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20 Toys to Help Toddlers Talk: Plus Top Speech Tips

Don’t let your toddler get left behind.

By the time they are two years old, most toddlers have developed a vocabulary of about 50 words (1). You can help this learning process by choosing toys that actively promote language development.

But which toys help toddlers talk?

We’ve combined the knowledge and experiences of the Mom Loves Best team, advice from speech and language professionals, and a slew of reviews from real-life testers. The result is this guide to the best toys to help toddlers talk.

Our Top Picks

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Product Comparison Table

Product Image of the Stoie's International Wooden Music Set for Toddlers
Best Musical Toy
Stoie's International Wooden Music Set for Toddlers
  • 17-piece music toy set
  • Includes free storage backpack
Product Image of the Playmobil 1.2.3 Family Home
Best Reenactment Toy
Playmobil 1.2.3 Family Home
  • Bright and colorful design
  • Comprehensive accessory set
Product Image of the Play-Doh Fun Tub Playset
Best Open-Ended
Play-Doh Fun Tub Playset
  • Includes can packs & basic tools
  • Comes in many different themes
Product Image of the KidKraft Everyday Heroes Wooden Playset
Best for Emergency Vehicles
KidKraft Everyday Heroes Wooden Playset
  • Includes 3 floors & 12 rooms
  • Folds up for easy storage
Product Image of the Battat – Big Red Barn – Animal Farm Playset
Best for Prepositions
Battat – Big Red Barn – Animal Farm Playset
  • For role & pretend play
  • Foldable, portable and adorable
Product Image of the Hape Fix-It Tool Box and Accessory Set
Best for Imitation
Hape Fix-It Tool Box and Accessory Set
  • 14-piece wooden toy set
  • Kid-friendly materials
Product Image of the Step2 Crazy Maze Ball Pit Playhouse
Best for Active Words
Step2 Crazy Maze Ball Pit Playhouse
  • Open concept design
  • Includes 22-piece accessory set
Product Image of the Rainbow Nesting and Stacking Cups
Best Back-to-Basics
Rainbow Nesting and Stacking Cups
  • For nesting & stacking
  • Has animal characters on the bottom
Product Image of the Faber-Castell My First Fun Felt Shapes
Best for Travel
Faber-Castell My First Fun Felt Shapes
  • 100-piece felt board set
  • Includes a storage bag
Product Image of the Fat Brain Toys SpinAgain Kids Stacking Toy
Best for Speech Stimulation
Fat Brain Toys SpinAgain Kids Stacking Toy
  • 6 stack-up-any-way discs
  • Coated, BPA-free plastic

The Best Toys to Help Toddlers Talk of 2024

With options that include turn-taking, noise imitation, and different forms of speech and language, these are our favorite toys to help toddlers talk.

Stoie's International Wooden Music Set for Toddlers

Best Musical Toy

Recommended age: 2 years+

These instruments can encourage your child to make a range of sounds even if they cannot yet form words. Banging things with the drumsticks and saying “bam bam” or hitting the triangle and saying “ting ting” are skills that progress toward healthy speech.

You can also help your child recognize the rhythms of speech and the sound patterns of words by hitting different notes on the xylophone as you say a phrase. Play the same notes again, and encourage your child to repeat your phrases or go high to low in tone.

Plus, there’s singing, leaving pauses for your child to fill in the blanks in songs, and so on. For example, Sing “Twinkle, twinkle, little…” and pause, giving your child the chance to fill in the blank with “star.”

User Experience

I recently purchased this toddler instrument set for my niece's birthday, and it has been a fantastic addition to our family gatherings. The quality of the wooden instruments is impressive, even withstanding my toddler's rough play. Each instrument provides a unique sound, with the drum and cymbals being particular favorites among the children. This set not only entertains the little ones, but also helps them develop their sense of rhythm and coordination – a fantastic gift for any child to enjoy!

