I compiled a list of activities and toys that the children (0-5) I’ve work with have enjoyed and have allowed me to elicit multiple repetitions. A couple of thoughts first, though. Please don’t go out and buy all of these toys without thinking about the child’s interests. Not every toy is engaging to all children. Remember that novelty is also key. Play with it, then put it away in a place that the child cannot access it. If the child only sees it once a week, it’s much more interesting, motivating, and engaging, which is key to eliciting repetitions. Toys can be expensive. Garage sales, Ebay, and clearance shelves are the first place I look. Finally, while age guides are great, don’t let that stop you from utilizing the toy as long as you’re going to be playing with the child. Many of the toys I’ve listed are meant for kids age 3-7 for safety reasons. As long as you are using the toy as a tool, you’ll be with the child. Just make sure to count all of the little pieces beforehand and do not leave the child alone with it until the child is old enough.
Think of any games/activities with lots of pieces or highly engaging activities that require assistance. Some of my (and the kids’) favorites include:
- Old Fisher Price cash register from the ’70’s – It makes no sound, but the kids love to put the money in, find it, push the buttons, etc.
- Farm Families by Milton Bradley – I don’t typically use this as a “game”. I use the animals and the sound “machine,” not the game board itself. Many of the kids can’t figure out how to make the animals make their sounds without assistance, so they have to ask me to do it.)
- An inexpensive wooden train with lots of pieces for the track and train cars
- Discovery Toys has some wonderful toys, if you don’t mind making an investment.
- Marble Works is the best (just make sure you keep track of the marbles with the little guys!)
- Gears (The safari one is my favorite.)
- Builders, Benders, and more
- In the Works Submarine and Race Car Set
- Give it a Whirl (outside fun)
- Stack and Pop (another favorite!)
Some other great activities are:
- Stickers – Make a book or just let them put the stickers on a piece of paper.
- Any Play-doh activity – Play-doh, Rose Art, cookie cutters, etc. The trick is to withhold as much dough as you can at a time so they have to ask for more
- Bubbles – keep the lid closed, have them ask for more, open, bubbles, pop, up, body parts, etc.
- Tops and wind up toys
- Candy, cereal, fruit snacks, popcorn, grapes, etc.
- Barnyard Bingo by Fisher Price
- Tape recorder with two microphones and music (Time to Sing! CD, Barney, and Singing Sounds seem to be the best)
- Two echo microphones
- Colorforms and/or window clings
- Foam bath toys that are designed to stick to the bath tub wall and a squirt bottle (All you need is a window!)