top of page


A common question that I receive from parents and professionals working with young children is, "What toys do you recommend?" As a parent of a young child and a speech-language pathologist myself, I am always on the lookout for new toys. I don't necessarily want toys that are complicated, that have a lot of parts, or that have flashing lights. Instead, I'm looking for toys that will provide the most opportunities for communication and learning. So I asked the most experienced speech-language pathologist (SLP) I know for her list of top toys for toddlers that she could not live without. Wendy Avolio is an SLP with over 40 years of experience and uses themes exclusively in early intervention--so she KNOWS toys!

Guess what! I am sharing this list with you-- fellow parents, speech-language pathologists, and anyone who is looking to buy toys for that special youngster in your life. Please note that this list is in no particular order. While The Interaction Coach offers free resources for parents and caregivers, this post contains affiliate links. That just means that we may earn a small commission from any purchases that you make using the links contained in this site (at no additional cost to you).

Also, be on the lookout for our list of top 10 books coming soon... If you would like to receive that blog post directly to your inbox, be sure to subscribe to our mailing list.

Without further ado, here is Ms. Wendy's list of:

Top 25 Toys for Toddlers

  1. Cash Register with Play Food

  2. Melissa and Doug Hungry Pelican

  3. LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

  4. Acorn Soup

  5. Melissa and Doug Wheels on the Bus Sound Puzzle

  6. Fisher Price Little People Caring for Animals Farm

  7. Melissa and Doug Magnetic Farm Hide and Seek Board

  8. Fisher Price Little People World of Animals See ‘n Say

  9. Melissa and Doug Safari Animal Rescue Truck

  10. Fisher Price Little People Zoo Train

  11. Playskool Mr. Potato Head

  12. Colorforms Silly Faces Game

  13. Melissa and Doug Musical Instruments Sound Puzzle

  14. Melissa and Doug Around the House Sound Puzzle

  15. Fisher Price Little People Big Helpers Home

  16. Melissa and Doug Latches Board

  17. Melissa and Doug Wooden Town Play Set

  18. Melissa and Doug Nesting and Sorting Buildings and Vehicles

  19. Learning Resources All About Me Neighborhood Set

  20. Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles

  21. Fisher-Price Little People Helicopter

  22. Kinetic Sand

  23. Topper Takes a Trip

  24. Mega Blocks Big Building Bag

  25. Force1 Ditto Robot

FUNERICA Durable Cash Register Toy for Kids*

Melissa & Doug K's Kids Hungry Pelican

LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

Peaceable Kingdom Acorn Soup

Melissa & Doug The Wheels on The Bus Sound Puzzle

Fisher-Price Little People Caring for Animals Farm

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Farm Hide & Seek Board

Fisher-Price Little People World of Animals See 'n Say

Melissa-&-Doug Safari Animal Rescue Truck

Fisher-Price Little People Musical Zoo Train

Playskool Mr. Potato Head

Colorforms Silly Faces Game

Melissa & Doug Musical Instruments Sound Puzzle

Melissa & Doug Around the House Sound Puzzle

Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home

Melissa & Doug Latches Board

Melissa & Doug Wooden Town Play Set

Melissa & Doug Nesting & Sorting Buildings & Vehicles

Learning Resources All About Me Sorting Neighborhood

Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles

Fisher-Price Little People Helicopter

Kinetic Sand

Peaceable Kingdom Topper Takes A Trip

Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag

Force1 Ditto Mini Voice Changer Robot

*Please note that this is an example of a cash register/cuttable food combination. You may also purchase a cash register and food separately.

If you are a professional interested in learning more about how to Use Themes to Promote Early Language Development (using these toys and more), please REGISTER HERE for a recorded two-hour webinar sponsored by Online Speech Services and co-presented by Adrienne Wallace and Wendy Avolio.


This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. View our full Affiliate Disclaimer here.




Joyce is very knowledgeable. Not only as a speech therapist but also on how the school system works. Which is very helpful going through the IEP process. She was able to engage with my daughter and was never hesitant to help in any way. I would definitely recommend Joyce to anyone that is looking for a trustworthy, caring and informed speech therapist.

bottom of page