5 Toy & Gift Ideas to support early language

‘Tis the season of family, friends, and gifts! I wanted to share my gift ideas to support early language development! 

Melissa and Doug Fishing Set

This fishing set is a favorite in my speech room! It comes with ten fish that are numbered and different colors and sizes, which makes them so great to target colors, size concepts, describing, and more! You can also practice requesting (I want the fish), following directions (get the blue fish), and even fine motor skills!

Learning Resources Ice Cream Set

This toy is so simple and perfect to target a ton of language skills! It comes with ten different ice cream colors and two cones. I use this to work on labeling colors, location concepts (on top, under, off, up, down), turn-taking, and early pronouns (my turn, your turn, mine, you, me)! Plus, it is great to work on pretend play!

Playskool Mr. Potato Head

This toy is a classic for a reason! I have been using Mr. Potato Head with my early language learners for years and it never disappoints! The removable pieces allow you to work on following directions and location concepts (take out, put in, on top, off). It is also a fun way to work on labeling body parts and clothing items! I also use it to work on using 2- to 3-word utterances (I want ear/eyes, etc.). So many possibilities with this classic toy!

Melissa and Doug Hide and Seek Farm Puzzle

Okay, I know Melissa and Doug is already on this list, but their toys are just so good! This puzzle is no exception. The Hide and Seek Puzzle includes nine doors that open to reveal removable farm animal magnets. It is perfect for working on “open” and “close”, labeling and identifying farm animals, and imitating animal sounds! I also use it to target “my turn” and “your turn” as well as yes/no questions (Is this a cow? Is this a pig?). 

Wind-Up Toys

When I first discovered the magic of wind-up toys in grad school, I was hooked. You can use them to target so many language skills! I love using wind-up toys to work on asking for help (they can be challenging for little hands!), requesting “more”, and saying “go”! I also love to store them in a clear container so that I can practice requesting “open” along with all of our other language goals!

Those are my five gift/toy ideas for encouraging early language! What are your favorites? Let me know!

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