Encouraging your toddler’s speech development is as important, if not more so, than promoting their physical development. Finding toys that motivate your little one to express themselves verbally can help build their vocabularies which, in turn, allows them to speak their minds. This selection of toys provides speech-delayed toddlers with a variety of unique and effective approaches to encourage language skills and foster verbal expression. With some strategies using music and other strategies based on learning phonetic skills, the varying techniques offer a well-rounded foundation for language development. Plus, these toys are fun for little ones to interact with on a daily basis!
The Best Toys for Speech Delayed Toddler
1. LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book
(Best for vocabulary exposure — $)
Why it’s great: The LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book will introduce your child to over 100 age-appropriate words as determined by learning experts. Categories range from animals and food to opposites and colors. The touch-sensitive pages provide the vocabulary word along with fun sounds that will keep your little one entertained. The words and songs are available in both English and Spanish with the simple move of a switch, offering a full bilingual experience.
Keep in mind: The pages are extremely touch-sensitive and best used when a child knows how to point using one finger. Other words on the page will be read aloud if a page is accidentally touched by another body part.
Good for: Toddlers would benefit from increased exposure to new vocabulary with a picture and sound reference.
2. Just Smarty Interactive ABCs and 123s Learning Poster
(Best for alphabet recognition — $$)
Why it’s great: Taking up limited space, this interactive poster makes it easy for kids to learn the alphabet, make word associations, and practice spelling simple vocabulary. The Just Smarty Interactive ABCs and 123s Learning Poster has a sensory button behind each letter, number, and picture that reads the items aloud. The interactive poster also shares nine popular children’s songs for added musical fun.
Keep in mind: The speaker is on the softer side and works best if there is not a lot of background noise while in use.
Good for: Toddlers working on phonics skills, including learning to recognize the alphabet as well as letter sounds.
3. Best Learning INNO Pad Smart Fun Lessons Educational Tablet
(Best interactive option — $$)
Why it’s great: With a varied collection of 16 activities, the Best Learning INNO Pad Smart Fun Lessons Educational Tablet is sure to engage your toddler for extended periods of time. This tablet provides varying modes of learning, from music-based to active instruction. The compact size and five levels of volume adjustment makes this the ideal toy to develop speech while both at home and on the go.
Keep in mind: The tabel uses different cards for the various activities. The tablet does not provide a space to hold the cards when not in use.
Good for: Toddlers that thrive with interactive toys.
4. Hand2mind Phoneme Phone
(Best multisensory toy — $)
Why it’s great: Providing a heightened listening experience, the Hand2mind Phoneme Phone allows children to speak softly into the receiver and hear their amplified voice in their ear. Allowing your toddler to hear his or her own voice can support them in identifying different speech sounds. Plus, the durable plastic is dishwasher safe and is easy to keep clean when used by more than one child.
Keep in mind: The phone length is not adjustable and comes in a one-size-fits-most.
Good for: Toddlers who learn best using their senses.
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5. Hape Mighty Echo Microphone
(Best for building confidence — $)
Why it’s great: Made with non-toxic finishes and child-safe materials, this language tool offers kids a high-quality and battery-free microphone experience. The Hape Mighty Echo Microphone encourages shy toddlers to experiment with their voice whether when speaking or singing as the microphone amplifies the sound for a fun, unique speaking and listening experience. This toy stimulates speech and singing abilities in toddlers while also promoting creative expression.
Keep in mind: Since this microphone does not require batteries and does not need to be turned on or off for use, the button is just for decoration and offers no function.
Good for: Toddlers Toddlers who struggle with low self-esteem or shyness that prevents them from experimenting with language.
6. DITTY BIRD Baby Sound Book
(Best musical support for speech — $)
Why it’s great: The DITTY BIRD Baby Sound Book is an interactive musical songbook that encourages toddlers to read, listen, and sing along with their favorite songs. Repeating well-known nursery rhymes is a proven method for supporting language development. Exceeding all U.S. testing standards, this musical book can outlast even the roughest toddlers.
Keep in mind: The singer of this book has a British accent.
Good for: Toddlers who learn best through music.
7. THINKPSYCH Verb Flashcards for toddlers
(Best option for learning action words — $$)
Why it’s great: The minimalist design of the THINKPSYCH Verb Flashcards for toddlers makes it easy for your child to learn and act out different action words. These 90 multicultural cards promote diversity while also relating to your child. The photographs on each card help your child recognize and name varying movements that can help foster clever communication. These action flashcards lay the foundation for verbal response and clearer communication.
Keep in mind: The cards don’t have a particular organizational pattern, which can make finding specific cards time-consuming.
Good for: Toddlers who need support learning action words.
FAQs about Best Toys for Speech Delayed Toddler
1. How can I help my toddler develop his or her language?
The easiest way to support your toddler’s language development is to continually talk to him or her and surround them with toys that aid in verbal expression. The simplest way to do so is to merely narrate what you are doing as your toddler observes. For a more structured approach tailored to improving your child’s specific language development, be sure to speak with your pediatrician and a speech-language pathologist for a full evaluation.
2. What toys are best for toddlers who are speech-delayed?
Toys that expose your child to common vocabulary and encourage them to speak aloud are great tools for helping a toddler who is speech-delayed.
3. How do I know if my toddler is speech delayed?
If you have concerns about your child’s language development, contact your pediatrician to learn the next steps. Many doctors will recommend an evaluation done by a trained speech-language pathologist if there are concerns.
4. At what age can my toddler use toys to develop his or her speech?
Luckily, toys that are used to help develop speech can typically be used for extended periods of time, from months to years. Many open-ended toys, such as pretend telephones, can be used by young toddlers as they’re learning to make sounds with their voices, and then later on for older children to read aloud to themselves.
5. What should I look for in a toy that helps support language development?
When looking for a toy that supports language development, look for items that expose your child to new vocabulary, such as an interactive book, or provide opportunities for your little one to express themselves verbally, such as an amplifying microphone. Of course, the toys that work best are the ones your child enjoys using. Picking one or two items may be helpful in finding what item they’ll use on a consistent basis to help develop speech.
Whether your toddlers are speech-delayed or simply need more support with their language, these toys are uniquely designed to expose little ones to new vocabulary as well as provide varying strategies to foster speech. From toys that allow your little one to learn through music, or activities that expose them to letters and sounds, this selection of toys can help support your child’s language development through an array of avenues. Mixing and matching the various toys can also further encourage your toddlers to express themselves verbally.