Which Are The Best Toys To Help With Speech On The UK Market?

If your child has delayed speech, you may already be working with a speech-language pathologist. It’s important to make additional efforts at home to help your child improve their speech.

The best way to do this is through playing.

Speech development experts recommend multisensory toys that boost language development and improve social interactions.

In this buying guide, we are going to review the best toys for your speech-delayed child.

These toys are designed to encourage children to vocalize simple words and then move on to short phrases and sentences as they build their vocabulary.

You can have fun together with your toddler playing with the toys or leave them to play on their own when you are busy.

But first, a few things to keep in mind when you are shopping for such toys.

What to consider when buying toys to help with speech

a. Toys that encourage vocalisation

One mistake many parents make, whether their toddler has delayed speech or not, is to buy flashy and noisy toys.

I’m not against battery-powered toys; some can be very helpful for kids whose speech is lagging. The problem is electronic toys that don’t encourage kids to talk.

Just press a button and the toys lights up or makes a racket.

All your child learns is cause-and-effect, something they have been learning since they were months old.

Look for toys that encourage kids to speak up. It can be making animal noises, singing, reading words aloud or naming things like animals and vegetables.

These toys are the best for improving your child’s speech and building their vocabulary.

b. You don’t need educational toys

Educational toys are all the rage. You’ll find retailers advertising toys that teach ABCs, 123s, colours and all other kinds of things that your toddler has years to learn about in school.

What speech-delayed kids – and any child really – need are toys that teach them how to express their emotions, interact with other people and learn about their environment.

You can get an educational toy or two but don’t focus too much on them.

Simple toys like kitchen sets, non-battery cars and farm sets can be surprisingly beneficial for kids who need to improve their speech.

Don’t feel like your child will lag behind academically if they don’t learn all their ABCs right now. Start by helping them communicate and then you can get more educational toys later.

c. Look for multisensory toys

Your child’s biggest developmental problem may be speech but that doesn’t mean that only talking toys can help them.

Children learn about the world and their environment through multiple pathways – touch, taste, sight, listening and smelling.

Engaging multiple senses is better for speech development compared to focusing on just one aspect.

Look for toys that engage at least two senses. The most important ones are touch, sight and listening.

For touch, toys with raised letters and textured surfaces are great. For sight, bright colours are more engaging. For hearing, look for toys with spoken words, sound effects and sing-along songs.

d. Less is more

Don’t go on a shopping binge, buying every toy in our list below and adding a dozen others.

Too many toys could overwhelm your child and even reduce their ability to get the most out of each toy.

With around 2-4 toys, your child gets the maximum benefits of each toy without getting bored.

You can rotate through the toys, only allowing them to play with one at a time.

And remember that store-bought toys are not the only way for kids to improve their speech. Anything safe around the house from cardboard boxes to plates and pans can also be toys.

Even going outside and looking at the flowers and petting animals is a great way to quicken their speech development.

Best Toys for Speech Development

1. Leapfrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book

This word book is bilingual – English and French. Everything you can hear in English, the songs, words and playing instructions, you can also hear in French.

There’s an easy to use language switch to change between the two languages.

The book takes your child on a fun learning journey alongside three animal friends – a monkey, tiger and turtle.   

There are 100 words for children to learn. If they don’t know how to say a word, they simply touch it and the book plays the word aloud.

This teaches your child how to pronounce different words. And if they are bilingual, they can simply slide the switch to hear the words spoken in French.

The words are arranged by categories including animals, pets, food, colours, mealtime, vehicles, clothes and others.

This makes for easier comprehension. If you are playing with them, you can even encourage them to come up with their own words related to a specific category.

The word book also includes two songs – the My Favorite Word song and the Learning Friends theme song.

What we like about it:

  • Plenty of fun for kids.
  • Bilingual.
  • Helps kids learn words in many different categories.

2. Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Story, Rhymes, Electronic Educational Toddler Baby Book

If you are looking for a speech-improvement toy for a younger child, this one is great.

It’s starts off with simple sing-along nursery rhymes like ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’, ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ and ‘One, Two, Buckle My Shoe’.

The songs are written on the book’s pages. So they can easily sing along to the lyrics.

As soon as they turn a page, the song on that page starts playing automatically. It’s super easy to play with.

The other parts of the toy are a bit ‘educational’ but they are perfect for an older toddler. They include 123s, ABCs and shapes.

These introduce your child to their first words and basic counting.

What we like about it:

  • Includes carrying handle.
  • High quality construction that is nearly indestructible in the hands of a toddler.
  • Great for younger toddlers with limited vocabulary.

3. Huhua Cute Parrot Stuffed Plush Toy

This is one of my favourite toys in the list because a toddler has to talk or sing for it to work. This develops their speech much faster.

This is a stuffed talkback parrot. But for it to talk back to the child, they have to first sing or talk to it.

It records what they are saying and repeats it in a funny cartoonish voice. It’s not only helpful for speech development, it’s lots of fun too.

It also moves, shakes and vibrates. You’ll probably enjoy it as much as your child.

It’s even more fun and beneficial when you play together. If your child has speech delays caused by autism, seeing you talk and sing will encourage them to do it as well.

What we like about it:

  • Lots of fun for toddlers.
  • Encourages speech-delayed kids to talk and sing.
  • Soft, squishy and hypoallergenic materials – safe for kids.
  • Loud and clear voice.

4. ABC Baby’s Very First Flashcards

Speech therapists often use flashcards to help children learn, vocalise and remember new words.

This pack, which is actually a book, consists of flash cards for each letter in the alphabet. Each card has a specific letter in large fonts and in both upper and lowercase.

A picture and its name accompany each letter of the alphabet (e.g. a, Apple and a picture of an Apple). This helps them associate the letter with an actual object.

There are three other flash cards included – two showing the full alphabet and one showing letter formation.

This non-electronic approach to learning works great for speech-delayed kids.

It encourages them to talk and promotes social interaction with family members. Best of all, they can learn anywhere and anytime without worrying about dead batteries.

What we like about it:

  • Great for teaching kids the alphabet and phonics.
  • No batteries required.
  • High quality flash cards that won’t tear easily.

5. Boxiki Kids ABC Sound Book For Children

This is another great toys for helping kids master the alphabet. But unlike the flashcards above, this one includes sound.

So toddlers can learn how to pronounce different sounds and words.

The sound book includes six learning activities, eight pages filled with words, letters and pictures and over a 100 sounds and melodies.

It combines fun play with learning focused on speech development.

The words, sounds and quizzes cover a wide variety of topics including fruits, animals, shapes, numbers and vegetables.

Learning is divided into three modes: letter and word identification (through sight and sound), spelling and quizzes.

Note that the book requires 3 AAA batteries that are not included.

What we like about it:

  • The book is packed with lots of different activities that combine fun and learning.
  • Very interactive – engages kids more actively than most other sound books.
  • Perfect for on-the-go learning. It’s light and the volume is not too high that it will disturb other people around.
  • Good quality and durable – perfect for toddlers.

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