Types of Toys and Games that Help Increase Vocabulary and Build Language Skills

"Language is the backbone of communication." 

Imagine being in a country where you don't speak the language. Asking for a specific direction or describing an uncommon item to a local person would be a Herculean task. Of course, you can use signs or body language, but words speak volumes. They simply make everything else easy and understandable.

Isn't this one of the major reasons why parents try, as often as possible, to include words when they show something to their children? They just don't feed their toddler potato without vocalizing the word 'potato'. They just don't wash their child's hands without combining action with words or words with actions, for that matter. What usually happens is conversation plus action equals language learning.

Making children learn a language surely requires a "show and tell" strategy and this strategy works better if developed and reinforced. What better reinforcements than toys and games, right?

But before we list down some amazing types of toys that help increase vocabulary and build language skills, it is important to note that early language proficiency has been linked to better performance in school, reading, writing skills and generally improved social skills.

Amazing Types of Toys that Help Increase Vocabulary and Build Language Skills

  • Speaking or Talking Toys

Talking toys are toys that recite alphabets, shapes, colours, animal names, etc. They help children familiarize themselves with each concept through auditory and visual reinforcements. Repeated exposure enables them to learn unfamiliar words and use them in their environment. The main advantage of these toys is that they can be played with independently. Your child can be engrossed with them while you do your work at a distance.

Although these types of toys are rarely available in the market, there are alternative toys that you can still provide your child with. Some of them are counting and memory-enhancing toys.

Note, however, that speaking or talking toys should not be confused with toys that imitate your words like the dancing cactus that simply repeats the things you say. Even then, the dancing cactus, which is available in our store, is also a lovely toy to gift to your children, nieces and nephews, and friends.

  • Blocks

Blocks are excellent toys to play with for directions, sizes, weight or distance. Words like high, low, small, big, far, near, left or right, etc. can be introduced through playing blocks.

Choose blocks with vocabularies such as animals, colours, numbers and shapes painted or written on each side of the blocks. You can even include another set of toys such as animal toys to reinforce animal vocabulary. Then play a game called "flip and match". Flip a block and whatever animal comes on top of it, the child has to present the same animal from the other set of toys.

Terms such as top, bottom, up, down, etc. can be learned from playing this game.

  • Cards

Cards like scavenger hunt cards are ideal for increasing vocabulary and developing language skills because learning lasts when words are learned by association. Hunting for physical items based on what the cards ask for is exactly doing that-- learning by doing/association. Children get to match words or pictures to real-life items in the house. The game is engaging and rewarding. 

  • Puzzles

Puzzles are definitely a must-buy for your children. They do not only help them boost their problem-solving skills but also teach them the art of sequencing, colour coding, etc. Terms such as first, second, third, next, last, light or dark shade, etc. are learned by playing with puzzles.

Jigsaw and panoramic puzzles are perfect toys to learn about animals, flowers, forests, buildings, vehicles, landscapes, astronomy, geography, etc.

  • Construction Toys

Construction toys are versatile and suitable for all children. These toys encourage creativity (imagination has no limit), develop problem-solving (how to use toy pieces to build a castle or an empire, etc.), improve social skills (sharing ideas, asking for help, collaborating, etc.), increase vocabulary (naming materials or parts of a building), and aid in following directions (putting parts on top or beside another part).

Snooplay has a variety of construction toys that you can gift your little loved ones with.

  • Pretend Plays

Pretend play is a great learning tool to assume various societal roles and learn different words while doing so. Toy sets like Play Kitchen or Play House introduce terms that kids are already familiar with. Playing with them is a wonderful opportunity to reinforce the learning that happens in real life. Toys like ambulances and firetrucks allow children to enact the work that paramedics and firemen do to be of service to others. 

Here is a link that leads you to a variety of pretend play toys that we are sure kids will love.

  • Books 

The list would not be complete if we miss out on books. They are excellent sources for expanding vocabulary, building social language skills, improving comprehension and memory, developing reading and writing skills, and learning sequencing and story development.

And if you ask me whether or not books are considered toys, I'd answer you right away that they are. Books can be as fun as any other toy. Being a creative and innovative parent heightens the fun and experience. Pick a short story and chop it into parts then let your child sequence them from the beginning to the end. If your child doesn't know how to read, you can read these parts yourself and let them identify which card comes first and so on.

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