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First Words: Books, toys and apps to help your child say them!

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

We've put together a collection of our favourite resources that you can use at home to help encourage your child's first words.


To keep your child engaged, we recommend lift-the-flap books; thicker, cardboard pages also help develop your child's motor skills by encouraging them to eventually turn the pages for you (they're also a lot more durable!).

Open the Barn Door Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Toys and Play

Playing with your child, whether it's with a toy or without, can pique their interest and offer opportunities to practice a wide range of first words. It can also help build familiarity with turn-taking.


Practice words like: ball; bounce; push; me; you; down; kick; pass; go


Practice words like: bubble; blow; pop; open; up; down; more, wet

Animal figurines (or animals in books)

Practice words like: cow; moo; dog; puppy; woof; cat; meow; pig; oink; pink; horse; neigh; sheep; baa

Toy vehicles

Practice words like: beep-beep; car; push; go; wee; up; down; vroom

Toy foods

Practice words like: mmm; yum; drink; eat; milk; apple; banana; please; more; etc.

Baby/Doll and related items

Practice words like: baby; milk; bottle; eat; walk; boots; sleep; goodnight

Potato Head

Practice words like: head; eyes; nose; ears; mouth; hands; feet; shoes; hat; on; off


For first words, we typically recommend non-digital activities. It is also important to remember that the recommendation is no screen time for infants under 18 months, and less than one hour of screen time for toddlers aged 2-3. For those limited screen time interactions, however, phones, tablets and computers can offer opportunities to enrich your child's language development! Check out these apps to supplement other forms of learning.

By using My PlayHome with your child, you can move different items throughout rooms and pair them with family members. Encourage your child to practice common words they'll use around the house while also introducing pronouns like "she" or "mine".

100 words for Babies & Toddlers is a fun way to teach vocabulary to children up to 4 years old. Animations and voice overs help introduce little ones to a range of subjects like animals, the outdoors, bath time, clothes and more.

Touch, Look, Listen - My First Words is an app by StoryToys that takes you through a customizable 3D pop-up book. It offers 100 vocabulary words and simple prompts you can ask your child (i.e. "Tap on the cat"). The app also has an option for second language learning.

We hope the resources we've listed will inspire new ways for you to help your child learn their first words. Have any suggestions we haven't listed? Let us know in the comments! You can also check out our blog posts on baby sign or speech milestones from ages 1 to 5 for more information about language acquisition.

This post was made with contributions from Speech Language Pathologists Ibtissam Mustaq and Joanne Curia.


Andalusia Speech Therapy has multiple clinics across Ontario and offers virtual therapy to clients anywhere in the world. Contact us more for information.

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