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Gifts to Boost Communication Skills this Holiday Season

The holiday season is one of festivities, family time, and warm tidings. For many, it also brings the annual gift whirlwind of what to buy and for whom. For parents of children with speech and communication disorders or delays, this process can come with some extra thought and consideration. Luckily, there are a variety of different toys and gifts available that can boost speech and communication skills. 

Girl playing Candy Land with a SLP

Blocks and building toys: A popular choice, especially for younger children. Toys like nesting cups, building blocks, and other construction sets that involve connecting different materials all hold a child’s attention and encourage both creativity and problem-solving. These toys are also a versatile choice as they can be used to practice communication skills, from following directions to naming different materials and interacting with other children or adults. 

Playhouses, trucks, dolls and food for pretend play: Looking for a toy to ignite the imagination, encourage collaborative play, and incorporate vocabulary skills? Items like houses, barns, doctor kits, dolls, trucks and kitchen sets canall help provide opportunities for role-playing, learning new words and encouraging creativity and imagination.

Active toys: Sometimes, kids just like to go! Any active toys: balls, scooters, bikes, tunnels, ball pits, and other activities that involve running, jumping, or bouncing are all great for getting kids up and moving. In addition to the sensory benefits these activities may have for children, mixing physical activity with language skills can be a beneficial combination

Books: Books are always advantageous when it comes to language practice. Whether it’s chapter books for older children, picture vocabulary books, or tactile books for younger children, your child is sure to get practice in reading, speaking, and practicing vocabulary words. If you want more specific practice, there are a variety of speech therapist recommended books that can assist with things like sounds or conversation

Art supplies: Another tried and true gift. Coloring books, paints, clay, and other artistic activities not only build fine motor skills but also encourage imagination and creativity. Art can also be a great tool for old and young kids alike to communicate ideas and express themselves. 

Quality time: If you’re looking for an alternative gift this year, or one that will cause a little less clutter, one of the best ways to encourage communication and connection is quality time. Whether it be a trip to the zoo or museum, baking together, a craft, or reading a story with them, lots of meaningful learning and interacting can come from doing activities with your child. Not only will they be exposed to new situations that prompt language and vocabulary practice, but they will also have an opportunity for back-and-forth communication with you and others. 

If you have concerns about your child’s language development, the Speech-Language Institute (SLI) offers an array of services. Speech-language pathologists can assess your child’s language skills and create a customized treatment plan to help improve communication. Schedule an appointment with an expert at SLI today by calling 215.780.3150.