You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today.

When the holiday season comes around each year, families often find themselves busy and overwhelmed with gift shopping. Parents often seek out quality gifts that will also be beneficial to their child’s learning. As speech-language pathologists, we are frequently asked what toys can help support language development in the home. The holidays and birthdays can be wonderful opportunities to re-vamp your child’s toy bin with materials that will be stimulating and beneficial to them!


When selecting gifts for younger babies (up to ~18 months old), cause and effect toys provide opportunities for hands on learning. Examples include: shape sorter, ring stack, nesting cups, jack-in-the-box, car ramp, hammer bench, and toy piggy bank. All of these types of toys provide great opportunities for learning concepts, “up, up up!; in!; on!” Books are wonderful for children of all ages! It is important to start reading with even very young children. Select books with durable cardboard pages and flaps that can be manipulated. For example, “Where’s Spot?” Choose books with simple songs or finger plays: “5 Little Monkeys;” “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”





When selecting gifts for toddlers and preschoolers (up to age 5), it is all about selecting toys that support the imagination and pretend play. Select toys that can help your child build language related to real life scenarios. Examples include: farm set, kitchen set, doll house, tool box, doctor kit, tea set, cash register, fireman trucks/ costumes. As mentioned before, books and reading are crucial to language development across age groups! For your preschooler, select books with many pictures. Some titles we love include: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?,” “Goodnight Moon,” and the “Curious George” series. No matter what gifts you select, remember that your interactions with your children during play and offering high quality language models is of the highest value!