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December is well and truly upon us now! If you are anything like me, you have barely even started a list for your Christmas gift shopping, let alone made it to the shops yet! If your circle of family and friends includes any little ones who still need a helping hand with their language learning, here’s a list of some of my favourite toys and games that would be perfect. These toys and games are not only fun and colourful, they are perfect for a range of ages and language levels!

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1. Hedbanz

This is one of my favourite games to use during therapy sessions, and one that is well-loved by the kids and parents too! There hasn’t been a time that I’ve played it where everyone in the room hasn’t been laughing. While it’s not the traditional way of playing the game, I love to use Headbandz to target describing skills. The kids get to choose which card goes on your headband (and they think they are absolutely hilarious) and then give you clues to help you guess what it is. The little ones may need some help with providing the clues initially- which makes it the perfect sibling or whole family game!
Hedbanz can be purchased at Target for only $20! Find it here.

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2. Red Dog Blue Dog

If you haven’t had a look at any of the products by Orchard Toys, do it now! They have a huge range of games that incorporate lots of learning areas like counting, colours, language and literacy. I like to use Red Dog Blue Dog for identifying colours, encouraging 2-5 word sentences and turn-taking. So many uses for just one game!
Red Dog Blue Dog can be purchased online at Village Toys for a discounted price of $34.95. Take a look here.

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3. Fuzzy-Felt or Felt Creations

These boards are another great gift idea that can be used to target many different areas- improving vocabulary, following instructions, giving instructions and telling stories! The products come with a felt play board and assorted felt pieces that can be stuck onto the play board in an endless number of ways. The boards are available in a number of themes to suit all interests, including; farm animals, Disney princesses, outer space and safari to name a few. If you have plans to take any road or plane trips over the holidays, these would also be a great travel activity!
A variety of Fuzzy-Felt products can be purchased through Fishpond with FREE shipping! Take a look here.

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4. Pretend Playsets

Toys such as tea sets, kitchens, doctor kits, tool bags and baby play sets are awesome little additions to your gift list. Not only will the kids be entertained for hours; they are constantly using their imaginations and giving you opportunities to model longer sentences or new words for them to learn. And you never know, you might just be inspiring their future careers!
Toys “R” Us stock a great selection of playsets at a range of prices to suit your budget. Have a look at their selection here.

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5. Pop-up Pirate

If you are or have ever been involved in the Speech Pathology world then I’m sure you have come across this game! Pop up Pirate is a very simple turn-taking game where you stick the swords into a barrel and wait for pirate to POP. The element of surprise (never knowing when the pop is going to happen!) is what keeps this game interesting and a favourite of many kids. Although it is simple, it can be used to work on turn taking skills, basic colour identification, encouraging longer sentences and requesting!
Pop-up Pirate can be purchased at Big W for only $12! View here.

Wishing you all a safe, fun-filled Christmas and New Year!

Alicia Day
WizeTherapy Speech Pathologist