Best Toys for Speech Delayed Toddler Education: A Helpful Guide for Parents
Speech delay is a common developmental situation that parents around the world find themselves facing.
While this delay in engagement and enrichment can happen for various reasons, there is a consensus that choosing the right toys can provide support and enrichment for children suffering from a delay in their learning.
Toys are a great way of engaging with the environment in a comfortable yet challenging way, and that is why they are such an essential part of developing.
Today, you will learn about some of the best toys for speech delayed toddlers, a bit more about speech delay, how it is handled, and what you should know about toys made to help toddlers through this challenging time.
Best Toys for Speech Delayed Toddler Education
1. Speech Cards: Go Together Flash Cards
Speech cards, such as the Go Together Flash Cards, are a great option to use.
They can help model words to a child while also helping them to learn the association between different items in the world that they live in.
What Can This Product Help?
The main skills children can learn with this product are pronunciation, word association, and semantic association.
When you show the child a card, you want to model the proper way to pronounce it. If your child can mimic it back to you, make sure to model the correct word continually, but do not tell them that they are wrong.
Additionally, using the sets that have real-life pictures can help them to understand exactly what they see and then make the right word association when they see the item in everyday life.
This connection will help them better connect and engage with the world around them, and this is key for future development.
Clear communication is important when working on a speech delay enrichment plan, and these cards fit perfectly into that need.
Go Together Flash Cards Review
The Go Together Flash Cards is one of the most popular options because the drawings are realistic, and that is very important to many people using the cards for toddlers with speech delay.
Additionally, the cards are hard, laminated cardboard that won’t wear down easily, and it is possible to laminate them again to make disinfecting between uses even easier.
The cards are also big, visual, and easy for children to focus on each time.
Depending on what your child is interested in, you can sort the cards into different groups to make different sets that they will be interested in.
2. Kitchen Toys: Step2 Fun With Friends Kitchen
Any age child and the adults they play with can have a great time when playing with a kitchen toy like the Step2 Fun With Friends Kitchen.
What Can This Product Help?
A kitchen playset can help to develop a wide variety of skills, including:
- Eye contact
- Vocabulary growth
- Motor skills
- Auditory skills
- Environmental learning
When children play with a kitchen set like this one, they will mimic what they see happening in the world around them.
That will start to make additional connections in their brains about their environment and help improve the communication that you have with your child.
The wide variety of vocabulary and language that you can explore with your child while playing with the kitchen playset will also help expand what they are exposed to as they develop through their speech delay.
Step2 Fun With Friends Kitchen Review
This particular kitchen set is a very high-quality, durable product that includes many accessories for your child to play with every time.
The optional sounds can be turned on or off depending on your child’s developmental needs, and many items can be picked up and moved around.
Overall, it has everything needed to be a great learning tool for children affected by speech delay.
3. Modeling: Baby Dolls
Boys and girls alike can benefit from owning a toy like the A NEWBORN 10-Piece Deluxe Newborn Doll.
Any child can easily use toys designed for one gender, and you should not let the gender-bias of a toy affect whether or not you allow the toy to help your child grow.
Baby dolls are one of the best toys that a child with a speech delay can have.
What Can This Product Help?
Baby dolls are great toys for developing communication and life-mimicking environmental skills.
There are so many areas of development that playing with dolls may enhance, such as:
- Fine motor skills
- Self-help skills
- Emotional response
Playing with a doll with your child can help you practice talking about various verbs, feelings, needs, and questions.
As you ask questions about the baby and what the baby is doing, you will be helping your child learn associations and understandings of those words and meanings.
LA NEWBORN 10-Piece Deluxe Newborn Doll Review
This 10-piece doll set is an excellent option for parents raising toddlers battling a speech delay because it comes with a ton of great accessories that you can use to create better, more enriching scenarios.
The set includes a mat, diapers, a sippy cup, a plate, a spoon, a hospital bracelet, and more for your child to play with alongside the doll.
The doll is made from non-scented, BPA-free vinyl that feels soft to the touch so you and your child will be comfortable holding it.
More importantly, all of the materials used are very durable, so you can use them for a long time.
4. Play: Miniature Figures
Another great option that is an open-ended, creativity-boosting toy is a set of miniature figures.
These figures are easy to organize, store, and use with your child when you want to get some enriching playtime, but what exactly is it that your child can gain from using this type of toy?
We’re going to cover the Safari Ltd Arctic TOOB specifically, but similar sets of miniature animals come in many varieties.
What Can This Product Help?
You can use miniature figures in many different ways to play with your developing child.
For language development, having the child try to match the figure to a similar picture is a great way to encourage discussion and communication as they problem-solve.
On the other hand, for them to learn more about engaging with their everyday life, having them play games like washing the miniature pet figures is a great way.
Lastly, to engage with fine motor skills, you can use the miniatures to do crafts such as stamping paint footprints with the animals’ feet and then turning this into a larger art project.
Since the miniature animals are such an open-ended toy, there really is no limit to how you could incorporate their use into a more extensive learning plan.
Safari Ltd Arctic TOOB Review
Many parents and teachers love the TOOB sets of miniature figures because of the tube that they come in, making it very easy to clean up and store the animals when they are not in use.
Plus, each TOOB set has a specific theme so you can choose between the many varieties offered, including:
- Under the sea
- Farm life
- Community helpers
The toys themselves are made from tough and BPA-free plastic, so you can rely on both their safety and durability.
5. Music: Melissa & Doug Band-in-a-Box Set
A music set like the Melissa & Doug Band-in-a-Box Set is a great way to help your child learn to be comfortable creating noise when they aren’t yet comfortable being verbal.
