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Speech and Language Development Approved toys from Discovery Toys

This week we are collaborating with Jessica Norton Williams from the overwhelmed blog at www.emmyandelle.com.  Jessica is introducing us to Discovery toys which can be used for developing speech and language skills. 

Jessica writes:  

This past summer my mom kept introducing various toys for my girls to play with while we were visiting our family. Some of the toys I could vividly remember playing with as a child and I was shocked at how well they held up over the years. I asked my mom where these toys came from and she kept repeating, "Oh that's from Discovery Toys." I told her I wished we had a Discovery Toys store close by and that is when she told me Discovery Toys was a company she was introduced to before I was born at a home party. She said it was the coolest concept because this was when Tupperware parties were all the rage and then one of her friends hosted a toy party. My mom fell in love with the high quality toys and even signed up to be an independent consultant. She never started selling because shortly after she found out she was pregnant with me and they were moving to Columbia, South Carolina since my dad had been promoted at work. She kept all of the toys for us to play with and I am so happy she did because it led me to research Discovery Toys and see they are still a vibrant company whose passion is child play.

I decided I was going to sign up as an independent consultant because I wanted the discount to buy toys for my girls, Emmy and Elle. With my background in education I know it's important to have high quality toys that are kid-powered. "Kid powered" means the majority of Discovery Toys are made without batteries and children use their own imaginations to decide how they are going to use the toy. I wanted to start our own collection of kid-powered toys and I thought signing up as a consultant was the best way to afford this investment for my daughters.

A week later my kit arrived and I was blown away by the information I read in the, "Crisis in Play" notecards. To sum up the purpose of the cards, our society is faced with a growing crisis in our children's ability to think and learn today. Kids need unstructured play time to foster creativity and promote crucial 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. Play helps children express and process emotions as well as enhance their social skills and build upon their cognitive skills. Also, play that is active is critical for kids' physical development. I knew I wanted to do more than just build our own stash of great toys once I read through these cards and explored the products that were sent along with my kit. I decided I would try my hand at selling after talking with a few friends who were also in direct sales. I have never considered myself a sales person but I believe in the importance of child play and I believe discovery toys truly cares about children and their futures. I decided to add my shopping pages to emmyandelle.com because I had already planned on starting a blog and figured I could create a place for people to come and not just read my posts but also explore the world of discovery toys and Usborne Books & More. 

Discovery Toys has been in business for almost 40 years and they continue to make amazing toys, games, and books for children. One of my Principals would always say, "education is constantly evolving and teachers need to make sure they are changing to meet the needs of all their students." I believe Discovery Toys does the exact same with their products by changing and enhancing them over the years. Toys are like education, always evolving to keep children engaged by building upon their basics. An example of this is with one of their products that I played with as a child and Emmy and Elle were introduced to this summer. The Giant Pegboard is one of the first toys which were made by Discovery Toys. I have posted pictures below of Emmy and Elle enjoying the new version and the old version of these toys. Discovery Toys is always coming out with new toys but they never stray far from their central theme of being kid-powered. 

I felt like it was fate when I saw on Facebook a former colleague had become an Usborne Books & More consultant. I have always loved Usborne Books because they are not only beautiful but hold up exceptionally well in the hands of toddlers and school-aged children alike. I was about to contact my friend about hosting a party when it occurred to me I should consider becoming an independent consultant for Usborne since I had started to create emmyandelle.com. I want to make a site known as a one-stop-shop to find quality books AND toys for children. I wanted to expand our family library and I am amazed by their vast selections of titles, collections, and interactive books for all age ranges. This company definitely makes my teacher heart very happy. 

An idea I believe connects Discovery Toys is children need more time being "unplugged" from screens and electronics. Don't get me wrong, I will never preach to you the importance of being "Unplugged" when emmy and elle could basically be co-pastors for the Church of Daniel Tiger. Everything in moderation, right? Right. But it is also important to me that not all of their make believe play comes from scenes they saw in the, "Neighborhood of Make Believe." (Ding, ding.) I want to introduce you to toys and books which will enhance your child's imagination and I hope to be able to do that with the help of discovery toys and Usborne Books & More.

Today I want to focus on toys for the age groups of 1-3 years old which will help enhance your child’s communication skills. I have listed toys for each age group below which I believe can help increase their speech and language development. I am using these toys daily to increase communication with my own girls and I hope they can help with your children too. The awesome ladies behind ToddlersTalking will then chime in from a SLP standpoint about the toys and books too.

Don’t forget we are doing a giveaway for a toy! All you need to do is follow @toddlers.talking and @emmyandelle on Instagram and comment on the picture posted about this blog post which to you think would be the perfect fit for your child to help enhance their speech and language development! The winner will receive the book they commented about for their child!  Thanks for reading!

Discovery Toys Picks and my go-to first birthday gifts for One-Year-Olds:

Color Wheels

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A unique "fold and stack" wooden pull-along toy. Includes 12 wheels reinforcing the "color wheel", teaching primary, secondary and complementary colors. The foldable design can easily lift and transform into a variety of fun configurations. Children can place their favorite toys on top for a fun ride. In its triangle configuration, Color Wheels teaches basic color mixing. Children learn that yellow + red = orange, yellow + blue = green, and red + blue = purple.

Toddlers Talking perspective:  This toy is great for teaching colors. You can ask your child to point to the “red” wheel to assess their receptive color knowledge or ask them, “What color is that?” to assess their knowledge of colors expressively.  Most children learn their colors receptively first.  The wheels can morph into different shapes which gives you the opportunity to teach shapes.  You can also teach the concepts of “stop” and “go” since it is a pull along toy.

