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Play & Learn Educational Toys: Walkie Talkie

Play & Learn Educational Toys: Walkie Talkie

play learn educational toys walkie talkie
play learn educational toys walkie talkie

Let's Talk Walkie Talkies

 FOCUS: Walkie Talkies 

Speech Therapist      Dr Sandra McMahon PhD

If you are wanting children to talk then a toy that is ALL about TALKING has to be a winner. Kids love the mystery and feeling like they have a secret way to talk. This is a great indoor and outdoor toy. Play hide and seek around the house or at the park.  They can copy their super heroes, pretend to be police, fireman or the mysterious voice heard in shopping centres! They often have interesting buttons too! Nowadays they come in all different versions – old fashion Walkie Talkies, pretend watch Walkie Talkies or toy mobile phones. 

oBSERVE


With new toys it is always great to watch what children do without any directions or suggestions! (if safe of course). What do they do? What sounds, exclamations or words to they make? Do they recognise it? Do they just listen or to they make sounds/ say words too.

play learn educational toys walkie talkie

Communicating with others


Learning social interactional skills can take time. Modelling, what to do and saying things they can copy, is a great way to build game resilience. Walkie Talkies are great to encourage the following skills:

Building Early 

Conversational Skills


My turn to speak / your turn to speak or listen. This is the foundation of conversations. This is how Walkie Talkies work! Many late talkers do not respond when asked a question. They may show you things with pointing or their bodies but do not always start a "conversation".

If you are in one room with your child and maybe Daddy is in another room – then pointing isn’t going to work! You can say “but Daddy can’t see you! Let’s say Hi! etc.). Some children might make lots of noises and words that don’t always make sense – encouraging them to stop and listen encourages then to particulate in both sides of a conversation. 

Turn - Taking Skills


As noted the whole concept of Walkie Talkies is that people take turns to listen and talk. They are not fun if you want to do all the talking or nobody is waiting to hear you.

understanding of language comes before talking


If you want to encourage talking skills one of the foundation pre-speech skills is “auditory attention”. Children’s hearing might be fine but it doesn’t mean they are good at “listening”. Our FREE AUDITORY ATTENTION ONLINE SCREEN looks at whether children are building auditory attention skills. "Really listening" is important for learning.

​By the nature of Walkie talkies, if you are not in the room, children cannot “guess” what you are asking them. Often parents accidentally give clues by looking or pointing at things rather than encouraging toddlers to use their “listening skills” (e.g. asking them to give you the book – when it’s bed time and you’re also reaching for the book doesn’t mean they are listening to your request for the book – they could be just “guessing” what you want). ​

play learn educational toys walkie talkie

​If you are in another room and ask “bring me a book” – there are no clues. This can be a fun game. One adult is in a room and says can you bring me a “pencil” and the child can excitedly run it to them then back to see what they will ask for next. Have another adult with younger children or those that may need help to “listen” to the request. This adult can encourage them to listen to the request and follow through with the instruction. Start with really easy requests– just call their name through the Walkie talkie and encourage them to make some kind of vocal response (an exclamation! Oh! a laugh, a Hi). Reward them by getting excited ("wow I can hear you! You laughed!!!). The requests or instructions can also get more and more complex (e.g. “Can you bring me something you cuddle at night”, Find a ball and superman”).

​The use of Walkie Talkies can also help with Cause & Effect skills. This is another pre-speech foundation skill. This refers to building an understanding that “what I say and do will impact on things or people”. Playing the hide and seek by using the age old game “hot” and “cold” can help the child learn to infer if they are close or not by the “clue” given through the Walkie talkie. You could be hiding or you could hide a treat or snack. The child has to listen to see if they are “hot “or “cold” depending on where they go.​

spoken Speech & Language


Toys like the walkie talkie are great for encouraging  vocalisations – sometimes it might just be a grunt as they experiment with talking “into” the device. A giggle or a silly noise. All should be encourage as once vocalisations are made you can shape them into words.

For Children not really saying words, imitation is an important real key skill to develop. Some children might imitate physical actions but just not spoken words. Our FREE IMITATION SKILLS ONLINE SCREEN can indicate what imitation skills your child is using. This can inform you how to adapt your walkie talkie game to get the most out of the toy.