Music is also a great way to introduce important skills.
What Can This Product Help?
You can use music for so many areas of developmental and learning education, such as:
- Teach new concepts
- Attract attention
- Set up directions
- Give sensory relief
- Connect words to a song
- Great sound on their own
- Independent play
- Emote without language
Giving your child a way to communicate with the world that doesn’t require them to speak is vital as they are still learning to verbalize.
Music is just one way to do that, and a set that includes a few different instruments can set up that scenario for your child.
Melissa & Doug Band-in-a-Box Set Review
This 10-piece musical instrument set gives a variety of options so that your children can make music the way that they want to.
The variety of instruments is fun for them to explore and gives them exposure to different types of sounds and tones.
Plus, you can use each instrument in different ways, so it gives your children a chance to try out different motor skills.
The instruments come with a wooden crate to organize the band set inside, helping keep things neater.
The instrument and wooden crate are both very high quality and can survive the musical stylings of your child as they play all day long.
What Is Speech Delay?
In the official sense, speech delay is when a child has not reached the expected or standard language or speaking milestones at any given age.
A child may not speak or talk as much as expected, and this is typically something that needs to be assessed by a speech pathologist for it to handled correctly.
Children who have significant speech delays will not “grow out of it” unless you address their developmental needs, and that is how one should handle any speech delay.
You can use environmental enrichment, therapy, and more to address speech delay to kickstart the learning process for children who have not yet been able to develop their speech patterns.
Why Do Speech Delays Occur?
A common question that parents have after their child is diagnosed with a speech delay is why did the speech delay happen.
There are many different reasons that speech delays can occur, and the best way to be sure about the cause and plan for your child’s improvement is to work with your doctors and pathologists.
That said, these are the most common causes of speech delays:
- Hearing loss (temporary or otherwise)
- Limited environmental language stimulation
- Physical limitations of the mouth or tongue
- Underdeveloped cognitive skills
- Limited communication opportunities
- Slow development
- Chromosomal abnormality
Depending on the cause of the speech delay, the best type of enrichment and development plans will differ.
Is Late Development a Problem?
Your child must meet certain developmental milestones just to ensure that they are properly socialized, developed, and engaged with the world around them.
It is normal for these children to take longer to develop speech patterns, and this is sometimes corrected with just a few targeted therapy sessions.
In other cases, children will remain nonverbal for years to come, and communication may become a lifelong issue.
The point is not whether or not late development is a problem, but how you handle it.
Meaning, late development should be treated not as a problem to be fixed but as a need to be addressed; what needs is the child showing through this?
Take time to address the cause and needs of your speech delayed toddler with care.
How to Choose Toys for a Speech Delayed Toddler
Choosing a toy for a speech delayed toddler may be difficult, but there are some basic guidelines that you will want to follow to create the most enriching experience possible.
Some of the highly recommended ones are:
1. Skipping the Batteries
Though there are exceptions, choosing toys that do not have batteries or removing the batteries from an electric toy can be an excellent way to help encourage your child to make noises for themselves while they’re playing.
2. Choosing Creativity-Boosting Toys
Open-ended toys that you can use in a variety of ways allow your children to develop and use their imagination.
This is key for being able to engage with their environment in different ways.
3. Keeping It Simple
Simple toys like blocks, cars, trucks, and farm toys are a great choice because they are relatable to a child’s everyday life.
These toys also have a very low threshold for active and useful engagement.
4. Using Life-Like Toys
Toys that imitate daily life in some ways, such as a kitchen toy or a toy that involves dressing a doll, are a great way to connect-play with everyday life.
This connection helps to expand development and communication into multiple, adjacent areas.
5. Always Think About Development Pairing
If your three-year-old child is still developmentally around nine months old, choose a toy that would be more appropriate for their developmental age rather than their actual age.
By doing so, you will help your child engage appropriately and then grow out of the toy over time instead of pressuring them to learn things and develop skills that they still couldn’t handle.
Why Is Supplementing With Toys a Good Idea?
Whether your child has been diagnosed with a medical condition affecting their speech and language development or is simply not talking as soon as some of their peers, supplementing with toys is a great way to encourage development, comfort, and a good environment.
Many children seeing development or speech therapists have benefited from the right toys for their needs.
Therapists will often recommend toys like the best toys for speech delayed toddler education that we have already covered in the above section.
How Do Toys Like These Help?
The right educational materials can make a big difference in learning and developmental work. Toys allow for specific, individualized attention on what your child needs.
They can help overcome barriers that non-verbal children face as they are learning and finding different ways to engage with the world around them.
Toys can also encourage children who are on their way to verbalizing find new ways to express themselves with sounds as they develop into words.
It’s important to remember that the primary goal of using toys for speech delayed toddlers is not strictly to make them learn to talk; it’s to keep them engaged and developing.
Not all toddlers or children will verbalize in the same way, and that is something that must be kept in mind by parents, teachers, doctors, and therapists.
Talking can be a milestone that you aim for in many cases, but remember that it isn’t always the end goal.
Time, dedication, and the right tools can make all the difference in helping your child to better learn and communicate with the world around them.
Speech Delay Is Not a Life Sentence
When parents are told that their child is falling behind in development, many may not know how to react appropriately.
Though it is important to take your child’s future developmental plan very seriously, there is nothing “wrong” with you or your child just because of speech delay.
Speech delay can happen for a wide variety of reasons, and you should focus on finding ways to support your child’s growth rather than focusing on what they have missed out.
Thankfully, choosing from some of the best toys for speech delayed toddler education can make it easier for you and your child to get back on track as they move forward.
Your child is amazing, and you get to be part of their continued growth!