This is the time of year that you will find lots of lists of toys….lists of toys of the year, best toys for babies, best toys for teens etc. So, today I’m going to add one more to the list of lists.
Here are my 2017 favorite toys for enhancing speech and language skills
Toys that engage fine motor and visual skills while stimulating the sensory system are best for babies. No alphabet! No electronics!
- Busy box open/close toys (without lights and music….old school is good)
- Ball trackers
- Sensory play mats
- cloth books and books with textures
- wooden blocks
- shape sorters
If you are a follower of this blog, you know that I value quality play. Play is the means to increased problem solving, emotional development, social learning and language growth. The best toys are those that are simple (not 100s of pieces!), can be played on a variety of levels and engage the child’s imagination.
- Playmobile sets
- Fisher Price Little People play sets (love love love the Disney sets!!!)
- Play kitchens with dishes and food
- Dress up clothes
Admit it, we all love to play games. The classics like Candy Land, Connect Four, Trouble, Sorry and Uno never go out of style. Lesser known favorites such as Headbands, Mancala, and Sequence for Kids are great as well and should be a part of every game playing family’s collections. For those of you with multi-age players in your family, may I suggest:
- Ticket to Ride
- Tetris Link
- Garden Dice
- Apples to Apples
For younger players, I love all of the games by Orchard Toys. My clients like them because they are colorful, simple and different. Their favorites are Pizza, Pizza! and Rocket Game. All of these products have an educational component (but don’t tell your kids that!)
And finally, construction toys are always great for problem solving, fine motor, creative thinking and social engagement. You can never go wrong with Legos, but consider plain wooden blocks, K’nex and Zoobs. For kiddos with motor and coordination struggles, try magnetic blocks or Bristle blocks.
The common theme to all of the great learning toys? NO BATTERIES! Electronics and technology have their place and can be excellent learning tools. But they should never take the place of toys that involve playing in the floor , interacting with others, learning new words and figuring things out. Think about that when shopping for the munchkin on your list.