This is a question I get asked about time and time again in work as a speech and language therapist. Parents are always eager for recommendations of toys and games that can support speech and language development. Regardless of whether your child has exceptional language skills or might need a little help and encouragement, the following toys and games are great for developing listening, attention, language processing, and support vocabulary development. Many of these toys are relatively inexpensive and can be picked up in bookstores, toy shops, discount stores or online.
1. Orchard Toys Games
This British brand is creator of the infamous Shopping List game, along with a few of my other firm favourites including: Crazy Chefs, Tummy Ache and Greedy Gorilla. These toys are brilliant for developing vocabulary, attention, listening and turn taking. Orchard toys have a very extensive range from floor puzzles to matching and counting games which children of all ages absolutely love.
2. Things That Go Together Puzzles/What’s Wrong Cards
These types of puzzles come in a variety of brands put I particularly love the illustrations in the Creatives Things That Go Together Puzzle. This type of game is great for supporting early vocabulary development and word association skills. Similarly what’s wrong cards are great for extending vocabulary and give your child the opportunity to describe pictures and explain what’s wrong. Kids find these cards hilarious and will enjoy pointing out which pictures are silly. Again Creatives What’s Wrong Cards are a firm favourite for me in the clinic and at home.
3. Fishing Games
Whether at home or in the clinic, kids just love magnetic fishing games. These types of games are great for early attention skills, turn-taking, fine motor skills, understanding concepts like up and down, in and out and can be used with additional picture cards hidden under the play pieces to work on vocabulary and counting. The Djeco Fishing Game set is my personal favourite and is also great for working on under the sea vocabulary.
4. Pop Up Pirate
A classic game that kids will get hours of fun out of. The concept is simple, the outcome is predictable and yet they never tire of it! This game is fantastic for attention and concentration, following directions, turn-taking, colours and language concepts such as up/down/in/out. This game can be bought in most good toy stores and is available on Amazon.
5. Picture Snap Cards
Picture snap cards are great for talking about the concepts of same/different and can be used to play memory games and practice counting. These can be picked up very cheaply often in the Pound/Euro shop or Tesco. Orchard Toys also sell different variations of snap and memory pairing games.
None of these items are very expensive but will promise hours of fun for little ones. If you have any questions or would like some advice or additional activity ideas, you can email me; firstname.lastname@example.org.