what toys and products are best ?
I'll try to explain how and why I use certain toys, books, or products that I have had a lot of success with in terms of eliciting language. Not all toys are created equal!
I'll begin with one of my favorite toys to use with kids! This laugh and learn piggy bank is super cute and kids seem drawn to it! It has coins that fit inside a slot on the top of the pigs head, and if there are batteries and turned on, it will count as you insert the coins. I don't pay much attention to the counting though. I use this toy to get repetitions of targets in mostly. If I want the child to say 'in', which is one of the functional words we always work on first, this is perfect! I will hold up two coins and ask which one they want, sometimes I will ask them to take a color, or hold two in one hand vs. one in the other so they have to pick which has more, or which has one.
You can touch the pigs nose and he will say some phrases and sing some songs. The nose is great for practicing saying nose, finding the child's own nose, turning things on, etc.
The key is, as you will notice will nearly every toy I review, to have the adult in complete control of the toy for the most part. If they can touch the nose, they won't be as motivated to say things like on and nose. Withholding it until you get an attempt is the key!
Modeling these targets is also important. Before you start having children use words and make requests, you have to model how to play with this and what you want them to do and say. Then you can move onto these targets and try controlling the toy, but at first, let the child play and model how to play with it; otherwise, they will likely get frustrated and end up mad at you and the toy.
This toy usually runs about $14. I will include a link here if you want to see more of it.