As a pediatric Speech Pathologist, one question that I get asked the most is, “What toy(s) can I buy my child that will help encourage their speech?” My answer, “None”.
You can use ANYTHING to play with your child. As long as you make it interesting, your child will be engaged, and he/she will learn. Just think, pretending toy animals are “disappearing” in a tissue box could be the best game your child has ever played, and it’s free! My rule of thumb is that if a toy is making more noise than your child is, then it’s NOT helping!
One of the biggest mistakes we can make as parents is believing that we do not have the tools to encourage our child’s speech skills on our own. You do!!
Here is a list of my top 5 favorite “non-toys” and a few ideas of what you can do with each one. Happy Playing!
1- Tupperware containers.
*use them for stacking
*hide different items in them and see if children can guess what they are
*mix water and sand in them
*use them to make music
*put objects “in” and dump them into the next container
*Decorate a cardboard box and turn it into a house
*Use it after you fill a toilet paper roll with beans and make a musical instrument
*Offer different colors of duct tape and let children pick which one to decorate items with
*Hide scarves in it and have little ones practice pulling it out
*Put duct tape on it and use it as a drum
*Put beans in one and shake it
*Use it as a platform and play with small animals on it
*Hide other items in it and have children identify them as they pull them out
*Have children place pom-poms inside the tin
*Practice counting (one to one correspondence)
*Use each section as as a “bed” for princesses or animals
*Put magnets on it
*Use it as a parachute and play “Ring Around the Rosie”, put balls on top of the sheet and play “Popcorn”
*Play Peek-a-Boo and encourage using family members’ names (i.e. “Where’s Mommy?”)
*Build a tent and practice going “in” and “out”