*Encourage them imitate your actions Pushing buttons, listen then talk

*Encourage them to copy Exclamations: OOH (when they hear a noise), beeeep when device indicates there is someone talking

*Imitating funny noises – aarrrh (like a pirate), blowing into the device

*Imitating animal noises – you could incorporate this into the finding gain describe above – you could have a box of toy animals and say “get the Mooooo” –What are you looking for ..is it a baa or a mooo?

Building new words & Sentences


Take a look in the “understanding section” and encourage the child to repeat back the instruction before they do it. Incorporate into the game that they “check” they heard by saying it too. Where did I say I was? “you tell me ‘in kitchen’).

For children using little sentences you can encourage early questions in the above hide and seek games (e.g., Are you in the ____; Is it big? Where is the ball?). Learning to use questions can really reduce that whinging and tantrums. If they can “ask for what they want” the whinging can really go down (even if it’s a simple form e.g. Where Teddy?). 

Speech Therapist      Dr Sandra McMahon PhD

Walkie Talkies are great for early narrative or story telling too. You can encourage them to give a blow by blow description of what they can see or are doing e.g., Tell me what you can see in the park/ in your room/ etc.).  

Speech TherapistDr Sandra McMahon PhD

Pretend play can build talking skills. Let’s pretend there is a fire. You sit here with the fire engine. Wait to see where the fire is. You can then call the “fireman” to tell them the fire is in the TV room – they can ask some questions e.g. is it a big fire, is the TV on fire or the lounge?) and come with their toy fire engine to “put out the fire”. If you swap roles you can model good examples of language. Even if their talking is limited reduce to down to “go, go truckie” or even just the “fire engine sound” as their way of telling you the fire engine is coming.

Speech TherapistDr Sandra McMahon PhD

And let’s not forget vocabulary – all the in, on, under, "next to" kinds of words can be incorporated into walkie talkie play. As you can’t use pointing as much the importance of these words are exaggerated! It is "under the couch, next to the tap" etc.

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Ideas for Home

Early Intervention Activities, Resources & Ideas for home. 

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Checklists 

Developmental Milestones & Online Checklists 

when do children start to talk

Games & Toys 

Educational Games and Toys.  With Printables!

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Books 

Educational Book resources with Printables 

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Phlat Ball – Speech Therapy Toys & How To Use Them

Phlat Ball - Speech Therapy Toys & How To Use Them!

Let's Talk 

​Phlat Ball

Focus: Phlat ball  

Speech              Therapist            Dr Sandra McMahon PhD
Phlat balls are flat discs that pop up into a ball shape. They are made of soft plastic and the “pop” time is random which adds to the fun of the game. Can be used as a Frisbee with a twist or just a fun ball. I like to place light soft toys or picture/ letter/ sight word cards on top so that the toy flies into the air when the toy pops – it encourage fun anticipation waiting for it to pop! If you put a couple of toys or cards on you can see who can catch one and they can tell you what the toy/letter/word is that they caught. If a child hasn’t seen one before you may need to demonstrate the toy as they often want to grab disc while it is flat and do not realise it will pop up.Main themes – waiting, changing shapes, motor skills (catching & throwing action words)

observe


Observe what they do with the toy when first given to them and before you start to play. It may not be obvious how “to play with them” at first. Do they notice they attach? Do they look at why it attached? 

What do they spontaneously “say” when they play with the toy? Do they have a “word” or way of describing how the ball changes (a surprised face, a wow, ooooh, look!, pop, ball now, flat now.

Do they think it’s funny or a bit scary when it pops?

Do they inspect it to try to see how it works?

Do they try different things with it? (sit on it, roll it like a wheel, try to bounce it, throw it up or forward)Can they push it hard enough to work or do they look puzzled if they don’t push it hard enough and it stays as a ball?

communicating with others


Communication: how the themes/ ideas of the toy encourages or give opportunities to practise social interactions

*Do they want you to look at the ball changing?

