The holiday season means shopping season! Am I right? All these Black Friday deals have me wanting to add a few in for myself, too. Wait, what? If you’re looking for some fun, educational toys for 3-6-year-olds, have no fear! I have a few recommendations for you!
Melissa and Doug Sticker Pads
I use these ALL the time in therapy. They are reusable and fun (and inexpensive). If you have been with us from the beginning, you’ve probably heard me rave about them and how I use the sticker pads in various ways (requesting, generating sentences, taking turns). For the price, they are perfect and definitely make my list of favorite toys for this age! Get them here.
Sitting down with your kiddo to do some pretend play is one of the best ways to build their language skills. You can ask them questions about what they are doing, carry on basic conversations about the play scheme and encourage imagination all at the same time. These are some of my favorites.
Zingo is an all-time favorite game! I love it so much I wrote a whole post about it! It is a great way to work on vocabulary and sentence building. When a card exits the dispenser in the game, have your kid label each card and then either answer a question about the item or come up with a sentence about the item on the card. It’s fun for all! Get it here.
Movi for Simon Says and Following Directions
Are you looking for fun games to help your kid listen to and follow directions? Then Movi might be your answer! Let Movi do the work, and you can concentrate on playing the different language games Movi offers. It also helps with following directions and teaching basic concepts. Get it here.
VTech Touch and Learn Table
We have this table at our house (along with the preschool expansion pack), and it is excellent! William will sit and play around with the different functions (and he is not a kid that sits down much for anything) for quite some time. The preschool pack asks your kid questions that help with phonological awareness skills, language, and vocabulary. Get it here.
Games like Catch the Fox, Shark bite, and Pop Up Pirate are great for working on speech sounds with your kid. Print out a list of words that include the sound your child has trouble with, and have him practice saying the sound in words and sentences before he gets a turn on the game! Quick, easy and most of all fun!
PlayMags are great for this age, and it is an excellent alternative to Magnatile, which are quite a bit more expensive. We have this brand at home, and they work awesome for half the price. Using these to build is a great way to spark creativity, planning, and problem-solving with your little ones. Get them here.
A basic memory game is a great way to work the concept of same/different. I also use memory games for sentence building. When a kid turns over a card, she has to make up a sentence about that picture. Sometimes I have students list out as many details about each picture item, as well. There are so many options, and different character ones, such as Paw Patrol, Frozen and others. Get it here.
Alphabots and Leapfrog Scribble and Write
Both of these toys are amazing for teaching letters and letter sounds. We have Alphabots at the clinic, and my son has the Scribble and Write at home. Both of these toys are entertaining enough that it disguises all the learning that is going on!
My Top Speech and Language Tips for this Age:
Be a great model for grammar
When your child uses incorrect grammar, model the utterance back to her using the appropriate sentence structure so she can hear the correct way of speaking. You can also have your child describe to you the things she is doing using complete sentences.
Continue to read together to develop language and problem solving skills
Read together daily if possible. When reading at home, have your kiddo answer questions about what he is reading, make predictions about what might happen next, summarize key events in the story, discuss character feelings, and problem solve story solutions.
Help your child speak slowly and as clearly as possible
Model slow and easy speech for your kid, so he can easily imitate. When your kiddo speaks too fast or if his speech is unclear (even if you understand,) ask him to slow down and speak again so you can hear all of his words. Let him know it helps you and others understand what it is he needs. If there is a sound your child is having trouble with, try to sit down and play a game and help him produce the sound correctly to earn turns in the game.
Think about introducing new concepts and multi-step directions
When you talk and play with your child, think of the many ways you could introduce a variety of concepts into play. For example, concepts like opposite pairs (stop/go, over/under, first/last) and various categories (animals, foods, people) to teach. You could also practice giving your kiddo directions with more than one step when playing (Touch your head and then spin in a circle) to help him follow more complex instructions.
Ask questions and have your child ask you questions
Start asking those –wh questions (who, what, when, where, why) as you are playing with your kiddo to help build his language comprehension. “Who is hiding behind the door?” “What is the little boy in the picture doing?” “Why do you think the girl is sad?” –Who, what and where questions are the easiest ones to start teaching with younger kids.
And, that covers it for educational toys and tips for ages 3-6!
What ideas do you have?
And, in case you missed it, here are ages 0-3 recommendations.