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5 toys to help promote language development in young children

Toys to help promote language development in young children

By Courtney Fagan M.S. CF-SLP

Mr. Potato Head

Mr. Potato head offers so many great opportunities to model language for your little ones. Some core words to work on when playing with Mr. Potato head are “on, off, put, big, little, in, out”. It is a great toy to use to teach different body parts and “wh” questions (i.e. where do the ears go? what does Mr. Potato need to see/hear/eat/walk?)


Blocks are a great resource to enhance your child’s language and play skills (like turn-taking). Some concepts to work on with blocks are preposition words and phrases (i.e. on the top, under, on the bottom, next to, behind, in front of). Talk with your child about how tall or how short your stack is, as well as the different colors and shapes! You can also work on requesting for more blocks.Blocks

Toy Cars

Cars are great for targeting joint attention! There are so many different fun cars that will light up, flip, make noise, and more. You can use “ready, set, go” and make the car “CRASH” into the wall. So many kids love this and stay engaged. You can also target the concept of “fast” and “slow”. If you have different vehicles, it is great to work on the sounds that they make and talk about where you would find them and what they look like. Toy cars

Farm Sets

Farm sets offer endless language opportunities during play! From animal names and noises to action words, there is so much to work on. Have the child request for each animal and practice saying the name of it and the sound it makes. You can also target grammar by modeling your animals walking, jumping, hopping, etc. while you label what they are doing (i.e. “walk, walk, walk” “The pig is walking”). You can target words like “open” and “close” with the farm doors, as well as greetings and farewells as your animal enters the farm doors and comes back out.Farm Set


There is so much language and creativity to come out of playing with playdough. It also offers great sensory benefits that keep many children engaged. You can sit next to or across from the child as you use playdough and narrate what you are doing (this is referred to as self-talk) or narrate what the child is doing (this is referred to as parallel play). This creates opportunity for the child to imitate various words and actions. For example, you can take your playdough and roll it into a ball and say “roll, roll, roll” and then pause to see if your child repeats the words. You can also use the playdough toys to model different actions (i.e. cut, roll, pull, push or squish).

About the author

I have been working in the speech-language field since 2007. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Florida in 2006, and my masters from University of South Florida in 2009. I have worked in the school system, hospital, independent clinic, and home health settings. I decided to leave the hospital to work for myself, because I was frustrated with the amount of children required for me to see daily. Starting my own company has allowed me time to adequately prepare for each of my patients so that I can serve them and their families in the best way possible. Every child is so different, and I can now give them the time they need. I myself was in speech therapy as a child and know what it feels like not to be understood. It is my passion to help every child reach their fullest potential in the area of communication. There is nothing more fulfilling than hearing a child tell their parents they love them for the first time! I would be grateful to be a part of your child’s journey.