I love using Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head in speech with my little ones. I can seriously target a variety of goals with this one toy. Not only is this a versatile toy, but it’s also a crowd pleaser with my preschoolers! Read below to find out how I use potato heads in my sessions.
Many of my kiddos have difficulty with “he” and “she.” With my preschoolers, it’s mostly “he” for everything. I start out by putting the girl shoes on one potato head and the boy shoes on the other so they stand and then we kind of know who’s the boy and who’s the girl. Then, we take turns requesting for various items for our boy and girl potato heads by saying “He wants the (blue hat, etc.)” or “She wants the (yellow hat, etc.).” If my student continues to use “he” but places the item on the girl, we then talk about it and say our sentence again with “she.” To work on possessive pronouns, simply ask your student, “Whose (hat, etc.) is that?” and they must respond with “his” or “hers.”
The concept of negation is an area that I work on a lot with my children and I love that it’s so easy to target while playing with potato heads! I usually do this when we’re cleaning up. I might say, “Give me the hat that is not blue” or “Give me the arms that are not short.”
Potato heads are great ways to work on basic body parts. Sometimes I take it a step further and ask what we do with each body part (What do we do with our eyes? Our ears? Etc.). I may also ask, “Does he have eyebrows?” or “Does she have shoulders?” and then point them out on each other to work on more advanced body parts as well.
It’s always fun to name your potato heads with your student’s speech sound. Another way to tie in your speech sound is to find items or pictures that begin or end with the sound and give them to the potato heads. For example, if my child is working on /p/, I might give him some play foods that begin with /p/ such as a pear, peach, pancake, and pasta. At the word level you could start the sentence, “Mr. Potato Head is eating a…” and have your child fill in the blank. At the phrase level, maybe they could tell Mr. Potato Head to “eat pear.” And at the sentence level, then of course have them form a sentence such as “He is eating a pear.”
To target prepositions with potato heads, simply place one of Mr. or Mrs. Potato Heads’ items somewhere and ask the child to express where it is. For instance, I may put the nose under the table or next to the chair. You could also give your child a direction to follow such as “Put the blue hat behind the desk.”
Take turns giving and following directions with your kids as you build your potato heads. Include as little or as many steps as needed. For example, if I’m working on 2-step temporal directions with my kids, I might say, “Put the eyes on the girl before you put the hat on the boy.”
Sometimes our potato heads perform various actions such as running, jumping, walking, sitting, eating, etc. It’s also fun to pull out the action cards and place them in front of a potato head and say, “Mrs. Potato Head is singing,” for example.
There are so many ways to use potato heads in speech! Why not make it fun?!
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