Holiday Gift Guide For Kids With Special Needs (Part 4 of 5)

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Gifts to Build Your Child’s Language Skills

By Aynsley WardenMeet our children’s therapist team.

Our 5-part blog series has covered lots of great gift-giving ideas for kids with special needs, and now we’ve got ideas that can help build their communication skills and still have fun! Here we focus on great gifts help build your child’s language skills. At Canoe Therapy we are committed to making children’s therapy fun so that you as a parent, as well your child, are comfortable. Here we share some of our favourite books, toys and games that we use in speech-language therapy sessions.


1) The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This book builds food related vocabulary, rote counting skills, and descriptive vocabulary. Take things one step further and get real objects and puppets and act out the story with your child to engage them in pretend play.

2) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
This book is a repetitive story that has a fun flow to it and allows your child to remember and say parts of the story easily. Work on animal vocabulary while looking at the bright colourful pages. Start talking about rhyming words that repeat throughout the story.


Some other great books include the following:

  • “The Napping House” by Audrey Wood
  • “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman
  • “Pajama Time!” by Sandra Boynton
  • “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr. and Bill Archambault
  • “Toes, Ears, & Nose!” by Marion Dane Bauer
  • “Peek-a-Moo!” by Marie Torres Cimarusti
  • “Yummy Yucky” by Leslie Patricelli


1) Barnyard Bingo is a simple game to learn matching skills, animal names, and to practice turn taking.

Barnyard Bingo

2) Cariboo carries an element of surprise by letting your child find hidden balls that will help open a secret treasure. Work on colours, turn taking, alphabet and word knowledge with your child in this fun game!


3) Pop-Up Pirate allows for turn taking with multiple players and can be used to work on colours, counting and as a fun motivator for language learning.



To help encourage a child’s problem solving skills and functional exploration of toys, think about getting blocks, puzzles and shape sorters. These are great, especially for the little tiny tots.

1) Melissa & Doug produces a variety of excellent puzzles that make noise and are fun to touch. These can keep your child engaged and help you highlight new words.

2) Toys that resemble real life activities. Build your child’s imagination and pretend play skills using toys that resemble real life activities. Toy food that you can cut apart and dishes are great for acting out kitchen activities. Dolls and dress-up clothes are abundant and allow your child to play parent.

3) Little People has a variety of toy animals and people that can live in a farm, house, or zoo and drive in buses or planes.



4) The Twist and Drill Set lets your child work with child-friendly tools.Twist and Drill Set

5) The Critter Clinic toy lets your child pretend to be a veterinarian to toy animals.

Critter Clinic

Play With Your Child!

Whatever your child likes to play with and read, remember to join in! Building your child’s language skills is never something limited to their speech therapy sessions but rather something that should follow them home as they develop their social skills. Follow your child’s lead as you play with him or her and have fun!

Learn more about Canoe Therapy services

Our holiday gift guide for kids with special needs is available in 5 series. Visit series 1, series 2, series 3, series 4, and series 5.

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