Just about everyone remembers the old “Mr. Potatohead” set where you used a real potato and then dressed it up like a person, with accessories included in the kit. Kids had so much fun with the set that millions were sold. Nowadays, the real potato has been traded for a plastic body to which children add eyes, ears, hats and more. Don’t have a Mr. Potatohead set? Sure you do, it’s in your kitchen.
Fruits and vegetables make great playtime toys for kids because you don’t have to go buy new games and most of the things you need to play are right there in your home. Potatoes are perfect, of course, for making funny people at playtime. You can make a set of accessories for the potato from many things you have at home.
To make eyes, fill beads with glue and put half of a toothpick in one end. Allow to dry. Kids can push the toothpick and bead eyeballs into the potatoes easily if you leave the pointed part pointing outwards. Cut 4 ear shapes and glue a toothpick in between each set of two. Now kids can push the ears into the potato. Wax lips, often sold on candy shelves, make the perfect lips for the potato person. Again, use toothpicks on the back of the lips to secure.
Pipe cleaners, cut to different sizes then shaped, work great for making arms and legs. The pipe cleaners come in all sorts of colors and are easy to cut. Poke a hole in the potato with the toothpick then place the pipe cleaners in the hole.
Cut craft foam pieces to shape hats, bow ties, lapels, and other accessories. Or, use felt pieces to cut clothing for the potato. Use baby doll shoes of all sizes, shapes and designs, to make feet for the potato people. Bend the pipe cleaners severely on the end and the shoe will stay in place, although the potato person will not be able to stand. Other accessories are doll purses, tiny pieces of cloth to use as bandanas or scarves or doll hair.
A fun thing for kids to do with fruits is to draw on them. Use non-toxic marker assortments and let kids draw faces, write their name, or just color on an orange, tangerine, lemon, or any fruit that has a peel. Kids love to draw, especially on things not normally allowed.
Another fun fruit for kids is a banana. Let them get out stickers and markers for decorating the fruit before peeling and eating. Make sure the markers are non-toxic. Use letter stickers so they can spell their name, or stickers depicting clothes, jewelry and other accessories.
The great thing about playing with fruits is that the kids can eat them when playtime is over. Playtime can be extra fun when you break out the food and craft supplies. Make accessories, purchase stickers, and gather markers when you can, then place it all in a box for another time.