Stage 5 Toy List

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Here’s the toy list for recommended toys for Stage 5: Combining Play Actions in Familiar Routines in Stages of Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers with Language Delays.

Remember… The only way babies learn what words mean (and to talk!) is by hearing you say the same key words over and over. As you play, pick one or two key words per toy and repeat those words many times each time you play. Examples are listed for each recommended toy and you can watch demonstrations of how to use the toy in podcast #470.

Our primary focuses for play here at Stage 5 are helping kids learn to…

  1. Use two related toys together
  2. Combine play actions with toys
  3. Pretend activities that they see caregivers complete like cooking, cleaning, shaving, cutting grass, etc.
  4. Continue fine motor/cognitive development

Here’s a list of links followed by descriptions of the toys. In case you’re wondering… Where are the pictures?… Amazon has changed the way links are available for posting by affiliates. I liked the old way better too!

Melissa and Doug Jumbo Puzzles,,

Melissa and Doug Sorting Barn

Spike the Hedgehog

Picnic Basket

Little People School Bus

Little People Fire Truck

Tractor and Trailor Set

Push & Pop Bulldozer

Baby  Doll Sets,,

Counting Surprise Party

Peekaboo Learning Farm



We introduced puzzles way back in Stage 2…when we first began to talk about those 4 big cognitive skills all toddlers are learning…

  • Object permanence
  • Cause and effect
  • Means to an end
  • Problem solving


If a child isn’t interested in puzzles, try DECONSTUCTION first. This means you’ll disassemble the puzzle.

Watch the video for ideas for using puzzles in therapy.

Melissa and Doug Jumbo Puzzles,,

Melissa and Doug Sorting Barn



Here’s a great fine motor toy with extended practice which builds attention to task. Of course, you’ll want to teach colors, but kids may not be ready to name colors for a while. Just focus on exposure. For language, you’ll naturally want to practice “Color word + in,” but that’s not the best language target for this stage for phrases. Try “I” or child’s name + push or even holistic phrases like, “I do it, “ or “I did it.” If child can’t do it or isn’t interested, try deconstruction first. Instead of putting the pegs in Spike, get a container and let a child take his pegs out. Watch the video for a full explanation.

Spike the Hedgehog


This cute set is a transition toy for kids who still prefer toys like shape sorters, but we’re moving on to include another play focus which is pretending to do a familiar person’s activities like cooking, cleaning, and feeding a baby doll. The focus here is combining actions. Remember the goal is 2 actions — not 4 or 5! Try things like: Put food on plate and hand it to you. Pretend to pour in cup and take a drink. Remember the progression we mentioned earlier – first kids learn to pretend with objects on himself, then an adult, and then a doll or character. Watch the video for a full discussion.

Picnic Basket



When teaching a child to combine play actions is a bit more challenging, try simpler options like this:


What toddler isn’t fascinated with a school bus? It’s a universal theme – like trains and cars. Target our play goal of combining two steps like:

Put the person in the bus. Take the person out of the bus. Say something like, “Go girl. Sit down. Bye bye girl.”

Put the person in the bus and then push the bus as you say, “Boy in. Go bus! Bye bye boy!”

Or put the person on the bus and close the door. “Ride the bus. Close the door.”

Or drive the bus then take the people out as you say, “Go bus! The kids ride the bus. Errr! Stop! We’re here. Time to get out.”

Little People School Bus



Work on teaching combinations like this as you model very simple language. Don’t overtalk so that a child can focus on combining actions like:

Put the man in the tractor and drive as you say “Go Daddy!”

Get the tractor and hook the trailer… “Hook tractor.”

Put one animal in the tractor and drive… “Bye bye cow.”

Put 2 animals in the tractor… “Sit down sheep. Sit down pig.”

Of course you can sing Old MacDonald to sequence words/sounds.

Tractor and Trailor Set



Try these simple actions:

Put the person in truck and push as you say, “Go fire truck!”

Put the fire fighter in the truck and spray water as you say, “I spray. Spray water. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

Put both people in the truck as you say, “Let’s go! Sit down! Come on!” or “Get in!”

Little People Fire Truck


Push & Pop Bulldozer

Unlike the popper toys or other walking toys that are just one-step actions, COMBINATIONS are built in to this play. It’s great to use a toy like this for busy kids who need to move as you work and play together. I love the move – sit – move – sit structure for therapy. Play with a sit down toy  and then get up and play a social game or with a toy while we’re moving around. Look for toys that can provide that move around piece too. This is a great choice!

Push & Pop Bulldozer



Baby Doll Sets

I love doll play for both little girls and little boys. Dolls provide lots of opportunities for combining actions and for using objects on another person or doll. Buy a new set if you don’t have good accessories, but what I usually do with families is raid their kitchen and bathroom for things we can use to assemble a set which includes a cup, bowl, spoon, bottles, hairbrush, toothbrush, blanket, diaper, lotion, and band aids… SO FUN for pretending! Work on combining actions in play. For example, when a child is brushing his hair with the hairbrush, after a little bit, direct it to you or the doll. Say… “Oooohhhh… brush my hair!” or “Look… baby’s hair. Let’s brush baby’s hair.” LASTLY —- ADD A BABY DOLL STROLLER FOR A GREAT MOVE AROUND OPTION FOR THIS STAGE…

For language, when a child uses a single word, expand it. He says “Baby” you say “Baby + what baby is doing.” It’s best to narrate what child is doing like… EAT BABY, BRUSH HAIR, BRUSH TEETH, NIGHT NIGHT BABY or “cold baby.” For you SLPs… remember evidence-based practice is NOT to model telegraphic speech. Use grammatically correct phrases. So instead of saying, “Baby cold,” you should say…. “The baby is cold.” Don’t stress out if you still find yourself using some telegraphic models, but just know what best practice is.

Baby  Doll Sets,,




This adorable set of two-piece present boxes with objects inside capitalizes on a toddler’s interest for opening/closing containers. It’s fantastic for helping kids learn to name items… primarily at the single word level, but you can target practically any goal in therapy with this set including grouping/sorting and matching. I also like this set for targeting holistic phrases for gestalt language learners like… “It’s a ____.”  This strategy also works well for kids with motor planning issues because you’re teaching them to fill-in-the-blank with the anchor phrase as a facilitating strategy. Watch the video for a full explanation!  There’s a similar toy that you may like too — The Peekaboo Learning Farm with little barns that hold a farm animal. It’s perfect for kids who are working on imitating play sounds.

Counting Surprise Party

Peekaboo Learning Farm


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