Say It Loud, Say It Proud: 5 Best Educational Toys for Speech

We all want to inspire confidence in our children—to give them the skills they need to succeed in school and in a rapidly changing world. What are the best possible educational toys to help with speech, phonics and articulation, some of the most challenging subjects to teach?

As with science, reading, or math skills, it takes practice and patience. With these exciting new toys and tools, learning to speak clearly and confidently becomes an adventure in itself. Here are just a few of the best toys to help your child with speech so they can communicate well and with purpose:

Educational Insights Smart Talk

This simple little device can make a world of difference! With a system of cards and audio, visuals help to prompt the learner to say the word for the image aloud. Great for children who struggle with speech and articulation as well as English language learners, Educational Insights Smart Talk connects an image to a verbal response.

Some of the best toys for visual learners, Educational Insights Smart Talk uses lights and sounds to help keep your child on track and make connections between sounds, images and words.

Pros

  • Clear audio—great for developing listening skills
  • Great for English language learners
  • Cards included with purchase
  • Headphone jack adaptable
  • Improves listening, speaking and image recognition
  • Guide included

Cons

  • Batteries not included
  • AC adapter not included

Toobaloo Auditory Feedback Phone

It doesn’t get much more basic and effective than the Blue Toobaloo Auditory Feedback Phone. It comes in a variety of fun colors, and the concept is simple: speak into one end and hear your own voice on the other end.

If necessary, a headset is sold separately, to help keep the Toobaloo in place. If your child is an auditory learner and they need to hear their own voice while reading aloud, or would benefit from listening to themselves speak without using recording equipment, the Toobaloo Auditory Feedback phone is an easy solution to this need.

Pros

  • Fun colors
  • Simple to use
  • Effective for listening and reading skills
  • Great for auditory learners
  • Encourages vocalization
  • Affordable
  • Great for special needs learners

Cons

  • Best for school aged children—toddlers may not understand the concept
  • May not be appropriate for visual learners

Learning Resources Conversation Cubes

Initiating conversation with your language learner is an extremely important aspect of building speech skills. When so much is communicated through text messaging and when we can receive what we want with a click or a gesture, the art of conversation is going by the wayside.

The Learning Resources Conversation Cubes are a great, simple way to help your child develop sentence structure, empathy and conversational skills. With over 30 questions that break the ice—from “Do you have a pet?” to “What do you like to do in cold weather?”, these questions start a report and inspire conversations that go beyond the questions themselves. Talking about themselves is a fantastic way for children to learn how to form clear and articulate thoughts.

Pros

  • Great for English language learners
  • Activity guide included
  • Foam cubes—soft and safe
  • Promotes conversation and listening skills
  • Bright, vivid colors

Cons

  • Very simple concept
  • Will eventually run out of questions
  • Not ideal for toddlers or very young children

Educational Insights Hot Dots Jr. Phonics Fun Set with Pen

Combining phonics with speech and language learning usually involves a lot of easy-to-lose pieces and supplementary texts. Not so with Educational Insights Hot Dots Jr. Phonics Fun Set! All you and your child need are the “hot dots” cards and the accompanying talking pen, featuring Ace the Dog.

Dots on the cards indicate a picture, your child speaks the word for the picture, and Ace confirms whether they are correct. Rather than harsh discipline, Hot Dots Jr. Phonics Fun Set will encourage language learning and reading comprehension skills. Let your child set their own pace with this fun and informative set.

Pros

  • Fun to use
  • Easy to learn
  • Great for self-starters
  • Cards and pen included
  • Especially great for phonics practice
  • Guide included
  • Lessons for parts of speech, vowels and more

Cons

  • Batteries not included
  • May not be appropriate for younger children

Story Retell Fun Deck Cards

Super Duper® Publications has created a card game that helps with recalling specific details in a short story, which helps with reading comprehension, and retelling the story in order of events helps children with both memory and sentence structures.

Each story is comprised of 5-10 sentences, so it is appropriate for early readers. As fun as it is versatile, this game also includes ideas for games. Listening, memory and recalling details all combine with fun and relatable stories that engage your children as they learn how speaking, auditory learning and memory all work together.

After your child has mastered these stories, a corresponding app can help to create even more narratives. Super Duper® Publications also has a series of educational card games available for other learning needs.

Pros

  • Fun illustrations
  • Engages memory, listening skills and speaking skills
  • Versatile—several ways of using the cards
  • Includes tin for easy storage
  • 60 cards—20 for 2nd and 3rd grade reading level 40 for 4th and 5th grade reading level
  • Stories are fairly short—no need for excessive detail
  • Includes tips and game ideas

Cons

  • App for Android only
  • Very limited reading levels
  • Cards easy to lose
  • Very basic concept—may bore some learners

These are only a few of many educational toys to help with speech and articulation—there are many more available for many different ages. The toys listed above are designed to help your child learn valuable communication skills that will benefit them for a lifetime and help them gain confidence in their abilities of speaking, listening and recalling information.

The toys listed above are, for the most part, for school-aged children, English language learners and special needs learners. Speech pathologists, language teachers and parents can all work together, using these simple toys, to help kids gain the speaking and phonics confidence they will need for years to come.