Gift guide for children from birth to one year old: The best toys to give for speech and language development

We see many questions about what to purchase for children at various ages, whether it be for a birthday or Christmas gift.  Below are some ideas for infants to the one year old age.  You'll find we don't include many toys that light up or make a lot of noise in order to get parents and caregivers talking to their children.  

Stack and Roll Cups

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What can you do with them?

This toy targets all sorts of speech, language, motor and visuo-motor skills.  You can stack, nest, connect the two sides to make a ball and roll the balls. 

Why we love themWe had these for my little girl when she was younger and they were a big hit at our house!  You can talk about colors, shape (round/ball), numbers and verbs (put together, take apart, push, pull) with these simple balls.  You can work on stacking and sorting with colors/sizes. 

Take along bag by Melissa and Doug

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What can you do with it?

This bag can be thrown into any diaper bag or in the car for easy play!  A shape sorter for fine motor skills, visuo-motor skills and cognitive skills, this toy is multi-functional.

Why we love it:  First off, it's adorable! Most kids love to carry items around (boys and girls), and this can serve that purpose.  You can pretend it’s a suitcase, purse, etc.  The shape sorter can be used to target words about shapes, verbs such as pick up, put in, push.  The other side with the flaps, can be used to establish object permanence (the idea that you can hide an object and it still be there) as well as fine motor skills with the lifting of the small flap.  You can also target expressive language concepts such as verbs:  lift, hide, look and other descriptive terms dealing with colors, shapes and more.

Wooden musical instruments

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What can you do with it?

Play music and develop pretend skills.

Why we love it:  Playing music has been studied for helping with speech and language development.  You can target many verbs with instruments such as:  play, shake, dance, hear.  With instruments (as well as without), you can sing with your baby which is great for language development.

Tomy Hide and Squeak Eggs

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What can you do with it?

Ok, another toy that makes noise, but it is just small squeaks.  And kids love these! These eggs have shapes on the bottom that can be matched to the carton.  With six colors, you can match the lids to the egg colors.  Each egg has a various squeak which kids love.  This was a big hit at our house.

Why we love it:  This toy can be used for developing language such as counting (six eggs), colors, shapes as well as fine motor skills (placing the tops of the eggs on the eggs).  


There are three varieties of books that we recommend for the infant through one year age:

1.        Board books

2.       Soft books

3.       Lift the flap books


There are so many books for kids!  Any simple board books that rhyme or tell a simple story are great.  Soft books with appropriate visual discrimination are great for babies as well.  The black and white books or simple picture books allow babies to start to focus and develop their vision skills.  Lift the flap books teach babies about object permanence but also work on fine motor skills while they’re lifting the flap. 

We hope that you find this list useful when choosing gifts for your children, grandchildren, nieces/nephews, neighbors and friends.  If you have additional questions, please email us at toddlertalkingtt@gmail.com.