Stack, Roll & Jingle

This 2-in-1 toddler activity toy builds gross motor skills AND early logical thinking.

The five large textured shape rings can be stacked on the pole in any order without frustration. The translucent topper has a jingle ball for multi-sensory play. Attach the clear topper on top and shake the stack for jingle sound. The base is rounded so you can also spin for a jingle. The topper stays secured to the pole, so your little one can even roll the stack on its side. Experiment with different shape rings on top, observing how it impacts the rolling direction.

For more advanced stacking play, you can unscrew the pole from the base and challenge your child to stack the shapes without the pole. And when playtime is finished, reattach the topper to secure the stack inside the toy box.

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Toddlers Talking perspective: A ring stacker is a great toy for any young child.  It’s not only great for fine motor development, but can also be used for language development.  You can discuss colors, shapes, sizes and positional words such as “top” and “bottom”.  You can also group the rings from biggest to smallest or vice versa.  Teaching your child to follow simple commands is also a fun way to use this toy.  You can ask them to, “Put the purple ring on top” or increase the commands to 2 steps as they begin to understand and follow one step commands.  The ball on top jingles which gives you the opportunity to talk about different types of sounds and introduce the concepts of “loud” and “quiet”.

Discovery Toys Picks for Two-Year-Olds:

Giant Pegboard!

This is a favorite of my daughters, Emmy and Elle. It is a toy you can start to use as early as 19-months-old and continue use into kindergarten and beyond due to the layers of learning. It’s a classic, two-sided and award-winning pre-math and pre-reading toy that just got better! Side one features a pegboard for sorting, stacking, counting, and matching the 25 easy-to-grasp pegs of various sizes and colors; the flip side features a raised peg geoboard for creating geometric designs. Updated set includes 12 two-sided pattern cards, with activities for both sides of the board! I have the original set from 30-years-ago when I was a child and the new set for my girls!

Toddlers Talking Perspective:  This is a great multi-functional tool.  To improve comprehension, we would use this to choose colors (i.e. line up four shapes then say “Show me the green one” or line up shapes and say “Show me the triangle.”)  The patterns would be great for sequencing and planning (i.e. “What comes next?” or “What came first?”).  For expression, these shapes would be great for describing, colors, stacking (big/small/short/tall), naming the shapes themselves and requesting shapes/colors (i.e. “Can I have ___?”).

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Farm Fun Sorting Cube

This durable, versatile wood activity box exercises fine motor skills, visualization, association, and early thinking skills. Learn Shapes, Colors, Numbers, Farm Animals and more!

The cube includes 12 different shape blocks in 6 basic colors. The numerals 0-9 and a “plus” sign appear on one side of the shapes. The other side features 6 different familiar farm animals, matching the animal figures included with our Busy Farm learning set.

With extra guidance from a loving adult, the Farm Fun Sorting Cube offers a treasure trove of additional learning for school readiness, highlighted in the included activity guide. (side note: all discovery toys products come with a parent activity guide. The guides are awesome!)

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Toddlers Talking Perspective:   A shape sorter is a great addition to any toddler’s playroom.  They can begin learning their shapes, while also learning visual/motor and problem-solving skills. This is a great toy to introduce shapes and colors.  Shapes sorters are also great for yes or no.  We will put the shape somewhere that it doesn’t fit and say, “No”. Repeat that a few times with other shapes that don’t fit and then find the correct spot.  "Does it go here? Yes.” You can then push it through the correct slot.

Discovery Toys Picks for Three-Year-Olds:

Connectix

This open-ended, kid-powered magnetic construction set inspires the imagination, fosters experimentation, sharpens logical reasoning, and strengthens fine motor skills.

Includes 12 magnetic triangles and 18 magnetic squares in 6 colors. The magnetic shapes are easy to connect and can be used to create 2D and 3D configurations. The possibilities are endless! Included guide features 13 configurations to get you started. Connectix is Emmy’s absolute favorite toy. She can sit and play with it for an extended amount of time. We have lots of great conversations centered around what she is building.

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Any of the “Busy Sets” from Discovery Toys

I cannot say enough great things about the four “Busy” sets from Discovery Toys. Each set is perfect for a three-year-old and above because they are centered around pre-math and pre-reading skills. The colorful sets are fun for kids to play with and parents can guide their children through each activity. The possibilities are endless! If I was a preschool teacher, then I would have each “busy” set in my classroom to use as stations. Busy Bugs and Boomerings Activity sets focus on pre-math skills. Busy Farm and Busy Letters focus on pre-reading skills.

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Toddlers Talking Perspective:   This is a cute way to target pre-reading and pre-math skills for your three or four-year-old.  The shapes are so cute and this is a great way to work on requesting items, naming animals, and colors.  Children start to associate sounds with letters in the later preschool years which aids in pre-reading and pre-literacy skills.  

Don’t forget we are doing a giveaway for a toy! All you need to do is follow @toddlers.talking and @emmyandelle on Instagram and comment on the picture posted about this blog post which toy you think would be the perfect fit for your child to help enhance their speech and language development! The winner will receive the book they commented about for their child!   You can also find Jessica on Facebook at Emmy and Elle.

(Information about each book and toy was written from personal experience as well as the Usborne Books and Discovery Toys websites. All pictures which did not feature Emmy and Elle were also taken from the Usborne Books and Discovery toys websites.)