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The Power of Play: Top 5 Non-Electronic Toys for Building Language Skills

Play is not just about having fun; it's a fundamental aspect of childhood development, especially when it comes to language acquisition. Through play, children explore, experiment, and engage with their surroundings. This lays the foundation for communication and language skills. By integrating the right toys and activities within play, you can enhance language development while also making it an enjoyable and engaging experience for children. In this blog, we’re sharing our top 5 favorite toys that support the integration of rich language targets in many environments.

Top 5 Non-Electronic Toys for Building Language Skills

Pretend Play Sets

Pretend play sets, such as kitchen playsets or dollhouses, provide rich opportunities for language development. Children can practice role-playing, expand their vocabulary with names of objects and actions, and develop narrative skills by creating scenarios and storylines. Narrative skills are essential in language development for academic and social purposes. Language learning can be facilitated by modeling conversation, asking open-ended questions, and encouraging imaginative play. For instance, "What are you cooking in the pot?" or "Let's pretend the doll is going to school."

Talk Time Speech and Language Therapy | 5 Non-Electronic Toys for Building Language Skills | Pretend Play Sets

Art and Craft Supplies

Creative activities like drawing, painting, and crafting stimulate language development in various ways. An added benefit is the sensory input provided to the child during these activities. Children can express themselves verbally while talking about their artwork, describing colors, shapes, and textures, and following multi-step instructions. Language can be encouraged by asking open-ended questions, providing descriptive feedback, and fostering conversations about the creative process. For instance, "Tell me about your picture" or "What materials are you using?"

Talk Time Speech and Language Therapy | 5 Non-Electronic Toys for Building Language Skills | Arts & Crafts

Building Blocks

Building blocks are timeless toys that offer endless opportunities for language development. As children stack, sort, and construct, they learn vocabulary related to shapes, sizes, colors, and spatial concepts. the child can be encouraged to describe their creations, and use action words (e.g., stack, balance, topple). You can model sentences of increasing length, and embed descriptor words during these modeling opportunities. For example, "I'm building a tall tower!" or "The blue block goes on top."

Talk Time Speech and Language Therapy | 5 Non-Electronic Toys for Building Language Skills | Building Blocks

Outdoor Play Equipment

Outdoor play offers unique opportunities for language enrichment through exploration and physical activity. Whether it's playing with balls, riding bikes, or exploring nature, children can learn vocabulary related to actions, sensations, and the environment. Through outdoor play, children can be encouraged to describe their experiences, use descriptive language (e.g., hot, cold, fast, slow), and engage in social interactions with peers. For example, "I'm kicking the ball!" or "Let's go on a nature scavenger hunt."

Talk Time Speech and Language Therapy | 5 Non-Electronic Toys for Building Language Skills | Outdoor Equipment


Yes, you! No matter what the activity is, parent and caregiver engagement provides an unmatchable opportunity for language development. Meeting a child where they are at, and following their lead in play offers rich opportunities for language modeling, engagement, and connection. A popular approach, or method, utilized during speech therapy sessions during play-based interactions is DIR Floortime. This intervention approach focuses on promoting emotional and cognitive growth through playful interactions. This approach encourages adults and caregivers to follow the child's lead, engage in meaningful interactions, and scaffold their development through play-based activities.

Talk Time Speech and Language Therapy | 5 Non-Electronic Toys for Building Language Skills | You

No matter which toy you choose to engage with during play with your child, rotating toys is a great tip to consider. Rotating toys, a concept often associated with the Montessori approach, involves periodically introducing and removing toys to maintain children's interest and promote deeper engagement. By rotating toys, the adults can introduce novel stimuli, spark curiosity, and tailor activities to the child's interests and developmental level.

Play isn't just a means of entertainment; it's a powerful tool for fostering language skills and promoting holistic development. By incorporating toys and activities, we create engaging learning experiences that cater to each child's unique needs and interests. Whether it's pretend play sets, building blocks, art supplies, outdoor equipment, or engagement with you as an adult, the possibilities for language enrichment are endless. Through playful interactions, children can unlock their potential and thrive in their communication journey. If you have any concerns about your child’s play skills or communication, contact us. We can help guide you through our evaluation process and provide individualized services!

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