Holiday Gifts That Promote Language Development in Your Preschooler
By Hallie Bulkin
The best way to work on speech, language and social skills in the preschool population is through play. If you have been following my blog posts you will notice a trend where I have shared some of my favorites toys, books and games to target speech and language skills. As you all head out this year to do your holiday shopping there are some toys and games you should consider for your preschooler. Below are 10 toys/games that I keep on hand at all times. These are a few of my favorite things…
- Mr. Potato Head. A few years ago I found this at Costco. A giant potato head family. This is great for talking about facial features, body parts and family (mommy, daddy, baby, etc). This one is great for working on language skills!
- Cars, Trucks, Trains & Planes. This is one of my favorites. Little girls and little boys love this toy! The bucket if filled with different color cars, trains and trucks that can be attached to each other. There are boats and airplanes, too. This toy is great to work on making requests (to help them attach the vehicles). I often model "go in" or "put it on" as I attach the vehicles with the child.
- Puppets on a Stick by Educational Insights. Another favorite! These puppets are like magic; they get any child to talk! The motion of the mouth helps us to work on speech sounds, language production and more! These are a must have.
- Felt Sandwich Set by Melissa & Doug. Not only is it fun to build sandwiches but they are a great addition to use with the puppets on a stick. Feeding the puppets is a fun activity for the preschoolers. We always get great language and laughs out of combining these into one activity.
- Stacking Nester by Haba. Nesting cups are always a fun time. You can put things in, take things out, stack up/on, knock down, etc. I personally keep small plastic animals (too big to swallow but smaller than usual sized) in a baggy to use with the nesting cups. Most of the children will turn the cups over & put animals on top. Others like to sort the animals in the different colored cups. The sky is the limit with this one. Let the language flow!
- Farm Animals. Larger farm animals in any capacity are fantastic! Early speech and language development can be focused on making the sounds of farm animals (A cow says…mooo) and then later asking, "what does a cow say?" while expecting the child to answer the "What question" with "moo." There is a lot of creative play that can be had among the farm animals as well.
- Magnetic Farm Hide & Seek Puzzle by Melissa & Doug. I love to use this for a variety of goals. You can name the animals, respond to "what do you see?" questions, talk about whats in front and behind the barn doors, locate all of the chicks that one of my preschoolers pointed out are in specific places on the puzzle, play "knock-knock, who's there?" while working on open/close. The sky is the limit with this Melissa & Doug puzzle. They make great toys and are hands down one of my favorite companies to buy from.
- Zingo by ThinkFun. For the older preschoolers this is a great game. You can have a lot of fun naming what you pick, taking turns, and matching pictured items. This game works on memory, focus and concentration which all preschoolers need.
- Pop Up Pirate by Tomy.
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? By University Games. If you have a preschooler you have most likely heard of the book, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?” As you read this book the following page reads, “I see a yellow duck looking at me” and so on and so forth. This is a GREAT book and I was SO excited to see they turned it into a game. My four year old clients LOVE to play the game and I LOVE to see them expand their responses to “what questions” using phrases that start with “ I see a ____.” This is one to add to your game room!
I hope that you find this gift ideas helpful. Feel free to share your ideas, favorite toys and/or ask questions about how to best use these toys & games with your preschooler! Happy Holidays!
Note: This post was first published on DCLadies.com