Sensory Play with Fruits: Washing Baby Oranges
My daughter loves fruits, especially if they’re fresh. She gets herself lost in exploring textures, sizes, and tastes. Mia also loves playing in the water, so I decided to combine some sensory play this morning.
Washing fruit and/ or vegetables can be a fun way to introduce new words, colors, math concepts, learn critical-thinking skills, practice motor skills, and more.
All you need for this activity is plenty of fresh fruits and/or vegetables, an empty bowl, and a bowl filled with cool to warm water.
Help your child learn by talking, introducing concepts, and asking questions.
Washing clementine: why it’s a good learning activity for children
Though we were washing only clementine today, next time you need some other fruits and/ or vegetables to prep for a healthy bite, add those to this activity. Washing fruits and/or vegetables can be a fun way to:
introduce your child to new words like ‘carrot,’ ‘tomato,’ and ‘plum.’
teach your child math concepts like shape, size, and weight,
develop critical thinking and motor skills,
encourage your child to know and explore their everyday environment,
help your child learn about daily hygiene and healthy food.
What you need for washing clementine
For this activity, your child gets involved in washing the fruits and/or vegetables after you bring them home from the market or supermarket. We got a box of clementine delivered at our door from Kolonial.no. Today we used only eight clementine, but the more fruits and/or vegetables you have, the better.
So, you need:
two mid-size/ see-through bowls
cool-to-warm water to fill one of the bowls up
plenty of fruits and/ or vegetables
a bit of extra time so your child can help you with washing
To let Mia really enjoy this activity, I set it up in the bathroom. I also turned the floor heating a bit up in advance, so she would not get called if she gets wet (and, oh boy, she was wet).
How to make washing clementine a learning activity
Here’s how to get started:
Fill one of the transparent bowls with clean, cool-to-warm water for washing your fruits and/or vegetables.
Make sure your child comfortable and can easily see and reach. We played on the mat in our bathroom, but feel free to find a safe highchair or stepladder for your kid to stand on if you need to.
Demonstrate your child how to wash fruit or vegetable. Show while describing what you are doing: ‘Tip clementine into the water and gently rub the skin with your hands.’
Take this fruit out of the water and place it into the empty bowl. Again, describe it to your child when showing how to do it: ‘take this clementine out of the water and place it into this empty bowl.’
Now, let your child do it. If needed, explain how to do it once more.
Once your child understands what she/ he is doing, you can let your child explore for a moment or two. As you watch what your child does, introduce new words and concepts by talking and asking questions. For example:
Talk about colors. Ask your kid to name the colors of the fruits and/or vegetables. Ask her/ him: ‘What color is it’? Is this clementine green’? ‘How many different colors of fruits and/or vegetables do you see?’
Talk about math/ physics concepts such as shape, size, and texture. ‘This clementine is small.’ You can also compare things – for example, ‘Which clementine is bigger?’ and ‘This carrot is longer than this one.’
Explore floating and sinking. Point out that some fruits and/or vegetables that are floating, and some that sank.
Adapting this learning activity for children of different ages
There are many ways to adapt this activity. If your child is younger, like Mia, be aware of the interests and attention span. There are ways how to keep this activity engaging. For example:
If your kid just enjoys splashing in the water, show him/her how to through into a bowl. Take it over when your child has had enough. All in all, our sensory play with clementine lasted about 10 – 15 minutes, once she decided to spill water out and make a pool on the floor.
If you have available, use a sponge or a fruit brush to scrub those fruits/ vegetables. If you have kitchen tongs, ask your child to take produce using tongs—those great ways to engage those motor skills.
If your child is a bit older, you can challenge him/ her with more complex questions – for example, ‘Why do you think plants need leaves?’ ‘Do all plants have fruits?’ ‘Why eating fruits and vegetables is important?’
You can also just use the time to bond and chat about your favorite fruits and/or vegetables or the meals you’re planning to make once you finish washing them.
Extending this sensory activity
Consider drawing the fruits and vegetables once you are finished with this activity to enhance creativity and artistic skills.