First of all you have to play with the toy or game to be familiar with it. When I was doing speech therapy I had a whole group of kids I could play with, while working on their speech goals and making the session fun and engaging. Now I volunteer in a preschool and first grade classroom as well have a fun gang of kids in my neighborhood and family who gladly help with toy reviews. I love how some brothers round the corner past my patio and yell, “Hi Sherry! Have any new games??” Kids teach you things that you wouldn’t know unless you play with them.

In my opinion a great toy review will have the following:

  • Clear, concise description of how to play a game or play with a toy, calling out the learning features, e.g. builds vocabulary, inspires conversation, negotiation, critical thinking, verbal collaboration, builds auditory memory, requires naming emotions and recognizing them in others etc.
  • Quotes from kids, parents, grandparents and/or teachers regarding the value of the toy. Heard from a first grade teacher, “Wonderhood building sets”¬† are the first toy the kids grab during our free play time.”
  • How did the kids play with the toy? How much conversation, discovery, imagination was evident and how was it displayed? Include quotes of storytelling using the props associated with the toy. How did this toy inspire creativity and storytelling?
  • Include informative pictures if you get permission to post.
  • Tips on how parents can play with their child and the toy to maximize language learning. For example, “This train has lots of accessories and features to describe¬† and name as your toddler is playing, which will increase their language learning as you narrate play.”
  • How much does it cost? Age range and number of players required? Link to where you can purchase the product