This week has been all about watermelons for me and my toddler. I was inspired to create some toddler activities as I was slicing up a beautiful specimen on Mother’s Day. Watermelons are not only colorful and tasty, but they have several different dimensions to them. All of this, to me, equals a great learning opportunity for a little person! So, here are a whole week’s worth of watermelon activities for you and your toddler:
This is a great toddler craft for many reasons. It involves just a few, inexpensive materials, it’s engaging, and it aids in skill development (fine motor control, color and shape recognition). Here’s how to create a mosaic watermelon…
Cut some green and red construction paper into strips and then into squares. Two pieces of paper should be plenty.
Cut a piece of contact paper the size you want your piece of watermelon to be. Take off the paper part to reveal the sticky side.
Turn the sides of the contact “paper” under at each end so it holds the piece in place for your toddler.
Guide your toddler as she/he places red and green squares onto the sticky side of the contact sheet (it’s okay if they are randomly placed, as long as they are placed so they stick!).
Flip the contact sheet over and place a piece of tissue paper in a coordinating color to the back. This will act as a filler to cover any exposed contact paper parts and add color. *This is optional. My toddler didn’t quite fill up the space, which is okay. But, I needed a backing.
Cut mosaic watermelon to resemble the shape of a piece of watermelon.
After we completed this craft, I was thinking that it would be cute and more watermelon-like to add a few small pieces of black construction paper to the mix (to stand in as seeds). This toddler craft is lovely as the sun shines through it while it hangs in a kitchen window.
This is a super simple counting activity that I came up with on the fly. I love that it features the watermelon (our theme for this week) and is something I can keep “on file” as my little one grows in his understanding of numbers. For example, this could easily be used with preschoolers to not only teach counting, but basic number operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).
Here’s how to make it…
felt pieces–one green, one red and one black
scissors (use a good pair so it cuts nicely)
glue dots (about 8-10)
Using a large paper plate, trace half of the plate onto the red piece of felt (use the edge of the felt as a guide). Next, trace 3/4 of the paper plate onto the green piece of felt (again, using one of the sides). Cut out both pieces. Place the red piece on top of the green piece so that some of the bottom portion of the green is showing (it should resemble a piece of watermelon–the green rind and then the red “flesh”). Using the edge of the red felt as a guide, place one glue dot every inch or so in between the red and green pieces so that they hold together in place. With the black felt, cut out the seeds. I folded a small piece of black felt in half and then cut out a shape that resembled a seed. By folding, I was able to get two seeds per cut.
Today, Nathan and I experimented with different phases of matter. Yep, even a 19 month old can begin learning about solids and liquids just by using watermelon. To do so, we began with watermelon fresh off the rind. In its solid state, we ate a few pieces, but could observe liquid escaping with each bite. We then took the left over watermelon pieces and blended them in the food processor to form a liquid. Next, we filled a few small Dixie kiddie cups 3/4 of the way full. We then placed them in the freezer. After 2 hours, we inserted a popsicle stick in each. Left overnight, they were ready to eat again–in their frozen, solid state!
We’re waiting for a warm sunny day here in Germany so we can head outside and enjoy our watermelon pops. I will be back with a picture update once that happens. Hopefully the pops won’t get frostbitten in the freezer while we wait. Germany is known to get a lot of rain. A LOT…
In keeping with our watermelon theme this week, I wanted to teach by toddler a fun song that was either about watermelons or at least mentioned them. The first song that came to mind was the classic “Down By the Bay”. I quickly went to You Tube and was happy to find a sweet little video for us to watch and sing along to (check out our favorite kids songs–with videos!).
I then wanted to create some visuals to use for all of the other times that we will sing the song and not be watching the video. I was pleasantly surprised to find a pdf from kizclub that already had visuals as well as the printed song and vocabulary cards! Because my son is a toddler, we are only in need of the animals to use as visual aids (but what a super resource to use with older children!).
From the pdf, I can print the page that contains the animals (you can choose from color or black and white), paste them onto card stock, wrap them in contact paper to ensure their safety, and then cut them out. As we sing the song, my son can then learn to identify the animals we are singing about. As he starts to show comprehension, I can make it a game and present the animals in a field so that he has to independently choose. This is such a great activity for young children. It can be used for songs, for nursery rhymes or even simple books. One tip when implementing the identification…begin with a field of 1-3 items. This means that you only want to lay out 1-3 items in front of the child when they are learning identification. This provides the child with a reasonable amount of choices and visual stimuli without overwhelming them. As they start to master the activity and can quickly and confidently choose items in the field, more choices can be added.