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Choosing Toys for Your Child’s Personality

Knowing your child's personality type can be very useful in many ways. Here's how to choose toys based on your kid's personality.

Updated April 10, 2024

by Jocelyn M. Wood, MA, CCC-SLP

Bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist MA, CCC-SLP
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Watching your child grow, you may naturally compare your little one to another child, a peer, or some developmental milestone. Just as adults come with their own unique set of personalities, children do, too. From a very young age, babies begin to assert who they are. With each different personality comes a unique way of processing the world and learning. Knowing if your child is shy, relaxed, an entertainer, or an explorer can help build a solid foundation to make them feel confident and successful. Here are some great toys for each child’s personality type:

Personality Type: The Shy Child

The shy child is the one watching everything around him. They may not interact or say words, but they know what is happening. If you have a shy child, chances are, you have said, “They understand everything that I say but haven’t said any words yet.” This is because the shy child needs a lot of practice to say words. You may find this one silently moving their lips to try out new words or practicing in the crib when no one is watching.

Toys for the Shy Child

Puzzles

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The shy child enjoys playing alone. Puzzles are a great way to introduce new vocabulary and entertain your child. You can build in language routines, such as “peek-a-boo,” to help build your child’s confidence before they are ready to take the risk of saying their first words.

Stacking Toy

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Stacking toys are a great way to build problem-solving skills. Using simpler toys, you can take some of the focus off of learning a new skill so your child can focus on building language.

Small Mirror

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The shy child wants to be sure they are doing it right, so give them something to look at. A small mirror in the play area lets your child see how their lips and tongue move to make different sounds and motivates them to experience more sound play.

Books with Sliders

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Books with open and close doors provide a great opportunity for your child to be more actively involved in book reading. If your child needs to ask for help opening the door, that might be the opportunity for them to use some words.

Personality Type: The Relaxed Child

Like the shy child, the relaxed child’s personality may appear quiet. However, they are just looking for a good reason to use their words. You may find the relaxed child playing with quieter toys or bopping around to music. One benefit of the relaxed child is that they are very attentive to book reading, so you won’t ever have to worry about wrangling them for storytime!

Toys for the Relaxed Child

Sensory Bins

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Sensory bins are an excellent way for children to dig in and make learning exciting. Although they may be cautious initially, the relaxed child is cool with just about anything. They will love commenting on all the new experiences while playing. This is an excellent toy for a relaxed personality.

Magnetic Blocks

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Building is a great way to build problem-solving and creativity. Remember that if a relaxed child is motivated, the language will flow. Working together with magnetic blocks provides many opportunities to talk through what they are doing.

Baby Einstein Cube

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Music is key to language learning for a relaxed brain. This activity can easily be leveled up by adding words to the song for a creative language routine. Your relaxed child will learn words put to song much quicker than just listening to spoken words.

Textured Books

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Textured books are a nice surprise that will make your baby want to express her enjoyment. Your child will want to go back to these books all the time—instant motivation!

Personality Type: The Entertainer

The entertainer has no problem telling you exactly what is on their mind. Parents of an entertainer may wonder if there was ever a time that their child was NOT communicating. This kid enjoys performing for a crowd and easily attempts new words. They have no problem going into new situations and meeting new people.

Toys for the Entertainer

Microphone

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Every entertainer needs a microphone, even if it is just the kind that echoes. Your child can use this to teach others or announce what is going on during daily activities.

Baby Doll

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With so much language, the entertainer does well with pretend play. They can learn different scenarios with a doll, such as bath time, bottle feeding, or diaper changes, and pair each new situation with new language phrases.

Pretend Food

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Another great way to encourage pretend play is with play food. Making soups and sharing a feast with teddy bear friends is a great way to build creativity and combine multiple items into play.

Puppets

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Puppets can be used to bring the entertainer’s favorite story to life, whether they are the actor or the audience. These are great toys for the entertainer’s personality.

Personality Type: The Explorer

The explorer is non-stop energy and has no problem taking risks. This is usually the child who began walking before their first birthday but was slower with words. The explorer’s fearless attitude sometimes finds them in risky situations (like escaping from the crib). Although this fearless nature lends itself well to the risk-taking required of language learning, the explorer needs help slowing down to absorb language.

Toys for the Explorer

Tunnel

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A tunnel is a great way to get some sensory input to slow the body down and find a sense of calm. Turn it into a game: Find objects on one side of the tunnel to place in a bucket on the other side of the tunnel to practice naming objects.

Ball Drop Toy

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Kids love this toy! Simply place balls on top and watch them fly down the racecourse. To slow the explorer down a bit, hold onto the balls and have your child request them. Then, practice saying “Ready, set, go!” as you drop the balls in.

Balls/Sports Equipment

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For the child on the move, provide a fun outlet, such as soccer balls, golf sets, or basketball hoops (depending on the space!). Or, get creative and turn a laundry basket into a soccer net or basketball hoop using squishy balls or balloons.

Orange Cones

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Simple orange cones can be an amazing tool to set up obstacle courses. Put a picture of an animal on each cone to have your child act it out as they hop, jump, or crawl past.

Knowing your child’s personality can be empowering for both you and them. And these toys specifically for their personality can help!

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Jocelyn M. Wood, MA, CCC-SLP Bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist MA, CCC-SLP
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Jocelyn M. Wood, MA, CCC-SLP, is a bilingual speech-language pathologist with over a decade of experience. She specializes in finding simple and effective ways to boost children’s speech and language… Read more

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