Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Best Language Toy Ever

A crucial element to the success in using cochlear implants is receiving auditory verbal therapy. Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT) teaches deaf children how to utilize what ever usable hearing they have to acquire speech and language. It teaches the children how to listen. Ava receives AVT once per week. What is the best way to teach a child how to listen? Why through fun and play!

While you are playing with your child, you can help her/him increase his language skills and you can have fun together at the same time. It is amazing how an an incredible amount of language can be drawn from the simplest toy. After all, children learn best when they are having fun. A toy that not only promotes language but also maintains your child's interest.

I have been wanting to blog about a really great toy that Ava plays with constantly. It so happens that I think it is probably one of the best (if not the best) toy to use for auditory verbal therapy for toddlers. The toy is the ubiquitous MR. POTATO HEAD. Below are my reasons why Mr. Potato Head is so fantastic:

*BODY parts - Ava learned the names of the common body parts this way. First she learned body parts receptively by pointing when asked "where's the eyes?" Now, when I ask, "what's this?" she can respond orally and name the correct part.

*COLOURS - Ava learned her colours from this toy.

*AUDITORY MEMORY - "Give me the shoes and the eyes"....or "get the red shoes and the orange nose"

*WHAT'S MISSING? - leave the nose off and ask your child "What's missing?" or you can be silly and put the parts in the wrong spot and ask "Do the eyes go here?"

*CHOICE - do you want the ears or the feet?

*LEARNING PREPOSITIONS - "put the ears in", "take it off", put the hat "on" his head, "lay the feet beside the arms", "his hat is behind him"

*LEARNING PRONOUNS - "give the eyes to me", "those are his shoes", "where are your ears"

*SAME AND DIFFERENT" - put on a red ear and and orange ear and ask "is this the same?"


*FUN FACTOR - Ava first received her Potato Head at around 12 months. She is now 21 months and still plays with it every single day.

Ava's AV therapist recommended a really great book called "The New Language of Toys"by Sue Schwartz. It is all about how to use toys to stimulate your child's language skills. It recommends age appropriate toys to use for different age groups as well as how to make some homemade toys. It also has a guide and checklist to follow as to what language goals are reasonable for their age and development. I am constantly referring to the book for new language game ideas. It retails for about $22US.

I bought a used one on Amazon for much less than that.

Happy Playing!


  1. You're right--this can be a priceless tool! They also make different themed ones like Doctor Potato Head, a pirate one, a Halloween one, and some others with various accessories that would be good to play around with :)

  2. Great post! We love our Mr. Potato Head too, but you gave me even more ideas to do with him! Thanks!

  3. We use Mr Patato Head too but what great ideas that we have not done yet, we are going to try these activities for sure!!

  4. Wow, that's a super idea! Now what is there for adults with a new CI? Hmmm, I'll have to think :)