Friday, January 18, 2013

Toddler Craft Activity: Mr. Potato Head

My son LOVES Toy Story. He loves all three movies, has tons of Toy Story toys and can spot a Toy Story character from a mile away. I've never really been able to get him interested in art/craft projects. However, he's been doing some little art projects at school and he seems to be quite proud of them. The projects were sitting either on our dining room table (our catch-all) or one of the kitchen counters. Multiple times he picked up his project and brought it to different people in the household to show them saying, "Mine". It was so cute!! He was so proud to show us what he made!

I decided maybe he was finally ready to try some more art/craft projects at home. But I knew I had to keep it interesting for him. So I decided to do something with a character he was familiar with: Mr. Potato Head. I cut out various pieces for both Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.
I gave him both a glue stick and a small bottle of Glue-all. I wasn't sure which would be easier for him. We started with the Glue-all. He did a few pieces with my help. I verbalized the different body parts as he glued them on. I also showed him PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) images of body parts. We used PECS with our oldest daughter when she was young and learning to talk (she has Apraxia). I happened to find these PECS when I cleaned out a closet recently and thought I'd give them a try with Kellan.
He didn't last long initially. He did the first few body parts and then got down and played in the family room.
 But he came back to finish Mr. Potato Head.
He got up again went and played for a few minutes, but was intrigued and came back for more. He decided to investigate the glue stick. He started touching it and digging his finger in it.
I've learned to be a lot more laid back than I was with the girls. There's a great blog called Play At Home Mom. They use the Reggio approach to their play and parenting. While I admire their method, it is a bit too free for me. But that's doesn't mean they don't have great ideas! I just recognize this type of parenting/learning would not work for me. I do not judge them and I think everything they do is fantastic. (Off the topic for a second, I find it so interesting how many people criticize the moms at Play At Home Mom on their Facebook page! Some of the comments blow me away. The boldness and pretentiousness of other people. Judging some really wonderful moms because they don't agree with what they are doing with their kids.)

One of the things these moms do is say "Yes" to their kids more often. They say yes to things that generally would make most parents tell their kids no (ie: letting their son throw sand in the air at the beach). All they ask themselves is "What will happen if I let my child do .....?" I admire how much they can let their children explore and investigate things by not restricting them. I also realize my son needs restrictions because he isn't fully aware of appropriate behavior yet and what may harm someone else. However, I do find myself letting him investigate things more than I would have in my younger mommy years. I would have been annoyed had my girls dug their fingers into a glue stick. Essentially wasting or ruining a perfectly good glue stick. However, now I just say, "what's the harm?" So what if I have to buy another glue stick? He is having a great sensory experience discovering that the glue stick is gooey and sticky.
It sticks to the paper. It's hard to lift off the paper.
Things stick to my hand because it's sticky:
Oh, things stick to it if I put them on the gooey stuff.
So, even though this little easy craft project didn't go exactly the way I pictured in my mind. We had fun and my son had a great time investigating and learning about glue. And look at the fun Picasso-ish Potato Head he did all on his own!


  1. super cute idea! think i might do this with my 5 year old.

  2. Adorable! Just pinned so that I can do this with my little one sometime!

  3. I am currently working on cutting everything out to do this with my son's playschool, with 16 kids!

    1. Oh wow! That's a lot of cutting! Hope you are watching a good show or movie while you're doing all that. ;-) Have fun with the kids and the project!