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Using Common Toys For Language Development At Home

There are so many great toys that can be used to target language development at home.  I am not saying toys are needed to work on language development because one of my favorite ways to target language at home is through daily routines.  Talking about what you’re doing (while making breakfast or doing laundry) is a great way to work on functional communication that requires no extra preparation or materials.  I also love using everyday objects (i.e. painting a toilet paper roll) to target language skills at home.

I am frequently asked my favorite toys for early childhood (i.e. babies, toddlers, preschool) to encourage language development at home so I wanted to share a few common toys and some ideas of how they can be used to target different language skills. 

Stacking Blocks

  • Prepositions:
    • Put a block on top of the tower, under, next to, behind, in front, etc. 
    • Use another object (toy animal or ball) to practice prepositions with the object and blocks.  
  • Following Directions (including a variety of concepts):
    • Put the red block on top of the blue block
    • Put the smallest block inside the biggest block
    • Make a tower with 3 blocks
    • Put the ball under a block and then make a tower 
  • Turn taking: 
    • Work on taking turns by alternating whos turn it is to add a block. 
    • Talk aloud about this by saying “my turn” or “who’s turn is it next?”

Cars

  • Requesting
    • Model requesting for cars based on color or number (i.e. “Want red car” or “Want 2 cars”
    • Work on expanding utterances by modeling when requesting (i.e. when your child says “car” model by saying “blue car” or “want car”. 
  • Vocabulary and Concepts
    • Target the words “stop” and “go” by demonstrating the actions with the cards while you verbally say what the car is doing.
    • i.e. “Car goes fast!” or “Red light means stop!”  
  • Turn taking:
    • Work on taking turns by asking for a turn to make the car “stop” and “go”. 
    • Model requesting a turn with a specific car

Ball Tower

  • Requesting
    • If your ball tower needs to be put together, practice requesting for the pieces
    • Practice requesting the ball to put in the tower (I want the red ball!)
  • Prepositions
    • Target spatial concepts
      • “Put the ball on top of the tower!”
      • “Put the ball under the tower!”
  • Wh- Questions
    • Practice answering different “wh-” questions
      • What color is the ball?
      • Where is the ball? 
      • Whose turn is it? 

What is one “common” toy you like to use at home to practice language skills?

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Natalie

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