I tried out some winner toys recently that build language through play and would be good to put on the Christmas list. My toy testers liked them as much as I did:

Toddlers are drawn to running water. Since the best part of bath time is playing with the stream as the tub fills up, imagine the investigating going on with the “Flow ‘n’ Fill Spout” as it keeps the water flowing after the tap is turned off. Submerge the little pump under the water and suction the spout anywhere in the tub for continuous streams of water play. Little ones quickly learn to start and stop the flow by pushing the face, and experiment with the three friendly-faced cups, spinning a propeller, creating a shower and revealing a surprise pop up friend. Teaching the language of empty/full, heavy/light, start/stop, on/off, up/down, and floating/sinking, this joyful distraction makes scrubbing a dirty toddler a little easier.

Yookidoo Flow ‘N’ Fill Spout

Recommended age: 9 months and up

Pull out this puppet show in a box when the kids come over to play and watch it spark their imaginations. Mom or Dad can easily assemble the cloth, hanging theater to suspend in the doorway as kids make puppets, part the curtains and start the story telling. Before the show starts, kids create their own puppet characters with six fuzzy bodies and thirty stick-on ears, faces, tails, noses or outfits. Go traditional in making a prince, princess, lion, puppy, or dragon or combine the features to make an original character. As the story develops, kids can re-figure the puppets, ripping off the reusable features and attaching them to create new characters. Moms were amazed at how well the features stuck on the puppets during active play. My three-year-old puppeteers enjoyed presenting a show and then chased each other with puppets in hand. Language learning begins with selecting a character while devising and assembling the puppets, continues during the creation of the story and dialogue, and extends through open-ended play with flexible props to expand plot possibilities. Take a seat and let your children learn language through play.

International Playthings Playdate Central Puppet Show

Recommended ages 3-6