Ask and you shall receive! We did a recent poll if you’d like a series of age-based toys and tips post, and you did. So, here we are!
We’ll start with educational toys for babies and toddlers up to three.
Below are some recommendations for toddlers, beginning talkers, and kiddos who don’t have many spoken words yet:
Ages 0-3 Toys
Roll and Play Dice
This roll and play dice game is a great first game for toddlers. It teaches many concepts like imitation, emotions, colors, numbers, and animals. The best part about this game is how compact and easy it is to take on the go! My son loves playing with the dice, and it is often a gift we give to others. Just gave it to Sharon’s little one who turned two! Get it here.
Wind-up toys/pullback cars
Wind-up toys and pull back cars are great because they are cause/effect toys. For a child to see more movement from one of the toys, he needs to request “more.” Or, even add words to that request “more car.” They’ll last forever. Even older kids will continue to play with these, as well. Fun for the whole family! Get the pull-back cars here. | Get the wind-up toys here.
Wind up toys:
Kids love the surprise of finding objects. A mailbox is great for that! You can hide various household and everyday items (ball, brush, toy car) inside. When your kiddo opens the mailbox, she has to name the object she found before going on to the next item. You could also describe and talk about each piece. Ex: “The car is yellow, fast and drives on the road.” “We use a brush to make our hair neat.” Get “what’s in the box” here. | Get the toy mailbox here.
What’s in the box:
Kids are usually motivated to play with the stamps and that motivation gets many toddlers to make requests and label each one they want to use. I love these Melissa & Doug stamps because they come with familiar objects that are great first words to teach–and comes with a four-color stamp pad which is great for requesting the color they want to stamp, as well. Get it here.
Keeping it real simple here with this recommendation, but blocks are honestly a fan favorite. And sometimes, with kiddos, simple can be better. Not only are there opportunities to have your child request what they want (blue block, more blocks), but also building together really sparks creativity and imagination. Can’t beat that! Get them here.
Bubbles are usually one of the fist items I grab from the shelf with a beginning or late talker. Little ones are simply fascinated by them and always want “more.” It’s a great way to start teaching requests and sounds to make (ex: m for “more” b for bubbles and p for “pop). In order to get “more bubbles,” they have to attempt some communication. And, it is usually pretty successful. Highly encourage for teaching talking skills. Get some here.
Here are some of my favorite books for this age:
Ages 0-3 Tips to encourage talking
Encourage your kiddo to make requests
One great way to help your child speak more often is to encourage him to make requests whenever possible. This encouragement shows him that his words have power and meaning. It is helpful to find motivating items, so he’ll verbalize the request. Examples could be snacks/dessert and cause/effect toys. To get another M&M or a turn with the toy, she needs to request by using that word. If the word is too difficult, you can always help by modeling the first sound in the word and see if she can imitate that. Reward verbal attempts, even if the sound/sounds are not all accurate or present.
Expand on your child’s utterances
When your little one does make a simple comment/request, add to what she is saying. For example, if she says “ball” you could say “the blue ball is bouncing.” Or, “more” you could add “more bubbles, please.” That way she’s hearing how to expand and add to her spoken words.
Sit down on the floor and play together
Playtime is the perfect opportunity for kids to learn new words and watch you model language. Parenting is busy and hectic (I totally get it) but try to sit down and play with your child at least once a day. Follow his lead with what he likes to do and play with and comment on what he’s doing. Ask her questions (even if she can’t answer) and introduce new vocabulary and concepts while having fun.
Read as often and as early as possible
Did I mention to read? Oh, and then how about try reading some more. It’s never too early to start reading to your kiddo! It’s one of the best ways to expose him to new vocabulary. Don’t get discouraged if she can’t sit or listen for too long at first. Meet her where she is. If she can only tolerate a minute or two, that’s fine. She’ll build up her tolerance. Some kids love to stand and read too, which is awesome!
Talk through everyday activities and what you are doing
It may feel silly, but have a conversation with your kiddo, even when she isn’t speaking. Talk through what you are doing, where you are going, what you see, or just about anything. The more words he hears, the more he will retain. I talk about everything. “Mommy’s washing the dishes. Can’t for you to help one day.” Ha!
I love using YouTube to motivate kids to request or label words. I find various cartoon songs or kid show channels that Will or a client enjoys. Then I let them watch short one-minute clips of that video. After a minute or so, I pause the video and ask them to request more, label an object/picture card, or practice a specific speech sound. I reward the effort (not accuracy) with additional video time. Kids love it. They get to watch what they enjoy and learn, too! Win-win.
And, that’s about it for babies and toddlers educational toys.