*Do they ask questions about how it works or ask for help? (hand it to you to make it pop again or uses words to ask for help)

*Do they communicate the emotions the ball evokes? (surprise, scare, delighted, excited)

*Can they wait patiently for the ball to pop or do they want to grab at it? This is a great game to encourage attention, waiting and turn taking skills. These are all skills we need to use when having a “conversation” with someone.

understanding of lanuage comes before talking


Understanding skills – words, sentences, ideas/themes/concepts, reading/literacy skills

Action words – suggest different things they can do with the ball and see if they change their actions accordingly eg push, roll, throw, kick, make it a wheel, waiting, tossing, releasing, changing

Similarities and differences of the ball as it changes (Does it change shape or colour?), it’s like a ball vs like a wheel

Gestures – do they show anticipation gestures – looking intently, jiggling or jumping as it gets more likely to pop, surprise gestures, pointing gestures to show they noticed the change or where it changed (eg pointing in the air)

Concepts: shapes flat vs round; time concepts: now, soon, later, nearly

Cognition: Count how long it takes to pop. Remember that number and see if the next one takes a longer or shorter time to pop.

Problem solving - Enocourages an understanding of “cause and effect” – if you push it goes flat, if you wait it pops; Can roll the ball easily because it is round but not so easy when it is flat.

Numbers: Time concepts and counting as wait for the ball to pop. See how many steps or how far it can roll before it pops.

spoken speech & language


Speech: saying sounds, exclamations, words, sentences, stories. Making gestures & facial expressions.

saying sounds


Pop, boom, wee, (as the Phlat ball pops up)

Speech Clarity


/p/ is an early developing sound and so words like “pop” are great first words to encourage. Encourage them to look at how your lips are squeezed together as you are “busting” to say “pop” as you are waiting for the ball to pop. /p/ is said with a build of air pressure behind the lips and so “holding” it back before popping out the /p/ sound encourages this sound pressure. Simliarly you can use a phrase “pop up” to encourage more /p/ sounds. Also early words like “go” are great as lots of children under three will say a /d/ for a /g/ sound – “go” -> “do”… You can model or practise the /g/ sound by repeating the/g/ sound as you are anticipating the ball to pop: “g,g,g,g,g,g,…GO”;

Saying words


Names of the things: ball, Frisbee, button

Names of action words: see above (rolling, tossing, flicking, exploding, changing, waiting)

Describing words: hard, flat, not bouncy, round, colours,

Other words: now, soon, going to, nearly, yet

  • Saying Sentences: Encourage them to repeat sentences at a length that matches their ability after you say it – after a few times of reading the book can they say the words and sentences by themselves?
  • By choosing words with different endings will help build spoken grammatical words eg popping, flatter, edges (word endings –ing, -er, plural ‘s’). These can then be put into sentences: rolling the ball (action word + a thing)The ball IS flat, The ball IS NOT popping (important little words – “is; pronouns – “he”)The ball popped in the air. The ball IS taking a long time. (encouraging longer sentences by adding a thing or a place)Sentences like "If I push it hard, it will take a long time", "It won’t roll because it is flat" helps develop the use of joining words ( e.g, “and”, “because”, “so”, If)
  • Saying more: Explain why they think it stays flat. Explain why it takes sometimes a long time and sometimes a short time to pop. Predict what might happen if we put something on top of the flat ball. What might happen if we put our fingers in the spaces when it is flat? What things are round and what things are flat.

Toy Teaching & Talking Tips Downloads 

EDUCATIONAL TEACHING & TALKING RESOURCES

Teaching & Talking Tips: Toys

DEVELOPING SPEECH, LANGUAGE & LITERACY SKILLS WHILE PLAYING  WITH A PHLAT BALL

 An Educational Teaching & Talking Tips PDF  jam packed full of ideas to help boost speech, language and literacy skills while playing with a Phlat Ball.  

BOOSTING SPEECH, LANGUAGE & LITERACY SKILLS WHILE BUILDING  WITH A MAGNETIC CONSTRUCTION KIT. 

 An Educational Teaching & Talking Tips PDF  jam packed full of ideas to help boost speech, language and literacy skills while building with a Magnetic Construction Kit.

Phlat Ball V3 RandomPhlat Ball Tornado Football - YellowTucker V2 TU85010 Phlat Ball

Speech Therapy Teaching & Talking Tips, Activities + Printables

Speech Therapy Teaching & Talking Tips, Activities + Printables

speech therapy teaching & talking tips activities printables

SpeechNet has a growing number of Speech Therapy based Teaching & Talking Tips, Activities and Printables for parents and educators.  The activities have an easy to follow printable to help guide the play to boost speech and language skills. If you are concerned or have a question about your child's speech and language development please feel free to send your question through our contact page and a speech therapist will answer.  