Playmobil 1.2.3 Family Home

Best Reenactment

Recommended age: 18 months+

Playing with a toy house gives children the opportunity to reenact situations they are already familiar with. You can ask your toddler to show you how the baby gets ready for bed, how they have dinner, etc., and then have them tell you what’s happening.

You can also leave your toddler to play without direction, then “drop in” and ask about what’s happening.

This house is also compatible with other Playmobil 1.2.3 toys, so you can add other people, animals, or vehicles to enhance play opportunities.

Personal Perspective

My experience with this playset has been nothing short of delightful, as it has become a favorite for both my 1-year-old and 2.5-year-old children. The versatility of the toy allows for imaginative play, and the larger character figures cater well to younger kids with little hands. One minor drawback is the rounded plastic food pieces, which don't seem to hold my children's interest as much. The set is not only durable and well-made but also easy to assemble and transport.

Play-Doh Fun Tub Playset

Best Open-Ended

Recommended age: 3 years+

You can sit down at the table with a tub of Play-Doh, make items, and ask your child to name them or tell you about the shapes and colors, But there’s so much more you can do with Play-Doh.

We’re fans of making creatures then acting out stories with them as it encourages kids to make animal sounds, play out different scenarios, and tell you about what is happening. You can also make items and create a story together, practicing taking turns as you do in conversation.

Community Feedback

I recently purchased this Play-Doh set for my granddaughter, and she absolutely loves it! The 20-piece set offers a variety of tools and small containers of Play-Doh, which keeps her entertained for hours. I particularly like the included plastic bins that make storage and organization a breeze. While I think the price could be a bit lower, the overall quality of the Play-Doh and the enjoyment it brings make it a worthwhile purchase.

KidKraft Everyday Heroes Wooden Playset

Best for Emergency Vehicles

Recommended age: 3 years+

This playset is particularly appealing for children who love emergency vehicles. It also provides wider opportunities for play and speech beyond the simple fire truck or police motorcycle.

Once you have your child “hooked” on the emergency theme, there’s an extensive range of scenarios to explore.

You can “take the call” at the dispatch desk, then relay details to the emergency peeps, encourage your toddler to have the emergency personnel communicate, and so on. Plus, because this is an oversize playset, your child will move around while they play.

First-Hand Impression

I'm thrilled with this playset and its unique design, perfect for my young kids to enjoy. The assembly process was straightforward and took me around two hours, although I had to pay attention to matching the screw colors with the pieces. While the playset is not made of real wood but particle board, my kids don't seem to notice and have a blast playing with it every day. The furniture and vehicles included are of good quality and add to the imaginative fun. However, I must mention that the design appears to be stickers on the particle board, which can scratch off easily, so consider sealing it with a protective layer to prolong its lifespan.

Battat – Big Red Barn – Animal Farm Playset

Best for Prepositions

Recommended age: 18 months+

The Battat farm toys present primary sound and storytelling possibilities. Plus, this particular farm set is an excellent choice for practicing the prepositions “in,” “out,” “on,” “up,” “off,” and more.

Ask your toddler to give you instructions about where to put the animals using “in, out, up, on, off,” etc. On some occasions, do as they ask, and on others, “accidentally” place the animal in the wrong spot. Your toddler will then be eager to tell you you’re wrong and repeat their instruction.

User Experience

I'm thrilled with this barn set, as it has quickly become a daily favorite for my toddler. The size is perfect for fitting into any play area, and it's durable enough to withstand rough play and even being thrown across the room. I love that it comes with a variety of toy animals and features, like doors and windows, that keep my child engaged for hours. Plus, the convenient handle on top makes it easy for my little one to carry the barn around the house and even into the yard for endless imaginative play.

Hape Fix-It Tool Box and Accessory Set

Best for Imitation

Recommended age: 3 years+

Having a toolset provides ample opportunity for you to spend time speaking with your kiddo, chatting as they “help” you fix things around the house. Ask questions such as: “What do you think we should do next?” “Which tool shall we use?” and “What sound will this make?”

