Mr. Potato Head is a smart addition to your speech therapy room. This toy is a fan favorite because it’s a crowd pleaser and is so versatile!
I use it to target:
1. Labeling & Object Function of Body Parts
Give your student the head, then have them label each body part or clothing item as they add it. Use this opportunity to work on the function for each body part and where they belong on the body. Do the same with clothing items.
You can also expand vocabulary with descriptive words for each body part: “Round nose, orange lips, etc.”
Using two potato heads, label one a girl and one a boy. Take turns giving directions for building the heads: “She wants the pink lips… he wants the green hat.” You can also ask questions: “Who has the green hat?… He does.”
3. Following & Giving Directions
Place the potato and body parts in front of the student. Give them very specific instructions (“Put the blue hat on Mr. Potato Head”) to follow. Once they are ready, have them give you building directions. You can also work on multi-step directions: “Put on the orange nose, then put on the green shoes.”
You can also hide body parts around the room. They can ask for clues or you can provide directions for the student to find the parts they need.
You can get these toys to do anything, so play with them and describe what they’re doing! Walk, talk, eat, listen, break, fall, etc.
Begin with early prepositions by placing Mr. Potato Head around the room and asking where he is: “On the chair… behind the door.” You can also provide instructions or ask questions that use prepositions: “Put the nose above the mouth… is the nose above or below the mouth?”
6. Expanding Language/MLU
Describing the items and clothing is an easy way to work on expanding language. Encourage them to be as descriptive as possible with full sentences: “Mr. Potato Head has orange glasses.”
7. Full Body Listening
Use Mr. Potato Head as an example for how the student can listen with their whole body. “Mr. Potato head uses his eyes to look at me, his ears to listen to me, keeps his feet still on the floor, etc.”
Give the student the potato head and keep the body parts for yourself. As they build the head, they should ask you for the parts they want. Prompt them to be as specific as possible. For example, if they request the shoes, ask whether they want the green shoes or the blue shoes. If they are not verbal yet, wait to hand them the parts until they pull on your hand or make eye contact.
9. Comparing & Contrasting
Build two Mr. Potato Heads with parts that are almost identical but have one or two differences. Have the student compare the two heads to identify what’s different between the two heads vs. what’s the same.
10. Barrier Games
Give each student a potato head and body parts, then set up a barrier between the two such as a file folder. Have one student put their pieces on Mr. Potato Head, then give directions to the other participant for placing items. The goal should be to have matching Mr. Potato Heads at the end. For more on barrier games, see my blog post.
11. Turn Taking & Sharing
Give the potato to one student and a box filled with the body parts to the other. The student holding the potato should communicate with the other to coordinate what they add to the head. They can learn how to politely communicate, take turns, and share the toy.
Name Mr. Potato Head with the student’s target sound for easy articulation practice.
Do you have a favorite way to use Mr. Potato Head? Tell me in the comments!
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