FREE Educational Toy Teaching & Talking Tips

Let's Focus On Bubbles


An action packed PDF showing how to use bubbles to build Social Communication Skills, Understanding of Language and Speech (sounds, words & sentences). FREE bubble recipes included! This FREE download is linked with our Bubbles Blog

Boosting Language with Skittles


An action packed PDF showing how to use SKITTLES to build Social Communication Skills, Understanding of Language and Speech (sounds, words & sentences). This FREE download is linked with our SKITTLES VIDEO BLOG

Encouraging Questions with Trains


An explanation and age appropriate examples of Encouraging Questions. Use this informative PDF to show you how to Encourage Questions while playing with TRAINS with your child. Take a look at the 4 levels of questions and how you can help encourage your child's question skills. This Free Printable is linked to our Encouraging Questions Train Blog

Developing Maths Vocabulary with Sand Toys


 Maths has a very specific vocabulary! Use this printable to get a jump start on your toddler's later maths success. With this informative Printable and Maths Vocabulary Chart you can help develop your child's Maths Vocabulary while playing with Sand Toys. This Free Printable is linked to our Maths Vocabulary Sand Play Video Blog

Educational Teaching & Talking Resources

Developing Speech, Language & Literacy Skills: Phlat Ball 


 An Educational Teaching & Talking Tips PDF jam packed full of ideas to help boost speech, language and literacy skills while playing with a Phlat Ball.

Developing Speech, Language & Literacy Skills: Magnetic Kit


 An Educational Teaching & Talking Tips PDF jam packed full of ideas to help boost speech, language and literacy skills while building with a Magnetic Construction Kit.

Developing Speech, Language & Literacy Skills: Where's My Teddy by Jex Smith


 An Educational Teaching & Talking Tips PDF jam packed full of ideas to help boost speech, language and literacy skills while reading.

Developing Speech, Language & Literacy Skills: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle


 An Educational Teaching & Talking Tips PDF jam packed full of ideas to help boost speech, language and literacy skills while reading.

At Home Everyday Routines: Video Blogs + FREE Printables

Building Language Moments At Home: Let's Talk Tooth Brushing


 This VIDEO blog guides you through the everyday tooth brushing routine. It takes ONE simple MOMENT in that routine to boost speech and language development. Along with the video it has a FREE PRINTABLE that parents can use as a prompt. Visit the Tooth Brushing Video Blog 

Building Language Moments At Home: Let's Talk Sunscreen


 This VIDEO blog guides you through the everyday applying sunscreen routine. It takes ONE simple MOMENT in that routine to boost speech and language development. Along with the video it has a FREE PRINTABLE that parents can use as a prompt. Visit the Sunscreen Video Blog

FREE Spelling List Helper Package

 How to HELP with Weekly Spelling Lists


 ARRGHHHH!! Weekly Spelling Lists!!

A blog series + Helper Package on how to HELP with Spelling and NOT just memorising skills.  Are you looking for a better way to REALLY help your child learn spelling. Something better than having the children memorize words for a Friday Spelling test only for them to forget them next week. They can write them in the list but can't seem to spell the very same words in a sentence! visit our spelling blog

Educational Toys: Bop It Developing Speech & Language Through Play

Educational Toys: Bop It Developing Speech & Language Through Play

educational toys Bop It play
Focus: Bop It!
Speech                Therapist           Dr Sandra McMahon PhD

As you are probably aware Bop It toys are a range of educational toys that requires the player to follow a series of commands issued through speakers by the toy.   Take a look at a video of me letting you know why I think bop it toys are a toy parents should keep in their parenting kit to help assist or develop several speech and cognitive (thinking) skills.   Watch the video for a full explanation on how you can play with the bob it! toy to help develop and boost your child's language development.  I will include our FOCUS explanations in the video helping breakdown each step of the process.

educational toys Bop It play

               What is "Processing Speed" & how is it important for learning?

Many believe that “thinking skills” can impact on language skills.

