According to speech therapists, toys that promote social interaction, foster imagination and teach new skills while introducing new sensory stimuli are great for speech therapy at home.
Tips for selecting toys for speech delayed toddlers
- Pick open ended toys
These are toys that can be used in different varieties of tasks, they do not have a beginning or an end. The toys make the child decide on how to play with them. These kinds of toys are mostly traditional.
- Escape the ABC’s and 123’s
If a child has speech delay, this option of ABC’s would not be on the top list of the best ways to handle such kids. Any educational toy would not be of great help to your child at the moment, in fact it may also lead to boredom to the child.
- Use movement toys
Even if it is movement indoors it will be helpful to the child. You can buy toys such as balls or maybe ride on toys, the toys must not be of specific purpose of moving but make sure the child is moving and having fun while making sounds.
- See the view outside
You can visit parks to see wild animals and make sure your child sees them. Point on the animals and name them repetitively and you can also imitate sounds produced by the animals. Let the child see cars and houses outside. Let the child also to be attending occasions where there are many people to be used to them.
- You are also a toy to your child
You may buy lots of toys to your child but maybe the child does not concentrate to the toys at times due to boredom. At times sing to your child, play with the ball while talking and congratulate them while they try to articulate words. Give your child time to respond to what you are doing. Tell them stories while trying to imitate the action about the story, talk in a funny voice, cuddle with them and make them feel entertained.
- Use gender equal toys
Get away the feeling of what inspires male and what inspires female kids. Try to pick toys that are suit for both girls and boys which you are sure that they are going to benefit. Let your boys play with trucks and also your boys play with baby dolls, you never know what they will become in future when they grow up.
- Minimize the use of batteries
You want your child to talk not the devices to talk so if you realize that your child is interested in such toys and is not imitating them, it’s a high time you set them aside and try another option to make you speechless toddler to talk. You can also remove the batteries from the toys and give them to your child to see whether they are going to produce the noises made by the toy since the toy isn’t talking at the moment.
Best toys for speech delayed toddlers
- Movement toys
When you are choosing bubbles, do not get the automatic ones so as to make your kid learn how to blow. Imitating blowing will make kids to imitate any kind of mouth movement.
Sometimes balloons may be hazardous to some children since they may chock your child while blowing them. While playing with a balloon the targeted words to be used are blow, up, throw, me, please, kick, hit etc.
While using the instruments the child gets out of boredom and matches while trying to utter some words. The kid feels like they are playing with other kids.
- Sit down activities
Kids love stacking them up high then knock them down while having fun then starting the process again. You can target words like ‘get a bigger one’, ’well done’, ’that one is too short’.
These toys sing songs or producing sounds when the necessary buttons is pressed. This makes kids have fun and sometimes they try to imitate what the toys are saying. There are also some toys that are set to repeat what the kid will be saying, this encourages the kid to talk more and more. However, once you find them to master the sounds or music made by the toys, remove the batteries.
- Early pretend
Get a lot of accessories to use such as spoons, cups, plates, plastic foods and baby toys. You can use words such as ‘feed the baby’, ‘wash the dishes’, ‘make the baby sleep’. You can also ask the kid to name the accessories they are using.
Gather a collection of toys and place them all in play houses for your kid. Make sure you create a view that your kid will feel attracted and make sure you get your kid’s favorite toys. Play houses makes kids imitate the activities done by their parents. The feeling makes them feel as if everything is set at their level.
The favorite plastic foods are the ones that can be cut with pretend knives, they have Velcro which makes the halves attached together again. They are mostly good for children who like performing very many actions at all times. Targeted words you can use to your child at this point are such as ‘give’, ‘cut’, ‘cook’. You should also us the names of the foods.
Try using books with most of its contents containing pictures at least in every page. If your child can tolerate as you read a story to them then you can try this often. If the child doesn’t tolerate you can just point out the pictures and name them and also give just a brief explanation of the objects in the picture and how they are used or where they are found. You can also try reading repetitive theme books to make your child remember the words you said and they can also try to articulate them.
Music could also help children realize that there is a difference between singing and talking. Try singing simple songs to your child and if they are attentive to listen give them time to imitate you as you sing. You can also put on songs containing videos that attract your child often. They are going to get entertained and they will also try to imitate.
- Cause and effect toys speech therapy
One of the things that you want your speech delayed kid to be doing is to understand that any word they say brings out a certain reaction. When you reinforce this thinking, they will be able to mention toys, foods or play things that they want so that you can deliver to them.
It can best be summarized by word A causes action B.
Say for example that the kid wants milk, they might either point on a glass or try to say the word ‘milk’. When they do so, be ready to reward them with the milk.
And well, there are some nice cause and effect toys that your speech therapist would recommend. We for example have the Leapfrog stack and tumble elephant. Anytime one of the rings is placed onto its trunk or a button is pressed on it, it will make some funny sound or sneeze out.
This proves to be an exciting game for your child. At the same time, it will sharpen their fine motor skills knowing very well that when they do something correctly, they are going to be rewarded with some sounds.