Top Toys Summary…and a GIVEAWAY!

It’s time for a GIVEAWAY!

This past month, I have shared with you my top 20 picks for toys for toddlers and preschoolers and how each toy can help support speech and language development. Here is the list:

  1. Stacking cups
  2. Blocks
  3. Balls
  4. Shape sorter
  5. Toy Phone
  6. Mr. Potato Head
  7. Baby doll
  8. Baby stroller and/or grocery cart
  9. Cars and Trucks
  10. Farm Set
  11. Kitchen set
  12. Doll house
  13. Dress up clothes
  14. Sand/Water play table and toys
  15. Doctor/Vet set
  16. Magnetic letters and board
  17. Inset puzzles
  18. Magna doodle
  19. Ride on car
  20. Play dough

To read how these toys can be used to used to support speech and language development, read my four part series:
Read part one HERE
Read part two HERE
Read part three HERE
Read part four HERE

As you look over this list of toys…what do you notice? Do you notice a trend?

You should…because not ONE of the toys I recommended requires BATTERIES. Some of the toys may come with batteries or the option of using them (like many toy phones and some toy cars, and even the Little People Farm can use batteries (however…I never put them in ours!). That said, none of the toys I recommend need them to be used! Why? Because I really do not like many toys for children under three that require batteries. With the exception of a phone that might “ring” (even though it is still not necessary) I see no reason for toys to light up and make noise. I will expand on why I loathe these battery-operated toys in a future post, but for now I want to share with you one of my most FAVORITE books!

Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun, by Bobby Conner is an amazing book FILLED to the brim with fantastic play activities for all ages. Here is the book description at Amazon:

“From the joy of smearing glue on paper to the screaming delight of a bubble-blowing relay, kids love to play. In fact, it’s every kid’s built-in tool for experiencing the world at large. A parent-friendly encyclopedia, UNPLUGGED PLAY (“A wonderful guide,” says Daniel Goleman) offers hundreds and hundreds of battery-free, screen-free, chirp-and-beep-free games and fun variations that stretch the imagination, spark creativity, building strong bodies, and forge deep friendships…and keep kids busy at the table while mom or dad makes dinner.”

I love this book because it gets the kids away from activities and toys that require a plug or batteries. Sure, we own a TV, a Blue Ray and an iPad but we are trying to balance these with fun play that doesn’t involve a screen. We also have very few toys with batteries (most of which were gifts). For example, my daughter likes her play lap top and her keyboard and that’s ok. However we get more use out of her baby dolls, her $5 plastic shopping cart, and her kitchen set!

I love this book so much, that I want to give it to two lucky readers! And as an added thank you to all my readers (I just 500 email subscribers and have over 600 Facebook Fans!), to celebrate the season of Spring that will be upon us in just weeks…I am also giving away a copy of Eric Carle’s The Grouchy Ladybug along with an adorable Ladybug Parts puzzle to two more lucky readers! (Two readers will get the book AND the puzzle!). So that is two more prizes for a total of FOUR!

So are you all ready to enter my VERY FIRST giveaway!? Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! Giveaway open until Tuesday, March 6th at 11:59pm Eastern and is open to US and Canadian residents only (age 18 and up). Winners will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends via email and I will post the winners names on Wednesday March 7th on the blog. If a winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen. Please read the terms and conditions before entering. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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  1. Shannon says

    Great suggestions! I plan to share your list of toys with my families. My favorite is the farm set….I also love bubbles!

    • Katie says

      BUBBLES! Shannon that is one I totally forgot about. Although I think I might do a post about favorite reinforcers and bubbles would DEFINITELY be on there. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. says

    We don’t have a kitchen set, but we love our grill set. I purposely got one without batteries, and not only do they create yummy dishes for me, they love to stand behind it and pretend it’s an ice cream stand…or a drive-thru window, LOL! Great for independent and interactive play.
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  3. says

    I absolutely love using Mr. Potato Head with the younger children. It’s great for speech and language development, and there are so many activities you can do with it!

  4. Lauren Knott says

    I would have to say my son’s firehouse is our favorite no batteries toy. Both boys spend endless hours using their imagination with it. It’s kind of like a dollhouse for boys.

  5. Rachel says

    My son, 13 months, LOVES and ‘homemade’ instrument. His favorite is an empty water bottle half filled with rice. He can entertain himself forever banging on the metal dog bowl with a measuring cup too:)

    • Katie says

      Rachel that is awesome! I have a post coming up about using things like water bottles and things around the house for language learning toys!! You would LOVE the unplugged Play book!

  6. Carrie Manchester says

    I’m always telling parents that the best toys are the ones that don’t DO something! I was so disappointed with Fisher Price when the changed the Little People Farm. I never thought of just taking the batteries out! I LOVE Mr. Potato Head. You can do so much with them…simple vocabulary building (body parts, colors), building MLU (nose->red nose->want red nose->i want red nose please, etc), attributes (big nose, muscular arms), etc.

    • Katie says

      Carrie I agree. I have been disappointed in several toy makers in the way they have changed their toys since I was a kid. The little people farm is a great example. Why on EARTH does it need to make sounds? Our KIDS should be providing the sounds! And don’t get me started on the “educational benefits” that toys claim to have that make all the noise….sigh.

      • Carrie Manchester says

        EXACTLY! I used to get so upset when I saw that the box said “promotes speech development.” No, Fisher Price, making the farm talk for the kids makes them talk less, not more!

  7. Brandi says

    This may not count, but my son’s sandbox and swing set are my fav non-battery “toys”. He can play for hours outside and I love to see what his imagination is making his swing set for the day. Usually it is a fire station/truck. Sometimes a construction site :)

    • Katie says

      Cassandra we have one of those too! LOVE IT! I have one I bought for work YEARS ago and my daughter is always trying to get it out….so I bought her her own!

  8. says

    Hi Katie! I love so many of your recommended unplugged toys. In my house, Mr Potato Head and the Little People Farm are two favorites. thanks for sharing!

  9. Sabrina says

    I appreciate all the effort you have put into your posts on the topics of toys. We live in a techno-world and I feel sometimes we need to get back to good old-fasioned activities that our parents and grandparents used to participate with. Thanks for all the details and this wonderful giveaway!

  10. Sabrina says

    One of my faves is magnetic letters! There are so many I could list but that has to be one of my all time favourties!

  11. domestic diva says

    Right now: transferring water between containers. Lots of fun. No batteries required (just lots of towels).

    • Katie says

      Water transferring is one of my daughter’s favorites! She does it in the bath or the sink…but you are correct LOTS of towels! 😉