The Best Holiday Toys To Develop Speech and Language

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Santa is making his list and checking it twice! Who is ready for holiday shopping? This time of year, I always have several parents stop and ask me what toys they should get to help build language skills. Are you looking for toys and gifts that could benefit speech and language? Here are some of my favorite suggestions. I hope you can get a few ideas to pass along.

1.     LEGOs! In my opinion, you can’t have too many. Language goals they strengthen: following directions, sequencing steps, visual spatial, and let’s not forget fine motor (yes, it is related to articulation). Get the Duplo blocks and write sight words on the side! Start with small sets for beginners and pay attention to the age recommendations on the box. Get those little engineers building language!

2.     Spot It! There are many, many versions beyond the popular Original Spot It (Sports, Freeze, Gone Camping, Jr. Animals, Splash, Shopkins, Disney, etc.) Something for everyone. Great for building visual discrimination and perception, attention, focus, word finding, and since it is a group interactive game- perfect for opportunities to build social language. This is fun for a wide variety of ages. These make a perfect stocking stuffer.

3.     Activity books! I found some fantastic activity books at Target that are filled with language goals already written in them! For the little ones on your list, I really liked One of A Kind (A Search-and-Find Book). Some of the questions it asks, “Who’s facing the wrong way?” “Who’s crying?” “Who’s asleep?” So many opportunities to build language here. Another is I Spy On The Farm. On the stable page it asks you to find, “a scared elephant,” “an excited zebra.” These are perfect opportunities to discuss facial expressions and other social language behaviors- along with more visual discrimination. For bigger kids, I like FindIt! A Big Book of Seek & Find Adventures and Highlights Puzzle Mania: filled with coding, matching picture pairs, logic puzzle, and more.

4.    Thinkfun brand is always great: I like Code Master (Programming Logic Game) and Gravity Maze. Logic games are incredible ways to help build reasoning, problem solving, and sequencing skills.

5.     Create-A-City. You can find this in the arts and crafts section of Target. There is a “boy” and “girl” version. Fantastic opportunities for social language, prepositions, following directions (“After we go to the post office, let’s drive to the grocery store”). Discuss community helpers with the younger kids, how a city works, what makes a city (schools, police, roads, post office, fire, etc.).

6.    Green Science and 4M boxed projects. Great for the budding scientists on your Christmas list and most are under $20. I have found these at Michael’s Craft Stores and Target. Specifically the Potato Clock, Tin Can Robot, and Brush Robot. If you are working on following written multi-step directions, these are perfect.

7.     Books! I specifically recommend bypassing the princess and superhero books. The vocabulary is weak and sentence length is typically short. Two series I do like:
I Survived. These are NOT scary. They are action-packed, bestselling, short historical fiction chapter books and loved by boys and girls.
National Geographic Kids. Children love reading about animals! Animal Babies, Pandas, Owls, Safari, Predators. These are small enough to slip into stockings.

I hope you gathered some great ideas for your holiday shopping.


  1. Thank you for all the great ideas! I'm checking some out for session use AND gifts!

  2. Thanks for the great suggestions, Ashley! I'm off to look for some of these for family members now! Thank yu also for letting us link up!

  3. I need Spot It! Thanks for all the great suggestions!

    1. Spot it is the bomb! I have several kids with word-finding and this is fun to play. Thanks

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks for linking up. You have some fantastic ideas on your post!!

  5. Impressive Sweet Southern Speech that you took photos of a typical store store. This helps parents know your suggestions should be easy to find. Thanks for encouraging us to join in your fun and help out busy parents and others looking for educational gift ideas. ~Keri

  6. Thanks for the great suggestions and for the linkup!

  7. This is a wonderful list. Do you know in 33 years of doing this speech gig, I have only been asked a handful of times for Christmas gift suggestions? I wonder why?


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