Today was a snow day for us, so we were in search of things to keep ourselves busy around the house. My toddler “J” loves his trucks and “boys” (as he calls his toy people). Sometimes we play with them outside in the sandbox, sometimes with rice or noodles inside, and sometimes he likes to put his smaller trucks into his larger trucks and haul them around.
We have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture — we order ahead for the season and then pick up every weekend), so we don’t always know what we are going to get week-to-week. Lately there have been a LOT of root vegetables, especially potatoes. Our neighbors were gone over Thanksgiving and gave us their CSA share, so despite making a ton of mashed potatoes and potato soup, we are still overloaded with raw potatoes.
These potatoes are sitting in paper bags in the bottom of a rolling cart we have in the kitchen. Today “J” discovered them for the first time and decided they were the best thing ever! I would never have expected raw potatoes to be so much fun.
Reasons raw potatoes are awesome toys:
- They often have a little dirt on them still, which makes them very engaging for the senses and causes them to bring in a sense of the outdoors.
- They are something you often have around the house.
- They last almost forever before going bad. If they have “eyes,” all the more fun to play with!
- You can easily manhandle them without causing major bruises or making them inedible. Your child can play with them for hours, and then you can put them back in their bag and wait another month before cooking them!
- You do not need to worry about them getting dirty, since we would need to wash them before cooking anyway (and maybe peel them, depending on how you are using them).
- They are natural, , compostable, and environmentally friendly.
- They (probably) won’t be as appealing to your dog/cat/hamster as other foods might be. Just to be on the safe side, we put our dog outside while we played (it’s okay — we have a covered porch, so he didn’t have to lay in the snow).
- They come in various sizes and look/feel a bit like rocks, making them great for construction play.
“J” dumped them out of the bag, piled them into his play pots and pans, carried them around, took them out of the pots and pans, put them back in, carried the pots and pans around, dumped them out, put his toy “boys” with the potatoes, and generally just explored them and had fun. Such an easy, fun toy!