One “thinking skill” is to be able to think quickly (or quick enough to learn) and this is referred to as PROCESSING SPEED. Reduced processing speed can impact on a large range of skills:

  • Vocabulary Development:  One study showed that the speed of recognising words at 25 months was related to the rate of vocabulary growth over the second year of life.
  • Reading Development and reading performance has been linked to   processing speed.
  • Writing skills – handwriting can be slow and laboured.
  • Starting Tasks: Children may not begin a task due to problems organising time or materials, or due to reluctance, uncertainty, lack of confidence, or anxiety associated with slow processing speed. Other children may take more time to complete tasks because of problems maintaining focus.   While time is passing, these students may be   distracted or daydreaming, drawn to other, more interesting stimuli.
  • Emotional Frustrations and Anxiety about tasks – When everything is an effort and taking time because of reduced processing speed, children can complain their “brain is very tired.” They might melt down when starting to work or encountering a frustrating task; or they may refuse to work, be argumentative, or have tantrums because it is all just such an effort to  “think about it all quickly enough”.
  • Memory Skillswhile the child is taking time to process or think about one part of an instruction or task they may “forget” the rest of what they need  to do.

Rose, S., Feldman, J and Jankowski, J. (2009)A Cognitive Approach to the Development of Early Language. Child Dev. Jan-Feb 80(1): 134-150

Marchman, V.,  Adams, K., . Loi, E, Fernald, A, Feldman, H. (2016) Early language processing efficiency predicts later receptive vocabulary outcomes in children born preterm. Child Neuropsychol. 2016; 22(6): 649–665.  

Let's Talk Play

educational toys Bop It play

We hear a lot about how Play is important to a child’s development.

How imperative it is for early childhood teachers and parents to foster children’s development through play.  

How language development through play supports early literacy and further school success!

But! How do you put it into practice? 

How can you actually boost and develop a child’s oral development while playing?  

The main thing is to actually interact with the child and the toy/s. Research is showing that adults interact with children and use less language when children are playing with electronic toys (e.g., ipads, toys that talk and flash lights, sing). However, the research is suggesting that these toys (including toys such as the Bop It) have value IF the adult continues to participate in the toy and the interactions. It is not the electronic toy in itself that reduces language learning, however the "way adults play with the child" when they are engaged with these eletronic based toys.

educational toys Bop It play

One way is for the parent or early childhood teacher to use - ask questions as part of the play.

But! Not any questions

The type or “Level” of question you use with a child needs to grow as their language grows. Blank Level of questions provides 4 levels of questions with each level getting harder and harder for children to answer. 

What are blank level questions?


Blank level questions begin by answering very direct, concrete questions (e.g., Where is the ball?)  and can be used in play with children from about 10-12 months of age. Blank Levels of questions then become increasingly more difficult until a child’s understanding and communicating abilities can deal with more abstract ideas like inferencing. This level of Blanks questions can typically become part of play at about the 4- 5 year of age level  (e.g., If we put a big block here what do you think might happen? Why would that happen?)

Blank Levels of questions is often a model used in many Speech Therapy Sessions in a play based approach.  

For your convenience, we have compiled lists of Blank level questions for you to use with specific toys and books.  These questions are broken up into levels with general ages for you to work through.  We have included Speech and Language information for you to use with these toys and books to help further develop speech and language.  By combining play and situationally appropriate questions you can help your child’s speech, language and learning development immediately & in the future.

EDUCATIONAL TEACHING & TALKING RESOURCES

Teaching & Talking Tips: Toys

DEVELOPING SPEECH, LANGUAGE & LITERACY SKILLS WHILE PLAYING  WITH A PHLAT BALL

 An Educational Teaching & Talking Tips PDF  jam packed full of ideas to help boost speech, language and literacy skills while playing with a Phlat Ball.  

BOOSTING SPEECH, LANGUAGE & LITERACY SKILLS WHILE BUILDING  WITH A MAGNETIC CONSTRUCTION KIT. 

 An Educational Teaching & Talking Tips PDF  jam packed full of ideas to help boost speech, language and literacy skills while building with a Magnetic Construction Kit.

Teaching & Talking Tips: Books 

BOOSTING SPEECH, LANGUAGE & LITERACY SKILLS WHILE Reading Books with Where's My Teddy by Jex Smith 

 An Educational Teaching & Talking Tips PDF  jam packed full of ideas to help boost speech, language and literacy skills while reading.

