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5 Ways to Use... Mr Potato Head

I use Mr Potato Head in most of my sessions, including assessment sessions, to support language and communication development in the children I am working with. A Mr Potato Head toy engages children best, however you can download printable pictures of Mr Potato Head and his parts if you don't have access to a toy. Below are 5 ways in which I use My Potato Head in my sessions, what I target using this and how, which you can replicate at home.

1. Following single word instructions

My Potato Head can be used to support your child's understanding of single words. You can begin by holding up a single item at a time and labelling this using a single word to begin teaching them the labels for each item. This can then be extended to offering 2 (or more) items and labelling one for your child to identify.

2. Making choices

You can support your child's ability to make and indicate a choice by offering a choice of 2 items and allowing them to choose what to do next. When offering choices label each item using a single word and repeating this for the item chosen before giving it to your child. Your child may indicate a choice by looking to the preferred item, reaching/grabbing, or attempting to request verbally.

3. Understanding body parts

Mr Potato Head leads well to teaching and learning body parts. As when teaching your child to follow single word instructions, label each body part using a single word when offered. As they start to show an understanding of these labels you can offer 2 at a time, labelling one, and supporting your child to select the correct one.

4. Understanding colour labels

Similarly with understanding body parts you can use Mr Potato Head to label colours while putting items in. You can then ask them to identify an item by colour when offered one (or more). This works particularly well if you have more than one of each item to offer (e.g. yellow shoes or blue shoes).

5. Using single words

You can encourage your child to use single words during play with My Potato Head by offering choices and modelling labels and pausing to encourage your child to repeat the word. By pausing you indicate to your child that they are expected to do 'more' to request the item they want by vocalising or repeating the word without prompting them to "say it".

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