Monday, 28 December 2015

Did I Buy the Right Toys?

 Did I Buy the Right Toys?
Since it's right after Christmas, and we've all spent a small fortune on buying toys for our children, I'm wondering if we've bought the right kind of toys? 

Most families are buying video games, computers & talking electronic "things" to entertain our children. But I ask, is that the way to go? I read this article and found it interesting: Parents Are Buying their Kids All the Wrong Toys.

From what I've read and know from the speech world is that the best toys are ones that entice curiosity, promote joint attention, social skills and increase vocabulary. I am going to give you some ideas on what kind of targets I've used with these toys but remember you are playing with your kids not providing speech therapy (unless you are :).  

A few tips when playing with your kids:
1. Get on the floor- play with your kids down at their level. Sit down, lay on the floor, whatever, just get down to their level so they can see your face and especially your mouth.

2. Don't Ask too Many Questions. Parents often ask too many yes or no questions where there is a right and wrong answer. Open ended questions are better because they encourage conversation. Questions like: "where are the people going", "what are they going to do next" are best. 
A good rule of thumb is to ask 1 question and then make 10 statements- this ensures  you aren't going into "testing mode" with your child.

3. Response time. If you do ask questions give the kids time to respond. Don't answer for them unless you have waited and don't get a response. Wait 5-10 seconds and only fill in the information if your child is "stuck."

4. Model- model correct grammar and correct articulation of all sounds. If you child uses irregular past tense incorrectly you don't have to point it out just repeat the phrase correctly. Child,"I goed there." Parent "ohh you went there." For sounds, this is a great time for your child to see and hear great speech models.

Here is what I bought my kids:

1. Playmobil School Bus- This is great for using prepositions, and verbs (in, open, walking, driving, going, etc)! It lights up and my son, Buggy, absolutely adores it! He is just a year and is able to put the people in the bus and can make the lights turn on! 

2. Cars and Boat for bath time- The boat with cars in the bath tub is another great language opportunity. You have their undivided attention and they are usually happy in the water. I use this toy to talk about prepositions and descriptive words (in, open, wet) and colors.  You can also use following directions, depending on the age of your child. 

3.American Doll- This is a great one for older children. You can use the doll to ask a lot of open ended questions and target social skills. She is going to school- what do we do at school? How should we behave in the class? What would we do if....? Or just play!

4. People- my kids have Loving Family People and the house and they love them. Santa got the house a few years ago and I think it is the most used toy in our house. It is so great to target anything. You can play with the people and work on verbs, prepositions, possessives, and so much more! Love the house and people.
Warmest wishes for the Holiday Season,