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Potato heads

To remind the children to be thankful for potatoes.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Reception


To remind the children to be thankful for potatoes.

Preparation and materials

  • A large potato with some ‘eyes’ or chits.
  • A cut-up potato for printing, some paint and a large piece of paper.
  • The game Mr Potato Head, or coloured drawing pins, eyes, matchsticks, and so on, to represent different parts of Mr Potato’s face.
  • Whiteboard and pens.


  1. Explain that we are now well past the time when the shops are full of lovely home- grown fresh vegetables, such as salads and radishes, green beans and peas; and fruits, such as strawberries and raspberries.

    Explain that throughout the year we do import these from faraway places, but gardeners say that they never taste quite as good as the ones you can pick in your own garden.

    We are coming in to the season of brussel sprouts, cabbages, swedes and warm soups and casseroles.

    But there is a very useful vegetable which we will always see in the shops. (Show the potato.)
  2. How many ways can we think of to cook potatoes?

    (Accept answers and at the head of columns across the whiteboard draw simple shapes to represent these answers.)

    Explain what each shape stands for or ‘represents’. For example, ‘mashed’ could look like a fluffy cloud, ‘fried’ could be a simple disc shape.
  3. Ask a few children for their favourite way of eating potatoes.

    Explain that we can show this by making a picture list.

    Tell all the children to decide on their favourite way of eating potatoes. Say you will then ask them to put up their hands and you will count each group.

    Put the numbers below the appropriate picture.

    Ask questions about the information gathered. For example:

    –  Is 9 bigger than 6?
    –  Is 2 smaller than 5?
    –  Which group has the biggest/smallest number?
    –  Which way of eating potatoes seems to be the favourite?
  4. We can do something else with potatoes.

    Show the potato that has been cut for printing and make a few prints with a bright paint. (If time permits a child could do this.)
  5. We can even play a game with potatoes. It’s called Mr Potato Head and it was the first toy ever to be advertised on TV, nearly 60 years ago.

    (Depending on what the children have been learning in class, have a simple quiz and let each child who answers choose a part of the body to insert.)
  6. Show the potato again (or a second one if the first has been used).

    Notice this little bit of the potato. If we were to plant this potato next year a new potato plant would grow from it. How amazing is that!
  7. You might like to extend this assembly by thinking about how normal or ordinary potatoes are, but how much we depend on them.

    Discuss how much we need the unexciting as well as the exciting in our lives.

Time for reflection

Sing about potatoes to the tune ‘I can sing a rainbow’.

‘Mashed and roasted and boiled and fried,

baked with butter, chipped with pizza,


Thank you for potatoes, for potatoes, for this daily food.’

Dear God,
thank you for potatoes.
Thank you that we can grow them in our gardens
and buy them in our shops.
Thank you that we can cook them in so many ways.

Publication date: December 2012   (Vol.14 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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