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Toys, Games and Apps to Enhance Speech and Language Skills


  • Balls

One of the most popular toys among children is a ball.  It's often one of the first toys a child plays with and has interest in. Who can blame them? You can roll it, throw it, squeeze it, hit it and sometimes even bite it.  A ball is usually a favorite toy that lasts through childhood. Babies love them, toddlers love them, school age children love them, teenagers love them....need I say more? Balls are not only fun to play with but they can also enhance a child's speech and language skills.  Here are some ways that ball play can promote speech and language skills:


  • prepositions:  in, out, up, down, over, under, through, between and next to are just some! As you and your child play with balls, you can teach and reinforce these concepts by saying "up" while throwing the ball up into the air or give your child a command, "Throw up" or "Throw the ball up!", depending on their age and skill level.

  • size: big, small, bigger, smaller, biggest, smallest, etc. Some things you can say to your child are "Big!", "Big ball!" or "Where's the big one?".

  • Tactile concepts: soft, hard, furry, bumpy, rough, rubber, plastic, etc. Again, depending on your child's development, age and skill level, some helpful phrases during play would be, "Soft", "Hard ball", etc. 

  • Numbers and Counting: Get a group of balls and count them as you point to each one and say the number. You can also count your turns...throw the ball to your child and say "one!" and when they throw it back to you, say "Two!" and so on.

  • Social/Interactive skills: Playing ball can teach so many social skills such as turn taking, initiating, requests, intent, body language (e.g. hands out to indicate you're ready to catch the ball, pointing to the ball to indicate you want to play with the ball).


  • Blocks

Blocks are another great toy that promotes speech and language skills. Kids love blocks and there are so many ways to play with them. You can build a tower, knock down a tall building and stack as many as you can are just some of the fun ways to play with blocks. Some of the speech and language skills that can be reinforced by playing with blocks are:


  • prepositions: on, off, up, down, over, under, next to, behind, in front of, etc.

  • Colors: Simple blocks with primary colors are a great way to teach color words.

  • Social skills: You can have a great time playing with blocks alone but when you have a friend, or communication partner, it's even more fun! Talking about the blocks with your child is a great way to teach social skills: "Can I have a block?" "Let's build!", or "I want to make a tower with you!".

  • Shape: triangle, circle, round, square, rectangle, diamond, etc. Having your child play with a set that contains blocks of different shapes enhances shape concepts.

  • Cause and Effect

  • Problem Solving


  • Stacking/Nesting Toys

Stacking toys are another popular toy among young children.  They not only are fun but they also teach many different concepts relating to speech and language. 


  • prepositions

  • color

  • shape

  • size

  • numbers/Counting

  • problem solving

  • cause and effect



Once your child gets a little older, they usually love playing board games. Most speech and language pathologists use board games in their therapy to not only teach and reinforce speech and language skills but to also keep the interest and attention of the child.  Most classic children's games can be used to promote speech and language skills.  Here are a few of my favorite:




With limitations and guidance, children can learn from some great educational apps. The great thing about these apps is parents can use them at home for reinforcement and carryover of skills.  Just a few of my favorite speech and language ones are:


  • Articulation Station


  • Smarty Ears apps


  • Let's Name Things

  • Peek-A-Boo Barn Lite

  • TallyTots

  • My PlayHome Lite

  • Describe It To Me

  • Let's Name Things

  • Full Social Skills Builder

  • Bag Game

  • Story Dice











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