EGWs6uuBZ3pp-zGuVVdmeLgkJG4 Across the Avenue: 2023 Holiday Gift Guide: Give a Gift that Encourages Language Development with the Solobo Learn & Drop! #languagemilestones #giftsforkids

2023 Holiday Gift Guide: Give a Gift that Encourages Language Development with the Solobo Learn & Drop! #languagemilestones #giftsforkids

Buying educational gifts for little ones during the holidays is one of my favorite things to do. As a speech-language pathologist, I love to find quality toys which will encourage language development. This year, I'm very excited to gift the Solobo Learn & Drop, along with the 50 Spanish flashcards add-on set. As with most Montessori-style activities, the Learn & Drop is simple yet engaging and focuses on language and motor skill enrichment through play. It's a great way to target basic concepts, which are a critical foundation to a child's development.

About the Solobo Learn & Drop
The Learn & Drop is a Montessori-inspired wooden box with a removable lid which has a large wooden slot in it. The lid is designed in such a way that toddlers can easily take it off and put it back on again. The set includes a pack of fifty flashcards which target basic concepts such as fruits and veggies, animals, animal sounds, colors, numbers and counting. I love that the pictures are realistic rather than cartoonish. There are so many ways to play with this toy and the simple act of placing the flashcard in the slot is an engaging action that young kids are excited to do again and again. It's a wonderful activity that makes learning vocabulary interactive and naturally encourages learning through play. In fact, research shows that children typically make the most developmental gains during play, making the Learn & Drop a gift that parents and children will both be excited about!

Because the Learn & Drop is an open-ended toy, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few ways I like to use it...

  • Describe and Find: Lay out a category of cards (e.g., the animal cards). If I want to target receptive skills, I'll describe the card. When the child identifies the correct card, they select it and place it in the slot. If I want to target expressive skills, the child will choose a card, describe it by size, color, sound, amount...whatever you're looking to practice, and place it in the slot. It's such a basic game that toddlers love.
  • Seek and Find: You can take it up a notch by turning things into a seek and find movement game! Place the cards around the room, describe a card and allow the child to hunt for it. When they've found it, they can run to the box to drop it in the slot. These cards can be used at the word, phrase or sentence level, too!
  • Preposition Practice: Little ones love to put things in and out. These cards are a great incentive to practice the words 'in' and 'out' as they place the cards in and out of the box and 'on' and 'off' as they take the lid on and off. We even use the box on its own at times and use objects instead. It's a fun way to encourage carrier phrases such as 'Where's ___?' and 'I found ___.'

If you have bilingual learners or want to introduce a second language, the Spanish flashcards include the same concepts of colors, animals, animal sounds, shapes, numbers, counting, fruits, and vegetables. It's a perfect add-on to your Drop & Learn gift. I'm using them to teach my one-year-old Spanish vocabulary and he absolutely loves it! 

Fast Facts:
There's a reason this toy is backed by speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and teachers. The Learn & Drop can enhance the following developmental skills:
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Object permanence
  • Fine motor skills
  • Picture reading
  • Objects’ recognition
  • Sight word building
  • Vocabulary enhancement
  • Basic math skills
Rated for children aged 12 months and up.

A Quick Bit on Basic Concepts:
Basic concepts are words that kids need to understand in order to participate in daily routines, follow directions, and participate successfully in conversations. Studies have shown a link between the ability of young children to understand and name these concepts and their future academic success. Basic concepts may include items from the following categories, which children should be able to identify and name:
  • shapes
  • colors
  • size
  • directionality (around, into, etc.)
  • spatial relationships (above, below, next to, in, out, etc.)
  • feelings/emotions
  • quantities
  • sequence
  • textures (smooth, bumpy, etc.)
  • time
  • characteristics (broken, old, new, etc.)

With quite a few excellent holiday gift choices for young children, you'll want to head over to Solobo to browse their entire collection and order high quality learning toys this year!

Disclosure: The product in this post was provided by Solobo. As always, our posts are our own opinions.