Have a new talker on your list this holiday season? Use our saavy toy list created by SLP’s to learn top toys to promote those precious first words, how to target them, and what words to pair with each toy!

Toys to Promote First Words 1 - Chatterboxes

1) Balls

HOW? Target Turn Taking (a precursor to conversation) by announcing turns as you roll, bounce, or push the ball back and forth. Be sure to announce each turn as you roll the ball. i.e “Mommy’s Turn!” “Michael’s Turn!” Have 1 adult sit behind the child to assist. Passing a ball requires eye contact, learning to ‘wait’ and allows for moments to teach basic concepts like ‘stop’ and go!’ We love these Baby Einstein Roller Activity Balls.


  • Ball
  • Go
  • Stop
  • More
  • Push

Toys to Promote First Words 2 - Chatterboxes

2) Blocks:

HOW? Use blocks to teach size concepts, like big and little, also teach color, quantity concepts. Blocks also naturally lend to encourage social interaction, collaboration and problem solving. Blocks are great for assigning a word to an action, using repetition. For example, build a tower. Each time you place a block on the tower, say, “Up!” Blocks promote repetition and modeling of sounds. Once your tower is ready, knock it down, and model “Ready, Set, …..GO!” Now, do it again, and again, and use this carrier phrase, “Ready, Set…..” and see if your child will fill in “GO!” We love the Melissa & Doug Match & Build Block Set!


  • Up
  • Down
  • Go
  • Boom
  • Uh-Oh
  • Big

Toys to Promote First Words 3 - Chatterboxes

3) A Farm Set

HOW? Did you know making Animal Sounds is associated with speech/language development? A Farm set is also great for introducing first verbs, and 1st prepositional phrases. Its excellent for promoting early 2 word combos. Two Word Examples include: Cow Jumps! Or “Duck Sleeps”, “Horse Out” or “Pig In.” We love the Fisher Price Farm Set with Animal Sounds!


  • Bah
  • Moo
  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Hop

Toys to Promote First Words 4 - Chatterboxes

4) Bubbles: Every SLP uses bubbles with kids under 3!

HOW? The words naturally associated with bubble play happen to start with 1st developing sounds, P/B/M/. Bubbles also encourage turn taking, and requesting, while promoting social interaction and eye contact. Take the bubble wand and blog a few bubbles, and then wait. Observe your child, in silence. Model “More?” Repeat. Bubbles are also great for early 2 word combinations, such as “More bubble” or “bubble pop.” We love the Gymboree Ooodles Bubbles!


  • Pop
  • Bubble
  • More
  • Blow
  • Up
  • Bye!

Toys to Promote First Words 5 - Chatterboxes

5) Vehicles & Things that GO!

HOW? Vehicles are a great way to model environmental sounds. Often times first words come from 1st sounds, such as “woo woo!” or “beep-beep!” Model driving a truck through mud, “brrrrr” and an 18 month old is likely to imitate your action and your sound. We Love the Little People Clip-Clop Stable!


  • Beep
  • Vroom!
  • Stop
  • Car
  • Drive

Toys to Promote First Words 6 - Chatterboxes

6) Baby doll

HOW? Modeling of daily routines and social situations. Also excellent tool for early emotions and introduces pretend play concepts. We love the super soft, Baby’s First Kisses Baby Doll!


  • Baby
  • Cry
  • Milk
  • Shhh
  • Hug

Toys to Promote First Words 7 - Chatterboxes

7) A Drum/Musical Instruments

HOW? Another fabulous way to foster turn taking skills, “Mommy’s Turn!” “Brady’s Turn!” You can also Use Music to add rhythm to your speech. For example, tap a drum for each word in the phrase “more please.” Use repetition and melody. Or, Model an early sound each time you bang a drum. We love the Bright Starts Light & Giggle Drum


  • Boom
  • Music
  • Hit
  • Drum
  • Go

Toys to Promote First Words 8 - Chatterboxes

8) Pop Up Toys

HOW? While building anticipation and excitement. Pop up Toys teach Cause and Effect, while improving fine motor skills as well as color matching. Great for introducing “Where” Questions. We love the Pop Up Pals from Barnes & Noble!


  • Pop!
  • All Gone!
  • Where?
  • Open
  • Close

Toys to Promote First Words 9 - Chatterboxes

9) Hammer/ Pounding Ball Toys

HOW? Aside from the fact that all kids love to hit the balls with the hammer, it’s great for teaching requesting. For example, take all the balls and place them behind your back, or under your leg. Ask, “What do you want?” then model, “Ball?” You may also incorporate cause and effect, as well as environmental sounds, “wee!” as the ball rolls down the ramp, and basic concepts, like up, down, in, and out. We love the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench.


  • Down
  • Up
  • More
  • Ball
  • In
  • Out

Toys to Promote First Words 10 - Chatterboxes

10) Sensory Boxes:

HOW? Fill a box with Sand, or Rice, or Dry Noodles, or even Shaving Cream. Add Small Trucks, Figurines, or Toy Animals. Sensory Boxes are excellent for labeling objects. Having the sensory experience of feeling the objects in the material you have chosen will engage the child for longer. Now you can model words like, “Bus!” or “Cow!” or “Boy!” You may also hide an object in the box, and ask your child to find it! Make up a fun phrase and add lots of melody, like, “Cow, Where ARE you?” and repeat while searching for the cow.


  • FIND
  • NOUNS- (labeling toys in box)

Any other favorites on your list? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Visit us at www.teamchatterboxes.com for a free Initial Phone Consultation or for more information on our services!

Chatterboxes offers quality Speech-Language & Occupational Therapy in Boston and Lexington, MA. We also offer flexible service options for your family. Call us today at 617-969-8255 or visit us at 121 Mt Vernon St, Boston, MA 02108 and 35 Bedford Street, Unit 6, Lexington, MA for our Lexington location.