Tips When Purchasing Toys for Your Speech/Language Delayed Child
By Kamini Naidoo 28/11/2017
It’s that time of the year again!!
If you are anything like me you are probably in panic mode thinking about what to get!!
I have had a number of parents ask me what toys I would recommend for their Speech or Language delayed child so hopefully this blog will take away some of the silly season stress, as I provide some tips on how to choose toys this season for your speech and language delayed child.
- Stay away from toys that require extensive set up and batteries
I found from experience that toys that require extensive set up are very seldom used and end up at the back of the toy cupboard ( including those purchased for therapy use at the office!) I also prefer toys without batteries, as I prefer the child to make the sounds rather than the toy! This encourages speech and language development. However there are some toys that require batteries that are exceptions e.g. microphones that record the child’s speech ( brilliant and motivating!) or camera’s.
- Choose toys that are open ended
These are toys that allow lots of imagination, can be used in different ways and give lots of scope for language e.g. play food, baby dolls, road mats, playdough, Mr Potato Head, blocks, building toys, dress ups.
Open ended toys result in open ended play and encourages children to explore and problem solve. Remember open ended toys can be as simple as sticks and cardboard boxes!
- Toys that get children moving
These toys help the speech and language delayed children follow directions while concentrating on another activity e.g. climbing. It is also great for conceptual language e.g. in , on through, jump high , fall over etc.
These toys include tunnels, forts, obstacle courses, small push bikes
- Outdoor toys
Outdoor toys can provide great sensory input and provide loads of language opportunities. Outdoor toys can be free ( your local park) or think about clam shell sand pits, water troughs or use your vegetable garden for sensory experience and play.
- Consider the age when buying for the child
When buying toys consider the needs of the child at that age e.g. babies do not need extravagant toys. You are your baby’s best toy for speech and language development. Think about mirrors ( great for imitation , turn taking during babbling) , black and white material books, sensory books, stacking cups , cause effect toys or shape sorters ( for the older baby/ toddler). As the child gets older, more open ended toys or toys that encourage turn taking can be purchased.
- Turn taking toys
The older child will benefit from learning rules of games and waiting their turn which is part of social language development. Games like Pop up Pirate with the surprise element are great for this.
Remember as well that we all get bored and novelty is key. Think about rotating the toys every few days to keep the element of surprise and novelty.
Hopefully these tips will reduce some of the stress during this time and to further reduce the stress Cornerstone Therapy will be giving away a toy package worth over $200 to one lucky family this 2017 Christmas season. Check out our Facebook page to enter.