BOOSTING SPEECH, LANGUAGE & LITERACY SKILLS WHILE Reading Books with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

 An Educational Teaching & Talking Tips PDF  jam packed full of ideas to help boost speech, language and literacy skills while reading.

educational toys Bop It play

Online Program

See how Focus on Toddler Talk can Start Boosting your child's Speech and Language today!

educational toys Bop It play

Contact Us 

Contact us and an experienced Speech Pathologist will answer. We are here to help!

educational toys Bop It play

Ideas for Home

Early Intervention Activities, Resources & Ideas for home. 

educational toys Bop It play

Checklists 

Developmental Milestones & Online Checklists 

educational toys Bop It play

Games & Toys 

Educational Games and Toys.  With Printables!

educational toys Bop It play

Books 

Educational Book resources with Printables 

Sandra McMahon Speech Patholgoist

About the author


Dr Sandra McMahon, Speech Pathologist, PhD is clinical and research paediatric speech pathologists that has worked as the Director of Speech Pathology at a major metropolitan Children’s Hospital, lectures at University in the area of early child communication and literacy development & disorders and a consultant to Kindergartens and Child Care Centres. Dr McMahon is currently the Founder, Director and Senior Speech Pathologist of the multi-disciplinary SpeechNet Speech Pathology & Learning Centre. Dr McMahon is frequently invited to present to parent groups, educational facilities, Speech Pathology Clinical Development events & conferences. She is certified practising member of the Australian Speech Pathology Association.

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Playtime: Play & Learn with a Wind Up Toy

wind up toy playtime play learn

Playtime: Play & Learn with a Wind Up Toy

primary school books
Focus: Wind up toys
Speech Therapist      Dr Sandra McMahon PhD

Now if you are looking for an educational toy for a fun playtime  – a wind up toy is a great toy to play and learn with. They can be really cheap and grabbing a few different ones lead to hours of fun. Wind  up toys range from jumping or flipping soft toys to small plastic robots with sound effects too! Button push toys are great as children can push a button and toy will do something. A Wind up toy however provides a whole new level of learning! The key thing about a wind up toy is that toddlers often can’t wind them up by themselves! They have to communicate to make them work! This makes them a Top Toddler Talking Toy! They are so much fun they can be great for children as young as 11 months all the way through to Prep!

observe


With wind-up toys I usually wind them up once and let it go before handing it to the child to see what they do with it. Do they quickly get that it needs to be wound up again? Do they walk away because it has stopped moving and so deem it not interesting any more? See if they try to get it going themselves by shaking it, pushing it along to see if it will go again or do they “ask” you to do it in someway (e.g., hand it to you, point to the winder, use words to ask).

communicating with others


Children and adults alike make requests all day everyday. Can you pass me the salt, Email me that document by 12 O’clock! Toddlers need to be shown and supported to learn how to make requests (without the insistent whinging and/ or tantrums). We request from children from as early as 5 or 6 months of age.  We put our open hand out and say “Ta” when we want children to pass you the half eaten biscuit rather than have them throw it off the table top! This is showing them how to respond to requests and then make requests. 

Wind-up toys can really help you look at how your child asks for help in a natural play setting.

At first the requests might be made without words. They can use eye gaze to tell you what they want e.g., the child looks at you as if they are asking you for help. You can encourage that by looking with exaggerated expression between the toy when it stops and the child making a “OH NO” face. 

Stop yourself from just winding it up and making it go again just so you can see that delighted laugh again. Wait and see if your child gives you the toy before you offer to wind it up again. Parents are so good at guessing what their children want – but if you can encourage them to point (e.g, to the winder, use a word or ask in someway before you meet their need you will be encouraging them to make requests. At least getting them to look at you before you wind it up is a kind of request this will build early requesting skills.  

Even whining is communicating, particularly when your child is directing the whinge at you! If they are showing non-verbal requests, then encourage some vocalisations or words to “change that whinge” to words.
Understanding of language comes before talking

Wind-up toys are fantastic for joint attention skills and following commands. As the action of the toy is short-lived you can repeat and repeat the play and word routines to build talking skills. 

Following Commands & Auditory Attention


During playtime, before you wind-up the toy you can give commands for them to follow. These can be a simple command like “Give it to me” to more complex instruction such as “Get the robot and puppy and put them at the edge of the table for a race”.  Understanding simple requests such as “Give it me” or “Come here” or “Sit down” begin to emerge around 12 months of age.  If a child older than 18 months are not or can’t follow these kinds of directions, we know there are potentially delays with receptive language or their ability to attend to spoken language. It can look like “behaviour” or they are just not interested when young children ignore commands. However, it could also mean that pre-speech skills such as attending or recognising a request as a request are not optimised. 

