Playdough is a great fine motor activity without any bells or whistles but adding in small items like buttons, coins or beans is an easy way to make it even better. This playdough watermelon was easy to make and fun to play with and they didn’t even know I was helping them both develop their fine motor skills.
- Gather your materials. You will need some pink and green playdough as well as some black beans and a plastic knife.
- Press the black beans into the pink playdough.
- Roll into a ball.
- Flatten the green dough and cut into a semi circle. Wrap around the pink on 3 sides.
- Slice. My son loved slicing and he could do it well. My daughter ( who had woken from nap to a very excited brother chattering about watermelon) was not as into the slicing from the big watermelon. I think maybe she wanted to do it herself and her “helper” wanted to help. Does this happen at your house too?
- She did like cutting the slices into wedges though.
- She also liked picking the “seeds” out , which is fabulous for fine motor development. Just watch if they are as little as she is that they get put in a dish not the mouth.
When people complain about my stance on flash cards they will often say to me ” Well how to you teach them the names of things? ” Well besides simply talking about the things you play with , things you eat and things you see as you go about your day you can play games like this with your littlest learners, but please don’t push that’s not how anyone especially infants learn. This should be fun, when they decide they are done move on to something else. Also this activity is a one on one activity, an adult needs to be able to reach the fruit easily at all times for safety reasons.
- Gather your materials. You will need some light bowls we are using Dandelion Bowls made from corn ( no worries about safety and they are light) , whole pieces of fruit. A knife for cutting some fruit for tasting after ( depending on your child’s ability to eat solids, you could use purees too).
- Start by putting one or two fruits under the bowls, I like that the bowls don’t completely cover the fruit because it teased her into investigating .
- As they turn them over label the fruits for them saying something like ” What have you found? Oh it’s an orange! Oranges are food. ” As they explore narrate their exploration but don’t lead it.
- Another reason to use safe bowls – everything ends up in the mouth at our house.
- After they discover all the fruit cut some up, mash some etc… for them to taste . This picture shows how close I am to her as well.
- The activity might just bring other people to the table too.
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Books About Fruit
The Very Hungry Caterpillar When I sat down to think which book is my absolute favorite, the one that kept coming back into my mind was this classic. As a child the holes the caterpillar made in the pages fascinated me, the colors enchanted me and I remembering being amazed that the caterpillar turned into that huge colorful butterfly! In university while studying elementary education I chose this book as the literary inspiration for a cross curricular unit study for grade 1. I made math lessons with fruit, science lessons about observing insects and the butterfly life cycle and health lessons about smart food choices. Then teaching preschool I used this awesome book to teach the days of the week, basic counting and more. When I was pregnant I chose this book along with a few other favorites to be my son’s nursery theme. Now that my son is 3 we often pull down the Very Hungry Caterpillar felt board and play with it as we read the story. To me this book is a given, and for every stage of my life, student, student teacher, teacher, mother it has come along for the ride!
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z
by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire! Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page! This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (Child’s Play Library)
by Audrey and Ron Wood is a fantastic book that children adore! The story not only unique in that the narrator speaks directly to the mouse , it’s illustrations will enchant your child’s imagination and make the most overtired parent smile. The little mouse is trying to keep the strawberry away from the bear, and his adorable attempts to hide it make my son laugh every time! Great book!
…Full Disclosure : I was given the Dandelion bowls free of charge to try out , I was not compensated to make mention of them.