Language Development Toys For Kids
These language development toys are appropriate for children ages 4-8 depending on interests and language level. There is something for everyone here.
Top "Must Have" List
Problem-Solving Board Games
These problem-solving board games are fantastic language development toys!! Your child will develop important cognitive skills just by playing with friends and family.
Why: Problem-solving skills are important for academic and life skills development.
- Guess Who targets the important cognitive skill of deductive reasoning. Figuring out what something is by what it is not.
- Connect four practices planning and reasoning skills. Children also have to attend to what they are doing and the other player which can do wonders for attention skills.
- Spot It works on visual memory, attention, and matching abilities.
- Memory does a wonderful job working on visual memory and social skills while building vocabulary.
How: Follow the directions on the game. If your child seems too young for one game, don’t shy away. You can always adapt them to meet the needs of your child.
Language Development Toys: Board games
These language board games are fantastic!! Your child will develop important speech language skills without even trying. I own all of the games listed below and find them invaluable during speech therapy sessions.
- Hedbanz is a great game that targets categorization and description skills, vocabulary development, and the ability to ask and answer yes/no questions. I love this game so much I wrote a whole post about it! Read about it here.
- Story Cubes is my new favorite game. It is a wonderful and fun way to practice oral story telling skills and narrative structure.
- Apples to Apples or Apples to Apples Junior is a great game for adults and kids. It works on vocabulary, comparison, similarities, and differences.
- The Match It puzzles target a variety of language skills ranging from early developing sequencing abilities to letter recognition!
These toys are for younger kids; however, they can be adapted for older children too.
Why: Sorting skills are important for learning math, categorization, counting, matching, and comparison tasks.
- 50 Counting Bears with 5 Cups - I use them with younger toddlers often to teach colors and matching. However, I noticed that my older kids like using them during math vocabulary tasks (i.e., more, less, add, take away).
- The Super Sorting Pie is similar; however, it works on describing and grouping based on attributes and fine motor skills. Also, it is cute!
How: Sort objects by color or size. Make 2 piles and talk about which pile has more or less. Practice taking away and adding. Describe shapes. Make patterns. Practice the concepts “before,” “after,” “every other,” “many,” and/or “few.”
Building and Creating Games
Creative games where children get to build freely develops cognitive skills such as constructive abilities, problem-solving, and creativity. These games also naturally lend to language development through conversation, oral problem-solving, and exposure to new vocabulary.
- Play-Doh - I usually keep it stored away for younger toddlers but was amazed the other day at how much 6-9-year-olds LOVE playing with it. You can target description tasks, sequencing, and verbs.
- Legos Bricks & More Builders of Tomorrow is a breath of fresh air from the usual Legos found in stores these days. This is one of the few sets for older children that isn’t “paint by number.” Instead of following step-by-step directions, children get to create their own masterpieces.
How: Build creations and talk about building vocabulary. Describe shapes.
Children need to get outside more. It breaks my heart when I ask my students if they played in the snow over the weekend and they all say “no!” This may be a soapbox of mine so I apologize for the preaching, but children NEED to be outside!! It is crucial for their development and health!!
- Binoculars give children an extra push to get outside and explore. This exploration will expose them to a lot of vocabulary learning opportunities!
- The Adventure Kids Bug Catcher falls along the same lines. However, this gift is more appropriate for children who already like bugs. If they do, this is a great gift for creating houses for bugs, learning about science, and more!
How: Name all the things you can find with binoculars. Explore new parks and places. Build a home for the bug and name all the things that the living creature will need to survive. Talk about where bugs come from and how they live. Brainstorm similar and different bugs.
Pretend play does wonders for the imagination and cognitive development. Also, with all the apps, TV, and video games being so accessible, imagination has taken a dive.
- Pretend and Play School Set is an excellent “toy.” Most children LOVE to play school. They can practice all their academic skills while they play.
- Walkie Talkies are wonderful. This was my favorite game as a child. They are great for encouraging expressive language practice.
How: For the teaching game, you can work on all academic skills and social skills. Using the walkie talkie, practice giving directions, describing surroundings, and/or creating imaginary games. Really, anything since walkie talkie naturally will have your child talking!!
Charts, Poster, Bean Bags, Oh My!
This is my miscellaneous group. These odds and ends are invaluable! These educational games target a wide range of skills.
- Insights Shapes Beanbags are always a hit. Kids love to throw and toss.
- The Magnetic Responsibility Chart speaks for itself. What a fun way to encourage chores and learn time concepts. It is a great way to stay organized too.
How: You can use these items to work on articulation, shapes, following directions, time concepts such as days of the weeks, months, yesterday, tomorrow, etc…Ho w you play these games to target language development will depend on your child abilities and the game you choose.
School Age Games
Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech-language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference. Follow Bridget at Facebook and Pinterest for more fun!
Author of child language development eBook series