Set up verbal routines such as “Ready… Set… BANG!” which you can repeat at regular intervals throughout your play. These routines also allow you to use expectant pauses. In this case, you would say, “Ready… Set…” and pause so your child can say, “BANG!”

Personal Perspective

My experience with this toy tool set has been fantastic, as it has not only been a hit with my kids, but it has also helped them develop their motor skills. Initially, my 18-month-old nephew could only hold the hammer, wrench, and screwdriver, but after three months, he's now competently using the tools for various tasks. The quality is impressive, with smooth surfaces and well-painted details, making it worth the minimal premium compared to cheaper alternatives. It's also sturdy and the perfect size for my two-year-old grandson. This set has been an excellent addition to our playtime, and it's great to see the kids enjoying it while learning valuable skills.

Step2 Crazy Maze Ball Pit Playhouse

Best for Active Words

Recommended age: 18 months+

Playhouses help develop the social aspects of speech and language, such as turn-taking, sharing ideas, and giving and taking instructions.

In addition, like a smaller toy house, a large playhouse allows children to reenact situations they have experienced or are familiar with. However, unlike a smaller toy, a large-scale playhouse also encourages lots of active play.

This playhouse has balls, chutes, and tubes to inspire plenty of running, jumping, climbing, and other physical activity. It also provides opportunities to use a range of movement-inspired vocabulary like “jump,” “throw,” catch,” and “roll.”

Community Feedback

I've had this ball house for a while now, and it's been a hit with both my 20-month-old and my 3-year-old. The assembly process was a bit challenging, but once it was put together, the structure became quite sturdy. I did have to buy extra balls, as the ones provided weren't enough, but adding balls from other brands worked just fine. One small issue I encountered was a faulty tube that didn't create the intended zigzag pattern for the balls, but it didn't affect the overall enjoyment of the ball house. My kids play with it daily, and it has held up well despite their climbing and rough play.

Rainbow Nesting and Stacking Cups

Best Back-to-Basics

Recommended age: 6 months+

These stacking cups are suitable from an earlier age than most toys on this list because they are suitable for teething babies.

That makes them an ideal toy for helping toddlers talk because even if your little one is delayed in other areas of development, these cups are still safe, engaging, and physically suitable for play.

You can play the apparent games like building a tower, but there are other options such as hiding an item under a cup and asking your child to guess what item is hidden or which cup it’s hidden under.

First-Hand Impression

When I first introduced these stacking cups to my 14-month-old, she was instantly captivated by their vivid primary colors and the fun of stacking and pretending to drink from them. Not only do these cups help with her dexterity and teach her colors, but they also have small holes in them, making them perfect for water play during bath time. My child loves putting objects inside the cups, pouring from one cup to another, and even rolling them around. These cups have become a constant source of entertainment and learning, making them a fantastic investment for our family.

Faber-Castell My First Fun Felt Shapes

Best for Travel

Recommended age: 3 years+

Toddlers can use these felt shapes to create pictures or scenes. You can then prompt them to tell you about their creations. If they’re reluctant or unable to verbalize much, you can say what you think is happening and ask them if you are correct.

We’ve found these shapes are helpful for recreating the action in favorite storybooks and encouraging our kiddos to tell us the story. A favorite game in our home is to have one person make pictures and the other guess the story.

User Experience

I'm impressed with the overall concept of this activity set, but there are a few drawbacks that I experienced. When using this product, I found that the shapes were a bit too small for my young child, making it a bit challenging for them to fully enjoy this creative activity. Additionally, the stickers proved to be quite difficult to remove without damaging them, which was frustrating for both my child and me. On a positive note, once the activity was completed, my child was very proud of their creations, and they made for cute decorations. While the product has potential, I believe that improvements could be made to the size of the shapes and the ease of sticker removal to enhance the overall experience.

Fat Brain Toys SpinAgain Kids Stacking Toy

Best for Speech Stimulation

Recommended age: 12 months+

Each piece that goes onto this stacking toy has two colors and is either a flower shape or a star. This provides lots of opportunities to repeat the same words over and over while you ask your child which pieces they would like and wait for them to speak.

