Holiday Gift Guide - Speech Edition
Clients frequently ask me to recommend gifts around holiday time. I love this question because I have so many ideas and love to share them! Bonus, it’s an opportunity for parents to buy fun therapy materials that they may not otherwise choose to purchase. I have compiled my all-time favorite gifts for your little ones below with clickable links for most items! Enjoy and happy shopping!
I love this simple, but fun, gift for building language as well as motor skills. I use these tunnels as part of obstacle courses to work on words like: in/out, over/under, top/bottom, through. I also use it for building direction-following skills. Check out this website about building obstacle courses for more ideas!
I use farm sets for building almost all language skills. Beyond being obviously great for working on animal sounds and animal names, I also work on location concepts by telling kids where the animals should go (top/bottom, in/out, next to, near/far). I also work on following sequential directions such as first, next, last, and before/after, and “wh-“ questions (Who says moo?, Where is the cow?, When does the Rooster crow?).
It’s also great for imaginative play – pretend a snow storm in coming and the animals all have to help each other get in the barn before the storm!
When picking books for your little ones, look for ones with repeating phrases such as those by Eric Carle, predictable words such as those by Susan Boyton, or those that have repeating themes. I love all of these books as well as books that encourage creative thinking such as Daniel Tiger Books, The Book with No Pictures, and The Snowman. When picking books for your 5+ year old, look for books that develop vocabulary. At this age, children are learning an average of 3.5 words a day, and the best way to encourage that is through reading.
This is another great toy for building language across most categories! First, I use dolls to build vocabulary for body parts, clothing, and action words (baby sleeps, cries, crawls, walks, sits, eats). I also work on object function with baby dolls (bed is for sleeping, bottle is for drinking). Dolls are also a great toy for teaching social skills and building pretend play skills with your child: you can take turns playing with the doll or take turns with the doll during play!
I love all stacking toys because kids can play by themselves or they can interact with family members and friends. You can work on sequencing colors, sorting by color, and labeling colors. You can also work on concepts such as on/off, in/out, my turn/your turn, and I have/who has!