Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Potato Head Play

Mr. Potato Head is a toy that many of us SLPs have used in therapy with little ones.  It's always been toted as a "must-have" for anyone working with early intervention/prek.  I love my potato heads (I scored a big tub full of heads and accessories at a yard sale last year!), but I'll admit- there was a point in time when I first began my career, where I wondered how I could *really* use it in a variety ways besides the very basics like labeling body parts and requesting.

If any of you new to the field/new to this population have wondered the same thing, or maybe if you're a more seasoned SLP just looking for new ideas for this toy... Here are some other ways I've been targeting many other speech & language goals through potato head play with my preschoolers!

1.  Pronouns:  I have pieces that let me work on both "he" and "she" during play.  I have eyes with eyeshadow and big eyelashes, earrings, big red lips, purses, etc... so I can not only work on "Mister" potato head but also his female counterpart :)  I model a lot of "HE has green shoes on today" and "SHE has a pretty yellow purse"  and try to slightly emphasize the different pronouns.

2.  Basic Concepts:  I model comments like "He has a BIG nose and LITTLE shoes" "Here's his hat! It goes on top!"  "I'm putting her eyes ABOVE her nose"  Or, if I want to check understanding of concepts, I can say things like, "I have his shoes! Do the shoes go on the top or on the bottom?"

3.  Final consonants:  Purse, nose, arm, feet, eyes, hat, top, put, on, in, take, out-- all great words to model and practice with final consonants during play.  I like to sometimes hide the pieces in a sensory bin (ie my box of beans!) so they dig for parts and then we name the item and do short phrases like "Put on ___"     "___ on top"   and   "___ goes in"

4.  Plurals:  Talk about all the pairs your potato head has! Model plurals by talking about the potato head's two ears, two eyes, two shoes, two feet, two hands, two arms, two earrings, glasses, etc!

5.  Action words/-ING verbs:  Make your potato heads do all kinds of silly actions! "He is running" "She is shopping"  "He is dancing" etc...

What other ways do you play with potato heads?

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