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under5s - Potatoes
Mini Topic - Potatoes

Do you remember the rhyme?

One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes, four
Five potatoes, six potatoes, seven potatoes, more!

An interest in potatoes inspired me to create some activities that would offer a variety of learning opportunities for children within the Foundation Stage Curriculum. Potatoes are a great resource, they offer a variety of learning opportunities, they are relatively cheap, and offer such possibilities, and they are something which the children can easily touch and handle themselves.

Mr Potato Head

Using the character from Toy Story, can you add your own facial features to your potato - how does he feel today? 

Use a real potato and add arms, legs and faces, and then leave over time to watch him/her age and grow eyes and become wrinkled.

Go Shopping

A great place to start is a trip to the shops - what sort of shop sells potatoes, and how are they presented ? Supermarkets with potatoes in plastic bags, packets of instant mash, bags of potatoes lying in rows in the freezer or even potatoes in tins.  Pay a visit to the green grocers where children can enjoy the personal shopping experience of the smaller shop or go to the farm shop where you can buy potatoes by the sackful - you can even find them in your local newsagents ! Potatoes are everywhere!

You can point out the different varieties, notice the different colours, sizes, count them into bags, weigh them and use money to encourage the children to choose and pay for their own!


Involve the children in some cooking activities - are potatoes a healthy food or an unhealthy one, or does it depend on how you cook them? The children can help peel and chop the potatoes and of course using a masher is great fun. 

Have you and the children tried:

  • Sweet Potatoes, Old Potatoes or New?
  • Mash potatoes, Roast Potatoes, Boiled, Chips, Rostis, Potatoes cooked in a creamy sauce.
  • Have you made mash potato castles... or tried dying mash with food colouring to add a whole new dimension, or adding carrots or spinach to introduce some new vegetables?
  • What about fresh, frozen, tinned, instant?
  • How many different frozen varieties are there?

  • What else can you cook with them - fish cakes, potato bread or scones? 

Cut some of your potatoes in half, and dip them in paint. Can you paint "One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes, four,Five potatoes, six potatoes, seven potatoes, more!" what does more look like? How about painting one half of the potato yellow - and the other blue, what happens when you run the two halves together? Stretch the print designs further by making more elaborate shapes or comparing different types or potato products.

Grow your Own

You do not need a garden to grow potatoes - a well drained bucket will do. Plant a seed potato together and talk about what might be happening below the surface whilst you watch the first shoot appear, the leaves and the flowers, and then harvest your crop together.

Further Ideas
  • Create a number line with words, numbers and potatoes to help reinforce the rhyme.
  • Recite the rhyme often, share it with family and friends and maybe you will learn different endings - I did!
  • Dig for potatoes and other underground creatures - e.g. plastic bugs or carrots - in either a large seed tray or in the garden, to help develop your child's natural curiosity.
  • Watch Toy Story together.
  • Read books about potatoes - find out all the facts.
  • Visit a field or allotment where potatoes are growing.
Helen Renouf
under5s - Potatoes
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