Updated: May 16, 2019
Toy of the Week: Play Cars
Buy on Amazon ($19.99 each)
What is a play car?
Any toy vehicle will do. Most toddlers love playing with cars, trucks, planes, recycling trucks, trains…you name it!
Using vehicles to help your child’s speech and language development:
For children who are preverbal, using vehicles is a great way to encourage imitating environmental sounds. Think “vroom,” “choo choo,” “eeooeeoo,” “honk honk,” and “beep.” The parent and speech-language pathologist should model these sounds A LOT. Use the same sounds every time you play with particular vehicles, and the child should be on their way to imitating in no time.
For children who are verbal, expand on their ideas to create new and exciting play and language opportunities beyond “car” and “go.” Have a race, take the cars on an adventure around the living room furniture. For those entering the pretend play stage of development, have the police car and fire truck respond to an emergency or have the train take people on a vacation.
Receptively, using vehicles is a great way to teach location concepts. If you are playing in the living room or bedroom, there should naturally be furniture around. Get moving and push the vehicles under the chair, over the table, or make the plane fall in the basket. Once the kiddo is hooked, give them some directions to follow to build auditory comprehension, “can you drive your car over the table?” or “let’s put the police car behind the chair.”