As far as a kid is concerned, there is nothing better than playing with their favourite toy! By around the age of 4 months babies start to become interested in engaging with objects. This develops into exploration as toddlers, symbolic play as they get a little older with dramatic play flourishing by the time they are ready to start school.
Play is a very healthy and important part of language development and toys are a great way to support play. However in recent years marketing experts have (in my opinion) gone overboard and started capitalizing on a parent’s desire to provide their children with great toys to support their development. One study even reported parents having an average of 90 toys available for their toddlers to play with at home!
It can be hard to navigate what and how much to buy for your child which usually ends up with more than is really needed. When it comes to toys that support language development there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Less is more! Research shows children play more creatively and for longer periods with fewer toys available in their environment
- Toys that are open-ended – have no rules, beginning or end – are excellent for language development
- Toys or materials that encourage pretend play, creativity and problem solving are beneficial for children’s language learning
- Electronics are not necessary to ensure a healthy language and literacy development
- Letting your child explore their own natural environment, both indoors and outdoors, is just as important to play and language development as finding the right toy
I have put together a list of great toys that support language development in the early years. Enjoy!
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