Mr. Potato Head was invented long before his feature in the Toy Story movies. Originally produced in 1949 and the first toy ever to be advertised on television, Mr Potato Head (as we know it today) appeared on shelves in 1964.
Even though Mr. Potato Head now has many friends, faces and disguises, he still proves to be one of the classic toys that has stood the test of time. And after you read all the educational benefits, you will see why!
Educational Benefits of Mr. Potato Head
- Fine Motor Skills are developed as children grasp the pieces and manipulate into position on Mr. Potato Head.
- Different types of play transpire with this toy also, depending on a child’s age. Pretend play (playing ‘make-believe’), Parallel play (playing next to or close to another, but not playing with each other) and Associative play (where children are sharing or using the same materials). All these types of play develop your child’s imagination and creativity.
- Body awareness – Learning body parts becomes a little easier when you can fit them in your small hand! As well as identifying the name of each part, your child will also learn to put them in the correct position – for example, nose belongs in the middle of the face, hair goes on top and so on.
- Visual Scanning is a skill that quickly develops when playing Mr Potato Head. You know how it is – when all the pieces sprawled out in front of you, as you desperately search for those red lips or last pink ear. Your child will scan all the pieces just as you would, to look for that perfect piece.
- Your child will learn to copy and match as they assemble Mr Potato Head. Following direction and instructions are important skills for preschoolers to learn, as they imitate you or other children playing.
- Pack away. All the pieces of Mr Potato’s head will give your child ample opportunity to learn to pack up and practice cleaning up after themselves. This is one skill I love to teach my children!
Why kids will love it
- Children feel empowered when they can make their own choices and decisions. Being able to choose their own features and create their very own face will give your child a tremendous sense of achievement.
- Fun – you might find a tongue in place of a nose, or an eye in the ear. Children will have fun creating their own faces – mixed up or otherwise!
- There aren’t too many toys that are as unique as Mr Potato Head. Whether it’s an outfit change or just a different expression on his face, your child will be intrigued by the many characters they can create with just one toy. Best of all, they will be entertained for hours!
Activities and tips for parents
- EMOTIONS – Create different faces (for example, happy, sad, angry) and ask your child ‘How does Mr. Potato Head feel?’ and ‘Why might he feel like that?’
- WHAT’S MISSING? With a completed Mr. Potato Head in front of your child, ask them to close their eyes while you take one piece off. Then, with opened eyes, they need to determine which piece is missing.
- TOUCH – Place all Mr. Potato Head pieces in a bag or under a sheet. Ask your child to close their eyes and search for a particular piece or identify what is in their hands by feeling the pieces
- BODY PART BY BODY PART – Have your child assemble Mr. Potato Head piece by piece, determined by the body part that you point to. For example, when you point to your nose, your child has to choose a nose for Mr. Potato Head and attach it.
- COPY CAT – if you are lucky enough to have two Mr Potato Heads,
assemble one yourself and ask your child to copy yours.
Always check that the toy is appropriate for your child’s age. This toy can have small parts, which are not recommended for small babies and toddlers.