You can also encourage your child to make sounds like “Whee” as the discs spin down the pole.

Personal Perspective

This toy has proven to be an excellent tool for bonding with my non-verbal autistic 3-year-old, as it provides an engaging activity we can enjoy together. The spinning gears not only captivate my son but also keep my one-year-old entertained, even helping him learn his first word. The sturdy, high-quality construction and matte finish wheels are easy to clean with baby wipes. While the blue bottom occasionally detaches from the white stick, it can be reattached, and the overall experience remains enjoyable for the entire family. This toy offers a unique and interactive play experience compared to traditional stacking blocks, making it a valuable addition to our collection.

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

Best Sensory

Recommended age: 18 months+

For kids who enjoy playing in the water, a water table is incredibly motivating. This example has many accessories with which your child can create character stories, pour water, and play anticipatory games.

For example, you can hold a cup of water, count “one, two, three,” pause, and wait for your child to call out “GO!”

Community Feedback

Got this toy for my 11-month-old and he absolutely loved it. Assembly was a bit tricky since there were no pre-drilled holes, but using a drill made it much easier and ensured a tight fit. This toy is perfect for toddlers who can stand with little or no support, as they can lean into it while playing. We placed ours on artificial turf and it didn't slide at all, but be cautious if placing it on a sleek surface. My child enjoyed playing with it even without water, and it was a hit at his 1-year-old party with multiple toddlers playing together.

Learning Resources Serve It Up! Play Restaurant

Best for Social Preparation

Recommended age: 3 years+

You can encourage your child to be the server, come to you, and ask what you would like to eat. This provides lots of scope for asking questions about the food or enquiring about your server’s recommendations. For example, you could ask your child, “What do you think I would like?” Your child can then get your food, serve it up, ask if you like it, etc.

Then you can reverse the roles, so your toddler is using a different set of vocabulary.

You can also supplement this set with other food playsets and create your menus by drawing pictures of the food.

First-Hand Impression

This pretend food set is of excellent quality, with soft and durable materials that stay on the plates, making it a fantastic addition to any child's playtime. Both my preschooler and my older child have enjoyed playing restaurant and learning about money with the realistic play money included. However, it would be better if all the menu items were part of the set and a dry erase marker was included for writing on the menu and guest check.

Mollybee Kids Toddler Scavenger Hunt

Best Low-Pressure

Recommended age: 2 years+

A simple set of cards on a ring, this toddler scavenger hunt provides simple questions to ask your child and everyday household objects for them to find.

You can then encourage your little one to tell you what they are looking for, where they found an item, or where they will search next.

This toy has the added advantage of being small and portable, so you can take this and play wherever you go.

User Experience

After purchasing this interactive scavenger hunt game for my little ones, I've noticed how much they enjoy running around the house searching for items on the cards. The game has become a favorite in our household, providing endless entertainment for both my toddler and my three-year-old. What's even better is that I can sit back and relax while they happily play, and sometimes I even add extra challenges or questions to keep things interesting.

Little Kids Fubbles No-Spill Bubble Tumbler

Best for Oral Motor Development

Recommended age: 18 months+

Blowing bubbles may not provide as much scope for trying out different words as some of the other toys on this list. Still, this activity is excellent for exercising the muscles necessary for effective speech.

For developing the oral muscles that help toddlers talk, it’s essential to stick with the bubbles you blow rather than bubble machines that do the blowing for you.

Personal Perspective

Love using these bubble holders with my son and the neighborhood kids, as they're quite spill-resistant and perfect for little hands. Even when knocked over, they've managed to keep the mess to a minimum. The bubble solution lasts longer than I initially expected, providing more fun for everyone. While the holders are a bit on the smaller side and the price is slightly steep, the enjoyment they bring to both toddlers and older children alike makes it worthwhile. It's definitely a relief not to worry about spills during bubble playtime.

