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Toy Closet Spotlight: Wind-Up Toys

Today’s toy spotlight is a wind-up toy! Wind-up toys are always a hit in speech therapy sessions and can target a wide range of goals:


This is a crucial skill to help children learn that actions/words have an effect on the world around them! With a wind-up toy, turning the crank is the cause that leads to the wind-up toy moving. Ask your child “how do we make the toy go?” to practice some cause and effect problem-solving!

Joint attention

Joint attention occurs when two people are focused on an item/action/event. Joint attention helps to develop social communication skills. The goal is to have you and your child share attention on the wind-up toy. You can say “look” while pointing at the toy to help your child focus attention on the wind-up toy! Then discuss the actions of the toy!


  • Requesting for the toy: Have your child request for which wind-up toy he/she would like to play with! Put a toy in each hand to give your child two options to choose from.

  • Asking for help: Wind-up toys are often hard to turn and therefore, your child may need to request for help!

  • Fill-ins: If your child is just learning words, you can say “ready, set, …..” and prompt your child to say “go” to release the wind-up toy!

  • You can prompt your child to say the following requests:

    • Single words: help, spin, turn, want, more, etc.

    • 2-word phrases: help me, help turn, want toy, more turn, more spin, etc.

    • 3-word phrases: help me turn, help me spin, I want toy, more spin toy, etc.


Describe the wind-up toy before playing. For example, if you have a bunny wind-up toy, have your child tell you what he/she knows about a bunny (i.e., hops, has big ears, eats carrots, etc.).


You can practice labeling and imitating the actions of each wind-up toy! For example, ask your child, “What is the bunny doing?” or “What is the car doing?” You can practice the action verb in future, present, or past tense by asking “What did the bunny do?” or “What will the bunny do?”


Target prepositions by moving the wind-up toy around the room! For receptive language (understanding), you can give your child a direction such as “put the bunny on the table.” Close your eyes and wait for your child to complete the task. Then run together to see if he/she followed the direction correctly! For expressive language, switch roles. Have your child close his/her eyes, hide the wind-up toy, then have your child state where the wind-up toy is using the correct preposition word (i.e., in, on, under, behind).

Here is a set of wind-up toys on Amazon that we use here at Jump Start Pediatric Therapy Center! Have fun winding-up some new speech and language skills!

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