Mr. Potato Head is a versatile, fun toy that children of all ages can enjoy. It’s a toy that can be used to teach speech, language, cognition, fine motor, and gross motor. As the child grows, Mr. Potato head can be used for more elaborate pretend play.
Here are some different ways you can approach speech therapy at home with Mr. Potato Head.
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Before you begin:
- Figure out where the child is at developmentally and help them succeed at that level. Always remember to praise the child for any attempt at what your asking them to do. Have fun!
- Have control of the body parts in a Ziploc bag, or place them in your lap and out of reach of the child.
Speech Therapy with Mr. Potato Head
There are several ways you can use Mr. Potato Head in an at home speech therapy session with your child.
1. You can teach sign language. Focus on signs like “more” or “give me”. Help the child sign “give me” or “more” to request each piece.
2. Receptive Identification: Ask the child, “where is your foot/hand/nose etc. then hand the child the piece once they try.
3. Expressive Language: Ask the child, what is this? Have the child label the body part then hand it to them. If they don’t answer, or answer incorrectly, ask again and give them the answer. With repetition and as you teach them, they will begin to answer on their own.
4. Pronouns: Ask, “Where’s YOUR nose? Where’s MY nose?” Working on my/your and pointing accordingly. If you have two Mr. Potato Heads you can use each as my/your. If you have one Mr. Potato Head you can use your own body parts, then give the piece to the child one they’ve tried to answer. The best way to teach pronouns is by comparing and contrasting.
5. Combining more words: If the child says, “nose!”, encourage them to say, “give me nose”, or big nose!”. For verbal children, always try to push them to say a little more than they are successfully saying on their own. Try tacking on one word before or after the word they already used.
6. Verbs: While playing, have the potato head sleep/eat/drink/run.
7. Pretend play: As you’re working on verbs you can have a picnic and take some play-doh to make some pretend cookies, or milk for the potato to eat. Any one of these steps can be practiced for the entire session.
Here is a short video on how to use Mr. Potato Head in a speech therapy session at home.
For more speech and language tips, follow Speech and Feeding Kids on YouTube.
About the Author
DRAKE HASTINGS M.S., CCC-SLP
Drake Hastings is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in speech, oral motor, and feeding therapy for kids. Drake has a passion for working with children and families while helping children achieve goals using a fun and motivating approach to learning.
Drake’s main areas of focus within the practice are feeding therapy, and speech (sound production) therapy. Drake has experience working with children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Apraxia of Speech, Dysarthria, Down Syndrome, and rare genetic disorders. Drake has experience working and collaborating with a wide variety of families and therapeutic team members while treating children of all ages.