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Watermelon Wonder

  • Age: 0 to 8+
  • Time: Under 1 hour
  • Materials: watermelon + optional others (juice, water, contianers)
August 3rd is National Watermelon Day, and it's no wonder that this "special day" actually gets traction. Watermelon is nearly universally loved for its refreshing, sweet taste, and Americans eat 17 pounds of watermelon each year on average. It's also really easy even for babies to mouth safely (and with such satisfaction!).

In celebration of this super cool summer treat, we share some ways to wonder with watermelon! Make watermelon popsicles, slip around with a greasy watermelon...or just savor the sweetness!

This is part of our free August play calendar. Need your copy? Visit tinkergarten.com/calendar

The Guide

Pick out a watermelon! 

Look for a melon that has a smooth skin and a bit of yellow on the bottom if you can.

Before you cut...

Wonder about what you'll see inside. Which color will it be? How many seeds will we see? Then, cut in!

Slippery Watermelon Fun 

Rub a little cooking oil or vegetable shortening on the outside of the watermelon and place it in a kiddie pool or bath tub. Have fun with a smaller scale version of the old greased pool game. Just get silly trying to grab it and pass it between you!

Eat! 

If you just want to eat and savor your watermelon, that is great. While you do, you could prompt kids to notice the many sensory experiences we get from this super fruit. 
  • What does watermelon feel like on your tongue? When you pinch a piece in your fingers?
  • What does it sound like when you chew it? slurp it? 
  • What do you notice about how the watermelon looks?
  • And best of all, what does it taste like to you? 
Welcome the messy, playful fun that can come with eating watermelon. If it helps, head outside for the fun, and wash everyone off before coming back in.

Spit Seeds. 

The seeds of a watermelon are edible (just like with pumpkins, squash and cucumbers, watermelon's relatives in the cucurbitaceae family). But, most kids don't love to eat them. What is fun? Spitting them! 
  • Tip: Line up targets so that they are pointed away from friends. Make it a point to help kids understand that this is special, and there is a time and a place for this kind of spitting—not all kinds of spitting!
  • You can add a math lesson for kids who are ready by welcoming kids to predict and count how many seeds they'll find or how many seeds they'll successfully spit onto their target. Or, just model counting as you spit yourself for those not ready.

Watermelon Popsicles!

If you want, you can turn watermelon into popsicles—a great, simple way to "cook" with kids, get some STEM learning in and enjoy watermelon in an even more refreshing way. 
  • Ingredients: Equal parts watermelon, fruit juice of your choice and water. 
  • Instructions: Blend up the ingredients in a blender. Or have fun mashing them with a potato masher (this will make some chunky popsicles and a bit of a mess, but it's really fun for kids!). Put them in the freezer for 1-2 hours. After they've started to solidify, poke in a stick.
  • Tip: If you want to make popsicles often, consider reusable popsicle molds like these. If you don't have molds, use a muffin tin or recycled containers like yogurt cups or even cups!
  • Experiment with flavors! The NY Times recommends adding lime. We love to add mint (which is usually taking over the garden by August!).

Why is this activity great for kids?

Summer is a sensory wonderland, and we can help kids activate multiple senses when we let kids slow down and experience it. Watermelon is a perfect tool to engage kids senses, cool down and celebrate the sweet treats nature provides. Add in some of the ideas above to get kids bodies moving, minds wondering and hearts and bellies full, too!

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