Toys To Improve Language Development

Toys to Improve Language Development

Development of speech and language skills is imperative for communication and social pragmatic skills. We aim to support our children in acquiring understanding of language as well as use of language. For young learners, we provide an enriched and interactive learning environment in which they may blossom and grow. With the vast number of toys to improve language development, we have handpicked and listed the following highly preferred toys which have shown to be beneficial in clinic based and home-based therapy. As a parent or caretaker, you can use these to improve both receptive language (understanding of language) and expressive language (use of language) skills.


Books to Improve Language Development

Where To Buy: Amazon/Marshalls/TJ Maxx

I suggest reading two books each night. One book you will read normally and allow the child to simply run through the pages. The second book will be used for speech. You can describe what the characters are doing such as “Baby eating. Baby sleep. Baby happy.” If you have purchased flipbooks you can use the phrase “Open the door.” Touch and feel books are wonderful too as kids love to touch different textures and it keeps them interested. I love using the following books: Brown Bear. Polar Bear. Where’s Spot. Bizzy Bear. Clifford the Dog. Little Peeps Flip Books



Where To Buy: Dollar Tree

Bubbles are magic! I especially love no-spill bubbles and little ones with characters on them. Children are fascinated by bubbles!

Target words and phrases:

  • “bubbles, pop, more, mine, please, blow, all gone, wet, yucky, in, out”
  • “More bubbles, my turn, bubbles up, bubbles down, bubbles pop”
  • “I want bubbles, blow more bubbles, pop more bubbles, open the bottle.”

Toys to Improve Language Development

Mr. Potato Head

This activity is excellent for building vocabulary. I use speech in setting up and putting away this toy. For each item that you bring out you can label and have your child label the body part/clothing. When putting each piece on or off the Mr. Potato Head you can have your child name the body part/clothing and use prepositions “on” and “off.” Ex: Hat on. Eyes on. Shoes on. I suggest putting all the pieces in a small Tupperware so you don’t lose the pieces.

Target words and phrases:

  • “head, nose, mouth, arms, ears, shoes, hat, up, down, go, walk and jump”
  • “Hat on, shoes on, nose on, mouth on. Hat off, shoes off, nose off, mouth off.”
  • “I put on. I take off. I want hat.”



Where To Buy: Ross / Marshalls / TJ Maxx / Amazon

Puzzles are highly preferred by toddlers and are great for targeting understanding and use of language.

Have you child name each piece that they want given a choice of two. You can ask your child “Which one says moo? Which one says meow? Which one is white and fluffy?” I personally love the Hide and Seek and Sound Puzzles from Melissa and Doug.

Target Words/Phrases (Label each item):

  • “Car, bus, plane, bike, cat, dog.”
  • “More car, car in, car out, bye car.”
  • “I want car, I need bike, Put bike in. Take the plane out”

Baby Dolls and Play House/Kitchen

Where To Buy: Amazon/Target

Toddlers love pretend play. I love using baby dolls to elicit actions and practice nouns. You can pretend the baby is sleeping, eating, brushing hair, bushing teeth, playing, and cooking. You can also work on labeling the things the baby has such as blanket, bed, hat, brush, shirt, dress, socks and shoes. I combine my dolls with a play kitchen or playhouse to work on pretend play and language skills. Ex: “Baby is cooking. I like cookies. What do you like to eat?”

Target Words/Phrases:

  • “baby, hat, brush, bed, shirt, shoes, socks, food, eat, sleep.”
  • “Baby sleeping, baby eating, baby laughing, baby hungry, baby tired.”
  • Locations: “Baby in bed. Baby in the kitchen. Baby on the chair.”


Farm Animals 

Where To Buy: Amazon/Target

Children love animals and music. I use Old McDonald with the toy animals that I have. I put all the toy animals in a closed boy and pretend I am knocking on the door of the box to get them out. “Knock, knock. Come out!” I have the kids label the animals, their sounds. For higher-level language kids we describe each animal with 2-3 details.

Target words/phrases:

  • “Moo, baa, neigh, oink, cow, sheep, horse, pig, chicken, duck, dog, cat.”
  • “Big cow, little cow, fast horse, eat horse”
  • “Horse is eating, cow is walk, piggy is dirty.”


VTech Chomp and Count Dino

Where To Buy: Amazon/Target

This interactive Dino is a huge winner in our clinic. It comes with a dino and a handful of food items that can be inserted into the Dino’s mouth. You can collect the food items from his belly at the end. I use this to target food names, colors, numbers and following directions. I like this toy to teach kids the sign/verbal word for “more” to receive each food item and to use “eat, I eat, Dino eats.” Ex: Please give me the (insert color) food. Please give me two. Put the apple in his mouth. Put the banana in his mouth.

Target words/phrases:

  • “Apple, banana, grapes, peas, blueberries, carrots, one, two, three, four, eat, yummy, eww, in, out.”
  • “I eat apples, I am hungry, I need more, I feed dino, dino is hungry, dino wants more.”
  • “I eat, my turn, dino eats, dino hungry, dino full, eat apple, eat banana.”


We hope that you are able to use these visually appealing toys to improve language development for your child. You can use these to model words, phrases and sentences. You can work on understanding of speech by having your child label or identify nouns or follow 1-2 step directions. You can use the skills learned with these chosen toys and implement them into daily life! Contact us to learn more about what toys or books to get or to receive more suggestions on the right toy for your child.

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Naomi Ester Rahmani MS CCC-SLP


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