Factory Visits

How people make crayons (1981)
How people make crayons (1981)
How people make balls (1998)
How people make towels (1983)
How people make macaroni (1997)
How people make wagons (1996)
How people make sneakers (1991)
It's people who make things (1995)

“How people make things” – that’s how Mister Rogers refers to the factory visits. He wants to remind children that it’s people who make things, not just machines. These factory visits are favorites of young and old alike as they show us places we don’t usually have an opportunity to see. It’s easy to be fascinated by the variety of manufacturing processes that it takes to make things that are part of a child’s everyday world – from light bulbs to crayons, from applesauce to balls, from bicycles to applesauce, from fortune cookies to flashlights.

Picture Picture

Most often it’s Mr. McFeely who arrives with a “How people make things” video, or in the early days a film, to share with Mister Rogers. Mister Rogers slides the video into Picture Picture, a sort of slide projector through which we view these visits.


As they watch together it’s an opportunity to model wondering, being curious and being interested in the world. Mr. McFeely describes what is going on and Mister Rogers asks the questions a child might ask about what they are seeing.


These factory visits give children a clear message that things don’t happen quickly or magically, but through a step by step process. Beginning with the raw materials, each machine and each worker adds something along the way.

My father and my two grandfathers worked in factories, and I was always interested in their work. When we show factories, they certainly have fascinating machines, but I always emphasize that it takes people to make machines and to make them work.  I like children to know that people can take pride in their work and that everyone’s job is important.
Fred Rogers