It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking in terms of speech, height, or academic ability, we all know that children develop at different rates. We have previously looked at some of the key milestones for a child’s speech development, but regardless of whether you think your child is ahead of the curve or struggling to keep up with their peers, there are always steps you can take to promote good speech development. In this blog, we’re going to look at a number of different toys designed to entertain children and hold their attention while encourage good speech development.
Suitable for children aged 6 months and up, Repeat Petey, as the name suggests, is a toy parrot that records what is said to him and repeats it back. Although talking toys are certainly not a new invention, the ability to speak to a toy and have it speak back is very exciting for young children, and will encourage them to speak up as much as possible. Simply press Petey’s wing to record what you’re saying, and he will say it back to you afterwards. The toy is also covered in lots of different colours and textures to promote audio and visual perception as well, making this an ideal choice for very young kids.
Magical Lights Fishbowl
Aimed at children between the ages of 6 & 36 months old, the magical lights fishbowl from Fisher-Price aims to give children an introduction to the basics of colours, shapes, and letters. It sings the alphabet, as well as songs about shapes and colours, and also includes several different types of sea-creatures to help children build up some of their fundamental sets of vocabulary. The fishbowl also instructs the kids to remove or replace some of the various aquatic animals, with each action eliciting a different response, to help teach them about cause and effect.
One thing you can say with near-absolute certainty about children is that they like to emulate what they see, and in this day and age, they’re going to see a lot of people on smartphones. Toy phones have long been a popular choice with kids, but technological advances means that, just like real phones, we can fit more in a smaller device than ever before. There are now hundreds of options of toy phones with dozens of songs, sights, and sounds to teach your children not only different types of vocabulary, but also how to interact and converse with other people. These phones can range in price from about €10 to over €100, and are generally recommended for children aged 18 months or older.
In a similar vein, another historically popular choice for kids is the toy kitchen. Almost every parents or guardian uses a kitchen on a regular basis, and children like to replicate the actions they see. This is what keeps them interested in the toy, but what makes it so beneficial is the range of language it opens up. Kids can learn all sorts of verbs, such as open, close, put down, pick up, crack, beat, whip, mix, bake, as well as nouns like eggs, milk, flour, bread, oven fridge, and they can easily play along with you as you do actual cooking, which means you can interact with and teach them while actually getting some work done (without risking them ruining your dinner).
There are lots of different ways you can maintain a child’s attention and subtly encourage them to learn new words and ways to interact. The examples listed above are just a few of the most widely applicable, but you can take the principal of emulation and apply it to your own life to make these methods even more effective. If you have a real workbench at home for example, they might prefer a toy version of that to the kitchen. If you spend more time on your laptop than your phone, they might be more interested in a toy version of that than a toy smartphone. Many of these toys are generally the same principals and technology configured in different ways, so think about what your child sees you do, and what will hold their interest the longest, and that will help give you the most effective results.