Lakeshore® partnership offers materials to help early educators increase quality interactions in the classroom


Lakeshore + LENA Grow kits

Stacking cups. Photo cards. Easy-to-grasp pattern beads. Bilingual books that help young learners make connections to everything from colors to shapes to feelings.

These materials and many more can be found in new kits to support early childhood educators in promoting conversations in their classrooms. Developed in partnership with Lakeshore®, each of the items has been selected to help increase conversational turns — a powerful tool to boost early brain development — with infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children.

Four kits are available to provide age-appropriate materials that align with the topics teachers explore during LENA Grow’s five-week coaching sequences and beyond:

All four kits are available through Lakeshore’s website. Through the LENA Grow program, educators are encouraged to learn about the latest research on early interaction and apply LENA’s 14 Talking Tips to conversations with children throughout the day. Each week of the program’s coaching sequence focuses on finding ways to increase talk during a specific daily care routine or time of day.

See the program in action!

Explore a LENA Grow Demo

“We really looked at choosing materials that could act as physical representations of our 14 Talking Tips,” said Jodi Whiteman, Director of Partnerships and Growth at LENA. “Like the Tips, the items in these kits are adaptable, flexible, and, though they may appear simple on the surface, highly open-ended to allow for multiple layers of scaffolding and deeper exploration.”

For example, a set of colorful textured balls for infants offers an opportunity for interaction by first talking about the action of rolling a ball back and forth. Teachers can then layer on by describing or asking about the unique sensory aspects of each ball. A dedicated webpage for teachers offers ideas for combining kit items with strategies from the LENA Grow sequence to increase interactions. Materials were also chosen simply to be fun and engaging.

“It’s getting harder and harder to just have fun in a classroom,” Whiteman said. “These are materials that both teachers and children can really enjoy and will want to find more and more ways to interact with. This partnership with Lakeshore will enable us to build even more enthusiasm and motivation and continue to support the amazing teachers who participate in LENA Grow.”


The LENA Team is a dedicated group of professionals who are passionate about increasing awareness of the importance of early interactive talk. We are statisticians, speech-language pathologists, curriculum specialists, engineers, and linguists.

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