PicassoTiles 100 Piece Set Magnet Building Tiles

Best for Building Words

Recommended age: 2 years+

With these magnetic tiles, you can build a wide range of buildings, vehicles, and 3D structures, and you can also make pictures, patterns, and other 2D displays. And since these tiles are magnetic, you can use them on fridges, baking trays, and other metal surfaces.

You can use the magnets to talk about colors and shapes, and there are add-on sets with figures, vehicle bases, and more.

Community Feedback

My experience with these magnetic building blocks has been largely positive, as they provide endless entertainment for my children, who use their imagination to create various structures. The blocks help develop thinking, motor skills, and creativity, making them an excellent educational tool for children aged 3 and above. However, I did have an issue with the packaging, as it arrived soggy and damaged due to rain and lack of protection, but this did not affect the overall enjoyment of the product.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Piggy Bank

Best Electronic

Recommended age: 6 months+

This piggy bank comes with ten large, sturdy coins, each of which is a different color. The coins also have numbers and shapes embossed on both sides, giving you a wide range of vocabulary from which to choose.

Count the coins going into the bank, and count as you take them out. Play matching games such as saying, “The blue coin has the…” and wait for your child to say the shape before dropping the coin into the bank.

First-Hand Impression

I recently purchased this piggy bank toy for my young child and it has quickly become a favorite. The pig not only counts the plastic coins as they are inserted, but also sings songs and shakes, providing hours of entertainment. Although the toy can be a bit wobbly due to its design, adding small rubber feet from a hardware store solves the issue. This piggy bank has also proven to be a great learning tool, as my child is now identifying colors and numbers while playing with it.

Pet Vet Play Set

Your Bet Vet

Recommended age: 32 months+

A doctor or vet set places your child in the nurturing role, allowing them to give care rather than receive it. This role reversal can help make kids feel more in control and build their confidence, which can help them to feel more positive about their ability to communicate.

This vet set from Mellissa & Doug comes with a cat, a dog, and a range of vet “tools.” There’s lots of scope for playing together and asking questions like “Who is hurt?” “What’s wrong?” and “What should we do?” This not only helps them talk by answering questions but also builds empathy towards animals.

Kids Gardening Tools and Story Book

Best Outdoor

Recommended age: 18 months+

Gardening together creates a relaxed atmosphere while practicing communication. Planting seeds and watching them grow can also be an incredible motivator.

This gardening set has gloves, tools, a tote, and a gardening storybook, so you can practice the same word while in the garden during activities or inside when reading together.

Personal Perspective

I'm thrilled with this gardening set for my young granddaughter, as it includes real metal tools and a plethora of pockets for storing fun items. The watering can is easy for her to carry and use, making it an enjoyable experience for her to plant her fairy garden and water the plants. The included book has also become a favorite, with her asking to have it read multiple times a day, truly enhancing her love for gardening.

Slice and Stack Sandwich Counter

Best Question and Answer

Recommended age: 2 years+

The printed “make a sandwich” graphic at the top of the sandwich counter is excellent for teaching how to do things, including speak, in a logical, standard sequence.

We also love the simple question and answer possibilities: “What would you like?” “How many slices?” “Bread slice or roll?” “Who likes lettuce?” Plus, you can adapt these questions to require straightforward answers initially, then more complex answers as your child’s speech skills grow.

You can play with this toy at home and then visit a sandwich shop to practice your word skills in real life.

Community Feedback

I'm impressed with the sturdiness and durability of this wooden sandwich set. My 3-year-old and 7-year-old both love playing with it, and it's been a great addition to their pretend play sessions. I found that some of the Velcro didn't stick together too well, but it's not a deal breaker. The slicer can be a bit tricky for my younger child to use, but overall, it's a fun and educational toy that teaches them about different sandwich ingredients and combinations. It's definitely a high-quality toy that I can see lasting for years to come.

Wonder Forge Disney Classic Characters Matching Game

Best Multiple Possibilities

Recommended age: 2 years+

Use a small number of pairs to play the memory matching game for younger players and add elements such as saying “hot, hotter, cold, or colder” as your child’s hand hovers over a card. Then encourage your child to do the same to help you on your turn.

