This past week we focused our learning on fruit! We engaged in a variety of fruit themed activities as well as recreated some beloved summer treats using real, whole foods as our base. Below you will find a variety of different learning activities and healthy kids snacks that can be used with toddlers, preschoolers and beyond to enjoy and explore all that fruit has to offer during these hot summer months.
Snack: Watermelon Popsicles
Traditional popsicles can often be filled with artificial flavors, dyes and added sugars. These popsicles are created with one simple ingredient: watermelon!
To make these you will want to cut your watermelon into wedges, and use the tip of a sharp knife to make a small slice in the center of the rind. Place a popsicle stick about three quarters of the way through the watermelon. Then, place in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Once ready, feel free to add any toppings you desire, or better yet, set out several for your child(ren) to choose from. I prepped ours with GT’s Cocoyo Probiotic Yogurt & a swirl of honey, and then Asher went to town from there.
The idea and recipe for this healthier alternative came from dear friend Heather at Happy Kid’s Kitchen, and it is outlined in her new cookbook, Little Helpers Toddler Cookbook. In addition to this delicious treat, there are over 40 other recipes included in her book, from snacks to breakfast and dinner and more than that whole family will enjoy.
Activity: Watermelon Number Match
For this one, all you will need is some construction paper, scissors and markers. I cut out circles and drew a “rind” with green marker around each one. I then proceeded to slice them through the center and add like seed amounts on pairs of slices. Once ready, I set them out and asked Asher to pair together the watermelon slices with the same amount of seeds, counting them to double check as we went along. Feel free to add more or less seeds depending on your child’s skill level.
There is just something about lemonade and summertime that go hand-in-hand. However, similar to popsicles, many of your traditional lemonade mixes on the market are chalked full of sugar as well as artificial flavors and dyes. We love this Easy Lemonade Recipe with Honey from Cook Eat Paleo when we are craving it in our home. To get your little one involved in the process, have them help chop up the lemons or other citrus fruits you care to add to the mix using nylon kid safe knives. They can also assist you in squeezing in the lemon and honey and mixing it all together.
Activity: Citrus Fruit Stamping
Leftover lemons? Invite your child to take part in a sensory painting experience as they seek to create art with their favorite citrus fruits. All you will need for this is a plate or bowl big enough for the fruit to fit. Then add your desired paint color(s), and let your little one go to town. I sketched out a lemonade glass on our paper to fill, but you could sketch a bowl, a tree, or have your child create their own design.
Snack: “Nice” Cream
Now if lemonade and summertime go hand-in-hand, ice cream and summertime are attached at the hip. We love making our own “nice” cream over here whenever we get the chance during these warmer months, and not only are the flavor combinations limitless, but so are the opportunities to pack in a variety of nutritious fruits and veggies. Don’t be afraid to experiment with you own combinations. In the meantime, here is one of our favorites for a flavorful summer treat:
1 Frozen Bananas
1 Cup Frozen Raspberries
1/2 Frozen Mango
1/2 Frozen Cauliflower Rice
A splash of almond milk (add more as needed)
Blend until it reaches a creamy consistency. Serve immediately and/or freeze for later.
Activity: Ice Cream Pattern Making
I cut out these ice cream scoops with various patterned paper for us to practice basic pattern making on top of our cones. Start with creating the pattern for your toddler/preschooler on top of the cone and ask them “what comes next”. Continue to do so to form and practice a variety of pattern sequences. For a more advanced option, create more complex patterns or have them work to create their own. Don’t have patterned paper? Use construction paper, Pom poms or anything else you have on hand.
Snack: “Jello” Jigglers
Traditional Jello mixes contain a large amount of sugar, as well as artificial flavors and dyes (I know, I’m starting to sound like a broken record, right?). That said, making your own gelatin aka “Jello” at home truly couldn’t be simpler. All you really need is 100% real juice and a high quality grass fed gelatin. We juiced our own juice for the ones above using a variety of odds and ends fruits and veggies we had on hand. But you could also purchase some at the store, which we’ve done many times in the past as well. Check out this post with 30+ Healthy Homemade Gummy ideas from Healy Eats Real if you are looking for some recipes to get you started.
Activity: Shape Cutting and Identification
I put our gelatin mixture in a 9 X 9 dish to solidify in the fridge. Upon taking it out, I cut out a few “jigglers” with small cookie cutters to model for Asher how to do it, and then he set to work cutting his own shapes to enjoy. We talked about what he was cutting as he did so, and he had a blast taking them out and even trying to place them back in the dish in their spot like a puzzle as well. Warning: Your gelatin may not look edible at the end, but your child sure will have fun!
Whatever way you “slice” it, fruit can be a delicious addition to any activity or snack time routine. What are some of your family’s favorite ways to enjoy fruit in the summertime?
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