Thinking Skills 


​Cognitive Skills refers to how a child thinks and learns. Wind-up toys are actually building early thinking skills of cause & effect and simple problem solving.

You may be surprised that these skills actually emerge at around the age of 12 months. Some late talkers “over use” these skills and work out ways to get what they want without having to talk! (e.g., pushing a stool near a cupboard so they can climb onto to reach the toy on the shelf!). However some late talkers do not readily see the connections between actions and consequences. Cause & effect means that the child understands that one action leads to an outcome. With the windup toy, you see how quickly your toddler understands that the toy must be wound up before it moves.

Simple problem solving refers to how a child uses first one option and then another to accomplish his needs or goals.

If your toddler doesn’t have the strength or fine motor skills to wind up the toy, they might try a few different actions first to get the toy moving (shake it, prod it, throw it!). Remember many parents assume that a child who doesn’t play with toys doesn’t like the toys. It is quite possible however that the toddler may need support to boost cognitive skills to build meaningful relationships between toys and the play routines. 

Vocabulary – This can be so broad and varied depending on the actual windup toys – you can have whole zoos of wind up animals or whole car parks of wind-up vehicles. The actions they make (march, crawl, swim, clap) to their rates of movement (fast or slow moving toys) can all build vocabulary. See the Spoken Speech section below for more playtime ideas!

spoken speech & language


If your toddler is not really using any words we often suggest trying for exclamations first! Windup toys can be great for these “Uh oh” or “Wow”? 

You can also have some target words in mind to encourage when playing with wind-up toys.

As noted above because you can get lots of repetition it gives you lots of times you can say the word. You want them to say the target word so by repeating it they hear the model over and over. This can encourage spoken imitation which is where new words can grow from.   Early requesting words such as “more” or “please” are great social words to start with wind-up toys. Try not to get in the stand-off situation though (i.e., I’m not winding it up if you don’t say "Ta"). This just can lead to frustration. You are better off “teaching and not testing”. This means you say what you want them to say “Ta!/ Please” as they give it to you over and over. Then once you have modelled it over and over, pause and wait for them to say “Ta/ please”. Really wait for a good slow count of three in your head while looking at them expectantly -like you are waiting for them to say something. If they don’t say it say it for them and try again next time.

Action words are abundant with wind-up toys and only limited by the number and type of wind-up toys you have.

Pick one or two each time if your child isn’t saying many words. Repetition of one or two action words is better than many words in the same play time.  

A really great first word with wind-up toys is “go.”

You can use anticipation of the toy starting by using the good old  “Ready, Set, Go!” phrase! Remember you need to get you child to attend to what your saying first to have any hope that they will copy or say the target words. Hold the wind-up near your eyes with a big smile & say with emphasis "Do you want it to GO, make it GO?”. Then you can deliberately slowly wind it up saying “Ready, Set … “ with each wind. Then you can say a big loud “GO!” as you put the toy down for it to start.  If you do this routine enough often the children will jump in with the “GO” to get you to start the toy!

For children using some words, you can encourage early sentences or a range of new action words.
E.g. “GO car”, “bound kangaroo”, “flap birdie”. You can ask what the toy is doing when it is going to try to get early grammatical words like ‘IS” “what IS the bird doing” – “The bird IS flapping!” If you say “is” louder and with emphasis the children will often copy that new part of the sentence too.  

Having races with different wind-up toys can be great fun. This lends to vocabulary such as fast, slow, faster, fastest, first, last. If the toy is robust you can get them to fall off the edge of a table or book ledge! This can bring the delight to a new height as well as a whole new range of vocabulary – falling vs fell; stopping BEFORE or AFTER it fell, crashing/ surviving!

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Bath Time Wind Up Swimming Crocodile or Turtle Bathtime Kids Toddler Toy12 Pc Assorted Wind Up Toys, Animals, Cars EtcToysmith Wind-Up Funny FaceWind Up Robot MS408 Tin ToyCalifornia Creations Sock Monkey Skippy Windup ToyCalifornia Creations Z Classics Monkey Carlton Windup ToyROAMING DINO Dinousar Wind Up ToyNever Fall Fire Engine Wind-UpWind Up Farm Animals - 6 PackWind Up Chattering Teeth - 6 PackWind Up Submarine
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