Toys are the best way to practise language while having fun with your child. Find our previous article Five great toys for developing your child’s language here. See below for five more toys to help to get your child talking!

Train sets and cars

With these favourites, you can help your child to learn the following:

  • Beginning words (protowords) – if your child is only just starting to talk, you can focus on some playful words such as “beep” and “vroom”.
  • Vocabulary – different types of transport such as bus, tram, boat, bicycle and so on as well as words such as road, track or bridge.
  • Adjectives – such as ‘big’, ‘small’, ‘long’, ‘short’ as well as colours. Once your child is familiar with these, you can have them attempt to ask for the car or train using short phrases, such as “I want the blue car”.
  • Social skills – sharing and taking turns to push the cars and trains.
  • Songs – “The Wheels on the bus” and “Hurry! Hurry! Drive the fire truck” are some favourites here at the CDC. Remember to sing slowly with your child to give them a chance to learn the words and actions.


Dressing-up costumes
  • Dramatic play – pretend to be a doctor, a nurse or a chef and cook delicious food.
  • Clothing – the many different items; bags, hats, shoes or scarves make it easy to focus on colours and labels together.
  • ‘Wh’ questions – ask your child a variety of different questions “where is baby?”, “who is sleeping?”, “what are you cooking?”.
  • Vocabulary – use verbs associated with different professions or characters. Words such as “spray’ and ‘climb’ when pretending to be a fireman or ‘eat’, ‘cook’ or ‘drink’ while pretending to be a chef.


LEGO and blocks:
  • Vocabulary – use words such as “put on”, “pull”, “give”, “push”.
  • Concepts – label the different colours and if your child is ready, encourage them to ask for their favourite colours using a short phrase such as “I want the red block”.
  • Turn-taking – LEGO and blocks are great toys for this as you can construct things together.You can also take turns following and giving directions to each other e.g. “Put the red brick on top.”
  • Songs –sing songs such as the ‘Rainbow song’ if you have multi-coloured blocks. Children love songs and this will add a different element to learning!


  • Following instructions – get your child to follow a variety of directions from simple ones like, “Where’s the dog?” (one-step), to more complex ones, such as “Give me the circle, take out the square then clap your hands” (three-step).
  • Commenting – as your child puts a piece into the puzzle, comment on what he or she has done, e.g. “Circle in”, “You found the tail!”, depending on your child’s language ability.
  • Concepts – describe the attributes of different parts of the puzzle, using adjectives such as ‘huge’, ‘small’, ‘round’, ‘short’ and different colours.
  • Functions – if you are playing with inset puzzles, you could also work on functions, e.g. “Can you find the animal that flies?” with a puzzle with many different animals, or with a transport puzzle, “Find the one that goes in the sky”.


Marble run

Something for the older children. A favourite here at the CDC, providing many language opportunities:

  • Forming longer sentences – try to encourage longer sentences by including the size of the marble or the number of marbles they want, e.g. “Give me five marbles”.
  • Concepts – talk about quantity, size, prepositions (‘on’, ‘down’, ‘off’) as well as ‘same’ and ‘different’!
  • Social communication ­– sharing and taking turns as well as negotiation can be practised while building the marble run.
  • Pronouns – ‘me’, ‘you’, ‘I’ and ‘your’.


No matter what toy you choose, the most important thing is that you are playing and interacting, with your child. Always choose toys that you think your child will love and have fun with. The best way for children to learn is through play! Remember to allow your child to hear the different target words over and over again. This is important and will go a long way to developing their language!