Cause and Effect Toys and Tips

Cause and effect toys are great for teaching important developmental skills. Our special needs and autism expert details below some easy ways to focus on building these skills. Not sure what cause and effect toys are worth purchasing? Our expert lists 12 such toys that she loves and highly recommends!

Important early concepts can be embedded into play. We’ve listed a few of these below that you can work on at home with your child. We recommend that you say the word WHILE you perform the action that the word represents. Then, give your child a chance to perform the action. For example, say “put in” while you put a coin into the toy cash register drawer. Then, hand the coin to your child to prompt him / her to do the same.

  • Put In / Take Out
  • Open / Close
  • On / Off
  • Top / Bottom
  • Push / Pull

When playing with cause and effect toys, help reinforce beginning language development by using picture cards and simultaneously saying the word represented in the picture. Make sure to allow your child to point to the picture cards to communicate what to do. We’ve listed below some popular words and phrases to incorporate into play time. Click here for a free, downloadable set of picture cards that correspond with these words.

  • Go
  • Stop
  • My Turn
  • Your Turn
  • More
  • All Done
  • Ready, Set, Go!
  • 3, 2, 1, Go!
  • Uh-oh!

Here are some pre-academic skills to build into play time with cause and effect toys:

Imitation: You can say “do this” and then perform an action with the toy (e.g. “bang the drum”) that you want your child to imitate. 

Turn Taking / Back and Forth Play: Use the toys to encourage your child to take turns with you (e.g. adult pushes car to child, child pushes car to adult). Read more about how to effectively teach turn taking here

Color Matching: Practice matching like colors together.

Color Identification: Point to a color and ask your child to verbally state the name of that color. If your child is non-verbal, say a color and then ask your child to find and point to that specific color.

Counting: Practice counting both forwards and backwards with your child.

Counting Using One-to-One Correspondence: Practice counting a set of objects rather than just reciting a number sequence. Also help your child count the number of objects and then ask him / her to state the total amount.

Number Recognition: Point to a number and then ask your child to verbally state the name of the number. If your child is non-verbal, say a number and then ask your child to find and point to that specific number.

    FINALLY, here are our top 12 cause and effect toy picks that we love to use while focusing on the skills highlighted above.

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    Melissa Ames
    Melissa Ames


    2 Responses

    Abdelkarim Moussir
    Abdelkarim Moussir

    April 19, 2020


    January 11, 2017

    Great ideas and thank you for providing those pictures to use. This is exactly what we need.

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