We like to hide the cards around the room and enjoy a scavenger-hunt-style game where the kids call out the cards they find and where. They have to listen for other people calling names and cards and work on calling them out for others.

First-Hand Impression

I'm impressed with the quality and design of these game cards, as they are durable and feature colorful images that my nephew absolutely adores. The variety in the set allows for different game combinations, keeping both kids and adults engaged during family game nights. This game not only provides endless entertainment but also encourages learning and creativity, making it a fantastic purchase for young ones.

How to Choose Toys to Help Toddlers Talk

When choosing toys to help a toddler talk, keep these things in mind.

Child’s Preferences

Whether they have a passion for pots and pans or an obsession with the Octonauts, a toddler will be more excited, more engaged, and more likely to learn when you choose toys that align with their preferences.

So, before you start shopping, think about the things your child likes to do, their favorite people, or a character they adore, and look for toys that feature their “thing.”

No Batteries

Contrary to what you might think, toys that make sounds, speak, or have another audible component are less suitable for helping toddlers talk.

That’s because toys with sounds cause your child to focus on the listening component of speech development and provide less encouragement or opportunity to practice the speaking part (2).

Although toys with batteries have a place in speech development, toys without batteries are generally a better option.


Developing speech is a process of hearing the same sounds and words continually, then repeating them. You need durable toys that will stand up to a toddler’s rambunctious play and still be around for months of similar, repetitive play.


We stick to age-appropriate toys from major manufacturers and retailers because they meet the U.S. safety standards that help keep our kids safe (3).

This makes it simple to avoid items with small parts, toxic materials such as lead paint, or toys that are easily broken and can leave dangerous parts or surfaces.

Activity Level

Wherever possible, choose toys that encourage physical activity. This doesn’t have to mean sports or organized games. Instead, it can be a lower-level activity such as moving around with pretend kitchen utensils, “making” a meal, and serving it to others.


Toys that can be used for a range of play and learning activities provide more opportunities for practicing speech and imaginative play.


Most of the toys in our guide are between $10 and $40. We’ve found this is enough to ensure a durable, good quality toy your child will enjoy, without breaking the bank or wasting money if your child doesn’t take to the toy.

Other Ways to Help Your Toddler Talk

In addition to the toys and tips above, these are other ways to help your toddler talk.

Ask Open Questions

Rather than asking things like “Are you hungry?” which your child can answer with a single word or a nod or shake of the head, ask questions such as “What shall we have to eat?” This type of question requires more verbal effort and variety and will help develop speech and social skills.

Know What to Expect

Speech requires a complex combination of brain, muscle, nerve, and larynx interaction, so toddlers develop their speech skills a little at a time. Stick with helping your toddler work on age-appropriate sounds (4).

Look for Opportunities

Talk to your child, and encourage them to talk to you at every possible opportunity. For example, when you’re at the store, ask your child questions about which aisle to go down, what’s down that aisle, and who likes the food you find there.

It’s Not All Talk

Choose activities that practice non-verbal skills, making mouth shapes or other elements of speech and language. Here are some examples:

  • Making animal sounds, or the sound of trains, planes, and automobiles.
  • Singing.
  • Playing games that work facial muscles, such as blowing bubbles.
  • Turn-taking in games.
  • Having fun making random funny faces and sounds.

Avoid Pressure

Some children with speech delays can feel intimidated or overwhelmed if they feel like they have to “perform.” Avoid asking your child to say specific words, and instead, play games where these words occur naturally.

When to See a Doctor

Roughly one in five kids will experience a speech delay (5). Some delays are temporary, and your child might catch up naturally or with a little extra encouragement at home. However, more significant speech delays have a much better outcome the earlier a child receives help.

If you’re worried about your toddler’s speech and language development, check the standard milestone charts. If your child has passed the upper age limit of a milestone, check in with your healthcare professional. It’s better to discover there’s nothing wrong than to delay treatment.

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Headshot of Patricia Barnes

About the Author

Patricia Barnes

Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.