In past posts we’ve discussed the power of play – how engaging and playing with your child build a strong language skills. For most children and families, when you think of playing, you think of TOYS! With the wide range of toys available on the market it can seem overwhelming deciding which toys will work best for language engagement and learning.
Blogger and speech-language pathologist Sherry Artemenko has us covered by exploring exceptional toys, games and books that encourage creative play on her site Play on Words. On her site she does all the heavy lifting reviewing toys, games and books, creating written tutorials of creative ways to engage in language with your child for each item.
What’s her current favorite toy for language development? “Rural Road and Rail Set by Bigjigs Toys” proclaims Artemenko. The toy created for children 3+ contains magnetic train and tracks as well as road track for wheeled vehicles, “but it is the props that generate play across many themes,” says Artemenko. “Colorful accessories stimulate creativity and category thinking about farms, hospitals, towns, police and transportation which spawn story lines on many levels and themes. Great dialogue is sourced from a broad cast of characters – a conductor, nurse, police officer, and children. Wonderful pretend play iterates and evolves as kids move them about the set, rearranging the props, using their imagination to design a community. ”
What’s one of the key elements of great language toys? They have flexible props that initiate play, but don’t dictate it by being too closed rather than open ended. Think back to your childhood, and how a cardboard box could transform into a space ship, followed by a castle. It’s the flexibility of the toy that engages and grows your child’s language.
We look forward to reading more reviews by Artemenko and continuing to grow our own collection of toys here at ESHC!