Speech and Language Toys for Building Pronunciation, Articulation, Receptive and Expressive Language
This article provides helpful toys for speech and language development. Affiliate links are included for your convenience. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.
One of the biggest worries when your child is transitioning from an infant to a toddler is if they are reaching their developmental milestones. It’s hard to know if a child is on track or if they are delayed, especially when it comes to speech and language.
Speech and language skills are by far one of the most important milestones and are one of the precursors to a child eventually reading and writing. Understanding and remembering what a person is saying, using the correct pronunciation and articulation to say words and sentences, communicating with others, and eventually getting thoughts down on paper are all critical steps for your child’s speech and language development.
What to expect when my child is developing speech and language
As speech develops, parents and children often become frustrated with each other because children want to express themselves, but don’t have the ability yet to articulate what they want to say. In these situations, parents tend to see a lot more tantrums and meltdowns, not because their child has bad behavior, but because they simply don’t have the skills necessary to project what they want to communicate. That is why parents can use visual charts, games, or the point and retrieve method to discover their child’s needs and wants.
Many people tend to think that speech and language is the same thing, but don’t realize that not only are they different, kids can experience delays in one or the other. Speech is how a child pronounces words, letters and sounds (pronunciation and articulation), while language is how a child expresses their wants, feelings, emotions and how they communicate with others. Parents may say, “I know my child understands what I’m saying, but they rarely respond or talk back to me when I ask them questions.” That phrase usually says the child’s receptive language is good because they understand and acknowledge what the parent is saying, but they may have difficulty with their expressive language because they aren’t talking back or responding to the question.
In this situation, sign language can be used in conjunction with developing speech and language skills to help parents and children avoid frustrations and misunderstandings while the child’s expressive language is evolving. However, it is important to not use sign language as a replacement for speech and language unless the child has a severe learning disability or is non-verbal. Using the two together can be very beneficial and can break down any barriers you and your child may experience when it comes to speech and language.
Toys for Speech and Language Development
There are many toys that can help your child develop their speech and language skills. However, there are some toys that are better for speech and language development depending on the child’s age. Between the ages of six months to 2 years old, toys with lots of sound and movement that encourage babbling, which is a precursor to speech and language, can help your child develop how they hear and say sounds.
Children around 2 to 4 years old can begin using toys and games that strengthen the tongue, lips, jaw and mouth for better speech development. Simple games like taking a Cheerio and asking your child to hold it at the roof of their mouth will get them in the correct position for letters like “l.” Other games and toys with themes, for example, blocks, farm sets or flash cards, can also encourage vocabulary. Any toys that also include blowing up balloons, blowing in whistles, sucking up food in straws and any toys that require your child to use the air from their diaphragm will give them enough breath to say sounds, letters and eventually full sentences. You’d be surprised at how many children do not have enough breath or air for speech and language skills.
For children between the ages of 4 to 7, any games or toys that encourage your child to use their expressive language and communication are important. These are the critical years for building the neural connections in your child’s brain (frontal lobe) that directly impacts speech and expressive language. Board games, conversation items, flash cards, and Pictionary as well as front to back exercises, are all great for further developing these skills.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs
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