Follow along with us at District Speech and Language therapy as we continue our blog series examining some great, engaging, and useful games and toys. Besides being really fun, these standouts also help promote your child’s speech and language! This week: Mr. Potato Head is the gift that keeps on giving. This oldie but goodie is a toy that ALL of my kids get excited to play with. Sometimes I can’t even get a word out before they’re pointing at, requesting for, or grabbing at the Mr. Potato Head who currently lives on my office shelf. Mr. Potato Head comes complete with a set of body parts including: eyes, nose, ears, tongue, teeth, arms, shoes, hat, mustache, and glasses. There are also Mr. Potato Head toys you can purchase that come with several varieties of particular body parts so you can build him different ways! Mr. Potato Head’s New Job – A Speech & Language Therapy Assistant! Whether at home, in the clinic, or at school, here’s how you can use this fun toy to promote language and articulation: Receptive Language This is a fantastic toy if your child or client has a developmental or language delay, especially if there are difficulties related to understanding various basic concepts and/or following directions. For example, you can use Mr. Potato Head to teach: \tbody parts (“show me the nose” or “Where is Mr. Potato Head’s nose?”), \tcolors (“Show me something green”) \tprepositions (“show me something on the top of Mr. Potato Head”). Additionally, you can use this toy to promote following one- and two-step directions. For example, “put the teeth on” or “first, put the nose on, then put the arms on”. Expressive Language If your child or client has a developmental or language delay, with weaknesses in oral expression, you can use Mr. Potato Head for naming various concepts, such as: \tbody parts (“What is this?”), \tcolors (“What color are his shoes?”) \tfunction (“What body part do you hear with?”). It can also help with requesting an item. For example, before getting the item that the child wants, he/she must use a short phrase or sentence (i.e., “I want the nose” or “I need the hat please”). This is instead of simply gesturing or using one word. Articulation If your child or client is working on a specific sound, you can practice several trials of that sound and then allow him/her to put something on Mr. Potato Head. Go back and forth like this until Mr. Potato Head is dressed or until you’ve completed all of your trials. If you live in the D.C. area and have concerns about your child’s language or articulation and would like to seek additional help beyond what your school based speech language pathologist may be able to provide, visit https://districtspeech.com for more information on our assessment and therapy services for children of all ages.