Pragmatic Language Toys for Play Dates

Planning a play date for your child during the school holidays?

Why arrange a play date? 

Play develops motor skills, construction skills, symbolic pretend play, problem-solving, negotiation, reasoning skills, social language skills, independence, creativity and risk-taking in a safe environment.

More importantly: it’s fun!

Here’s an evidence-based list of toys to get kids talking and playing with each other:

  • Sandbox (buckets, spades, diggers, dinosaurs)
  • Small figurines (e.g. army, animals, pirates)
  • Dress-ups (e.g. superheroes, knights, princesses, emergency/medical workers)
  • Subject to parents’ views, stylised toy guns, foam bullets and swords
  • Board/talking games (e.g. Snakes & Ladders, Monopoly, Cluedo, Battleship, The Game of Life, Checkers/Chess, Ludo, Guess Who, Hedbanz)
  • Card games (e.g. Fish, Snap, Uno, Old Maid, Memory, Werewolf)
  • Blocks (classic wooden, Castle Logix, Lego, Jenga)
  • A train set (train engines, cars, cabooses, freight, bridges, ramps, tracks, landscapes, stations)
  • A large whiteboard and markers (or blackboard and chalk)
  • Playdough and tools (stampers, rolling pins, moulds) 
  • Small tables and chairs, blankets and cushions (imaginary forts, castles, secret bases, ‘cover’)  
  • Sports equipment (balls, hoops, cone markers)

Planning a Play Date for your child during the school holidays?


(1) Gray, P. (2017). What exactly is play, and why is it such a powerful vehicle for learning?. Topics in Language Disorders37(3), 217-228.

(2) Parsons, L., Cordier, R., Munro, N., & Joosten, A. (2019). The feasibility and appropriateness of a peer-to-peer, play-based intervention for improving pragmatic language in children with autism spectrum disorder. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology21(4), 412-424.

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Hi there, I’m David Kinnane.

Principal Speech Pathologist, Banter Speech & Language

Our talented team of certified practising speech pathologists provide unhurried, personalised and evidence-based speech pathology care to children and adults in the Inner West of Sydney and beyond, both in our clinic and via telehealth.

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