Noisy Toys: Not So Great for Language Development

March 8, 2016 BY Kathleen Callaghan, CCC-SLP

Remember the days when dolls didn’t talk on their own and toy cars didn’t produce a revved engine sound without your help?  Electronic toys are a popular choice for many parents (and proud aunts and uncles) when it comes to gift-giving but a new study shows that these sound-generating toys can actually be a detriment to parent-toddler communication and language development.

As reported in the March issue of the ASHA Leader, new research out of Northern Arizona University found that . . .

  • when playing with books or puzzles parents used an average of 56-67 words per minute.
  • when using electronic toys that number decreased to 40 words per minute.  In addition, electronic toys resulted in less conversational turns, child verbalizations, responses from parents, and vocabulary-rich interactions.

So next time you are contemplating what to buy your child from the local toy store, bypass anything that needs batteries and go for the traditional toys of your own childhood.  Your child will thank you for it (one day)!

Toys + Talking = Brain