Play & Learn Educational Toys: Walkie Talkie
Let's Talk Walkie Talkies
FOCUS: Walkie Talkies
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.
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.
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:
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).
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.
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.).
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.
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.
See how Focus on Toddler Talk can Start Boosting your child's Speech and Language today!
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