10 Toys That Promote Speech And Language Development

Posted by Patrick Enrile on


Children spend most of their time in play, helping them understand their environment and interact with people. Nothing beats toys that children can hold and share with others. Thinking of toys to buy for your children? Check these toys that are easily available in stores near you.

1. Activity Board (6 to 12 months)
Babies at this stage are developing their motor skills and are continuing to explore through their senses. They also start to learn cause and effect. An activity board allows babies to manipulate and see the effect of each touch and turn.

2. Shape Sorter (1 to 1 ½ years)
At this age, babies have increased problem solving and actions on objects. Suggested toys include shape sorters, stacking rings, and ball and hammer. Parents can use these for language stimulation as well.

3. Cooking Set (1 ½ to 2 years)
Children start to engage in pretend play. With the cooking set, a child can pretend to do familiar everyday actions directed towards themselves (e.g. baby is drinking from a cup). Parents are encouraged to play with their child by naming actions they do (info talk), pretending (e.g. “Let’s eat chicken,” Yummy!”), asking questions (e.g. “Where’s the spoon?”) and expanding verbal productions (e.g. “You said eat? Let’s eat yummy chicken!”).

4. Mr. Potato Head (1 ½ to 2 years)
This toy is great for teaching the concept of body parts and actions. The toy also encourages early pretend play like feeding Mr. Potato Head, putting it to sleep, or giving him a bath.

5. Doll House (2 to 3 years)
Building and fixing the doll house encourages varied play combinations, a skill expected of 2-3 year old children. Children at this age show varied actions and use varied phrases and sentence combinations (e.g. “I put chair,” “Boy get milk”).

6. Doctor Set (2 to 3 years)
Children start to pretend using less-familiar events and take on more roles. A trip to the doctor is one memorable activity that you can recreate with toys. Actions done are more complex and varied (e.g. go to the doctor, get a check up, go home) and role reversals are common (e.g. “I’m the doctor and you’re the patient”).

7. Blocks (3 to 4years)
Blocks are open-ended toys that will lend for imaginative play. Children can use these to make houses, farms, vehicles, and more to create scenes for their play.

8. Action Figures (3 to 4 years)
Children are now exposed to more roles. They enjoy play that involves characters they see in the community (e.g. doctor, pilot) and on TV (e.g. superheroes). They also create dialogues while playing with it.

9. Art Materials (4 to 5 years)
Children mainly use language to set scenes. Paint, crayons, clay, glue, and other materials can pave the way for any theme or character that the child may want to use.

10. Board Games (5 years and above)
Since children are now entering the school age, they enjoy games that will challenge and hone their thinking. Board games such as Snakes and Ladders, Cadoo, Scrabble, Candyland, etc. are recommended. These games also promote good social interaction.


• Cohen, E. (2018, January 23). Learning Language Through Play • Tandem Speech Therapy, Austin, TX. Retrieved from https://www.tandemspeechtherapy.com/2018/01/04/learning-language-through-play/
• “Age-by-Age Guide to Toys!” Parents, 13 Dec. 2017, www.parents.com/fun/toys/kid-toys/toys-for-all-ages/.
• Westby, C. (1980). Assessment of Cognitive and Language Abilities Through Play. Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 11(3), p.154

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