepts such as colors, prepositions (on, off, over under, behind, in front of, size concepts (big, small), counting, and shapes (windows, doors etc.)
  • Following directions: This can be used with varying levels of directions. You can start with simple 1-step commands and then as the child advances continue with 2-step commands.
  • Answering “Wh” questions: You can use any WH question and target vocabulary related to the home.
  • Social Skills/ Pragmatics: topic maintenance, eye contact, topic initiation, topic closure, sharing, and asking questions.
  1. Doctor Set: This kit is good because all children need to go to the doctor. This kit helps to make the doctor experience more fun and relatable. They are helpful to open up the creative mind and increase vocabulary. The doctor set can help teach children:
  • Vocabulary/ labels: Parents can target all the vocabulary that comes in a set such as band aids, shots, thermometer, and scrubs etc.
  • Basic Concepts: Prepositional concepts like up, off, down, and up
  • Feelings: You can target feelings such as sick and healthy.
  • Answering WH questions: “How do you give a shot?” and “Where do you put the stethoscope?” etc.
  • Social/Pragmatic Skills: Topic maintenance, asking questions, eye contact, sensing the other persons feelings


Top Toys & How They Can Support Speech & Language Development (Part One). (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s