The joy of a late summer day can be captured by watching a young child eat a cold, juicy slide of watermelon. The humor of a young child an be captured reading The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli. This Theodor Suess Geisel award winner is a silly story of a crocodile who accidentally eats a watermelon seed. His worry that he’ll turn into a watermelon is unfounded, but makes my kiddos laugh every time. They have giggled as we read this book to them since they were as young as one year old.
Our book club started off our 2016-2017 year with a reading of this book and a watermelon themed meeting. Our rice recipe was derived from the watermelon scented rice by Growing a Jeweled Rose: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/06/play-recipe-summer-scented-rice.html. I followed her recipe to make the rice and it worked perfectly. The only change I made was to reduce the Kool-aid packets in the large quantity I made. For every two pounds of rice, I used about 3 packets of Kool-aid instead of 4. (She calls for 2 packets to one pound of rice). I dyed about 6 pounds of rice with Kool-aid to create the watermelon scented pink color and about 4 pound of rice with just green food coloring. I came up with the idea to use black beans as seeds, but discovered that other bloggers had similar ideas as well (http://www.two-daloo.com/scented-watermelon-sensory-rice/)!
We presented the rice to the kids and let them explore the texture and aroma. We suggested that they “search” for the seeds in our watermelon tub and they could place the seeds that they found on a watermelon cut-out. I printed images of watermelon slices with numbers on each slice in advance and cut them out. At the meeting, parents adhered glue dots to each number and the kids could stick their “seeds” on each number. We had several older siblings at this meeting because school wasn’t quite in session and the older kids really seemed to enjoy sticking the seeds on the numbered watermelon slices, so this activity appeals to a few age brackets. After a bit, we gave the kids some “tools” to use in their play (shovels, buckets, funnels, etc.) and that extended the playtime even longer.
After we cleaned up the rice, it was time for snack and our chosen snack was, not surprisingly, watermelon! Our watermelon, however, was seedless! I cut the watermelon into sticks instead of wedges, which is easier for the little ones to eat, using this method: http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2014/06/cut-watermelon-sticks.html.
This bright, colorful, aromatic, and tasty meeting as a great way to end summer and kick off our next year of Baby Toddler Book Club! We’re looking forward to more great fun with these parents and kiddos next month!