Speech is one of the most important milestones in a child’s life.
This is because the bulk of speech that children develop during their first 3 years of life greatly influences their social, emotional, and cognitive development, and also largely impacts later performance in school and critical thinking skills.
For this reason, speech-language pathologists encourage parents to expose their kids to as much words as possible and encourage talking during this critical first 3 years in order to instill a rich vocabulary in their child. One good way of going about that is by investing in the following language teaching baby toys.
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1. Toy Sets
When it comes to encouraging early speech and language development in your child, toy sets offer a great option.
This is because toy sets set the stage for language rich play whereby kids get the opportunity to use those words they have been hearing and learning functionally in a variety of ways. Whether it’s a kitchen, farm, fire station, or tea party set, a child will have to use words at one point or another either to make a request, exchange play ideas, make a comment about the game, ask for help, engage in role play, and so on.
Therefore, with the continued use of play sets, your child will start stringing little sentences through the exchange of words that happens during playtime.
2. Talking Toys
For a child to start talking and develop speech, he/she must first learn different words as well as their meanings.
This is where talking toys come in. Available in a variety of options (e.g. Educational Insights ReMARKable Smart Talk Charts, Fisher-Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm, VTech Infant Learning Touch and Learn Storytime, Learning Resources ABC Chalk Talk Electronic Learning Chalkboard, among others), talking toys teach letters, words, sounds, and shapes, in a fun and easy way that kids can identify with.
3. Musical Toys
According to research, music stimulates multiple areas of the brain (which is great for language development), breaks down words into sounds and syllables that are easier for children to process, and allows kids to hear and learn the similarities and differences between sounds. These music benefits combined make musical toys effective tools for encouraging language development.
With a wide variety of musical toys available ranging from ‘Remo Drum’ to ‘Easy Karaoke’ to ‘Melisa and Doug’s Deluxe Band Set’, the trick to selecting a good musical toys it to go for options with a clever rhyme that is captivating and easy for a small child to process.
While it may not seem like it, dolls have powerful speech teaching capabilities.
This is due to the fact that dolls allow kids to replicate various real-life experiences that they go through every day. These include things like bathing, dressing, feeding, naptime, and so on. These little re-enactments create opportunities for language-development as kids will not only act out the real-life experiences but also try to mimic the conversations carried out during the time.
In other words, a child will say to the doll what mom, dad, or a caregiver usually says during bath, nap, feeding, or dressing time.
The key to ensuring your child gets the most out of a doll is to go for options that talk or come with accessories such as little cups, strollers, combs, cradles, outfits, dollhouses, etc. Such dolls increase play options, which in turn brings about more language building opportunities.
If you have a small child who is just starting to talk, any toy that falls in the above listed categories can tremendously help your little talker.
So, head on out and start shopping! As a guideline for toy shopping, go for those options that encourage interaction, provide flexibility during play, and foster imagination and creativity. Such toys offer the most benefits when it comes to speech stimulation.