What’s in Your Toddler’s Toy Chest?

Over the last few years, research has suggested the importance of traditional toys over electronic toys that are advertised as educational. One study found that the use of traditional toys (puzzles, blocks, etc.) during play promoted language facilitating activities and increased parent-child interaction (Sosa, 2016). It’s important to provide your toddler with toys that will promote interaction, speech and language development, and overall cognitive development.  

Here Is A List of Toys that are Recommend for Toddlers Speech and Language Development:  

Bubbles: Bubbles are a great place to start for a child that demonstrates little interaction and joint attention. Bubbles can lead to increased engagement and joint attention and can motivate a toddler to communicate. You can work on having your child request “more” and work on early developing vowels and consonant sounds (e.g. “Pop!”). 

Shape Sorters: The shape sorter is a great way to work on problem solving skills, following directions, and a way to teach your child to advocate when they may need help. You can also work on identification of shapes, colors, and incorporating pronouns (in, on, under, etc.).  

Tunnels: You can always include tunnels during an obstacle course, which requires a child to follow directions containing basic concepts (e.g. “Go through the red tunnel.”). It can also be used to teach children comparative/superlatives (fast, faster, etc.), pronouns (“Where are YOU?”) and can also be included in a game of “Hide-and-Seek”.

Musical Instruments, Finger Play, Songs, and Books: Music and books are great for children of all ages, especially toddlers! Music often enhances a child’s engagement and participation. It’s beneficial for a child’s speech sound development, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, and expressive and receptive language skills. You can always incorporate music or fingerplay in your child’s everyday routine.  

Farm and Farm Animals: You can never go wrong with a farm and farm animals when playing with toddlers. Toddlers learn to label animals and vocalize animal sounds. It also reinforces the use of basic concepts (“Put hay in the horse stall.”) and provides many opportunities to ask Wh-questions (who, what, where, when, why, how).  

Babies/Dolls: Babies or dolls are a great way to promote pretend play skills in toddlers. It reinforces identification of body parts (e.g. eyes, nose, mouth etc.), articles of clothing (e.g. bib, diaper, pajamas), prepositions (e.g. “Put the baby in the crib.”), verbs (e.g. “The baby is sleeping!”), emotions/feelings (e.g. “The baby is crying.”). It also teaches them social/emotional skills and empathy.  

Want to Know More? 

The speech-language pathologist team at Eyas Landing would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have regarding your child’s speech and language development. Eyas Landing provides relationship-based therapy that is individualized to meet your child’s and family’s needs.  


Sosa, A. (2016).  Association of the type of toy used during play with the quantity and quality of parent-infant communication. JAMA Pediatrics, 170 (2), 132-137. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3753

Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.

Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.

Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here!

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