Potato printing has always been one of my go-to preschool art activities.
There are so many things you can do with some potatoes and paint, and there are also educational benefits of this activity for young children.
Here are some of the reasons you should try this activity with kids, as well as some ideas and tips for how to do it.
Benefits of Printing and Stamping Activities
A few of the benefits of printing with potatoes include:
Fine Motor Control
The process of handling potatoes, dipping them into paint or painting them with a paintbrush is great for strengthening the small muscles of the hand.
Creativity and Expression
When this activity is done with as little adult guidance as possible, it allows children to express themselves freely and develop their creativity.
Process art – art that focuses on the process of creating and not on the outcome – is always a better choice for preschoolers as it allows for the most learning.
Understanding Cause and Effect
Especially for younger children, stamping with potato block prints teaches children the mental skill of cause and effect – that certain actions produce a certain result.
Visual perception is the brain’s ability to interpret what the eyes see and is important for learning to read and write.
Potato printing is a good activity for learning about shapes, patterns, colours, etc.
What Materials are Needed for Potato Printing?
All you need for printing with potatoes is:
- Raw potatoes
- Plastic or polystyrene trays
- Tools to carve the potatoes (knife, cookie cutters, etc.)
- Any kind of paper for printing on
How Do You Make Potato Prints?
Making potato stamps is a simple process:
- Cut potatoes in half.
- Carve images or shapes into the potatoes with a knife, or use cookie cutters to print the shape into the potato before carving the edges around the shape off (an adult should always do this).
- Pour some paint into a shallow tray.
- Dip the potato halves into the tray of paint and stamp them onto paper, or paint the potatoes with a paintbrush and then stamp them onto paper.
Simple Potato Printing Ideas
Try out these awesome yet simple potato print art ideas.
The easiest way to do this activity – and maximise learning – is to let children print freely with the potatoes.
Let them experience the materials and express their own creativity by creating whatever masterpieces they want!
This kind of activity often turns into finger painting – which just shows how children are drawn to creating freely. Don’t stop them – just let the magic happen.
A great way to teach shape recognition is to cut basic shapes into the potatoes and let children stamp them onto paper.
Older children can be encouraged to create a picture out of shapes – such as a house, person, animal, etc.
Make the shapes on the potato large for young children and small for older children, so they can add detail to their pictures.
Turn potato stamping into a fun pattern activity.
This can be done in several ways, for example:
- Cut simple shapes and make a pattern along a strip of paper, such as red heart, blue heart, repeat.
- Cut patterns – like zigzags or waves – into a potato and encourage kids to create with the patterns.
Use simple A/B patterns for young children and more complex ones for older children – including size, colour, shape, etc.
This potato printing activity is perfect for making gift wrap. Friends and family will certainly appreciate the gesture and the effort that went into their personalized gift wrap.
Use simple prints or images, or make patterns like the ones mentioned above, and see what your kids create.
Numbers and Letters
Make prints with numbers and letters and let kids pretend to write as they stamp them.
Capital letters will be much easier to carve than lowercase and this is an excellent way to teach a child to write their name.
Special Occasion Cards
A simple yet effective way to make fun cards for occasions like Easter, Pesach and Mother’s Day is to make potato prints in traditional symbols.
This way, the card will look good, but it will mostly be the child’s work. With many of these types of activities, the parents or teachers often end up doing most of the work.
Take this to another level by telling children to make prints with a base shape, and then to add details with markers, crayons or shapes cut out of paper.
Here is a fun example of a great body image activity:
You could even use a regular half-potato shape and see what children can turn the print into.
Make sure the paint dries before adding in the details.
As long as you use fabric paint, making potato prints on clothing is easy to do.
Print onto old shirts or turn a white painting apron into a work of art.
Alternatives to Potato Printing
If you don’t happen to have potatoes or you’d just like to vary this activity a bit, there are many ways to do so:
- Vegetable printing – use any fruit or vegetable that you can cut in half and grip onto – lemons, oranges, carrots, etc. This is a good way to make use of produce that is no longer fresh.
- Stamps – use traditional rubber stamps and an ink pad (or paint)
- Sponge printing – cut shapes into sponges and hold them with a clothespin as you dip them into the paint
- Blocks – regular building blocks make great stamps
- Leaves – use a tray with just a little paint and press leaves down to coat the veins
- Cookie cutters – dip them into a shallow tray of paint
I hope you’ll enjoy trying out these printing activities.
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