Monday, January 11, 2010

A little tangerine work.....

Clementines are in season. I just bought 3 #'s of them for a great price at the grocery. Here is some tablework using this fruit that can be modified for any age from infants to elementary!

When working with fruit, the first step is to wash it. If you have real little ones, you may want to wash it yourself ahead of time (without them seeing you, of course) as they are still in the learning stages and their washing might not be thorough enough. This is especially a consideration if your child will put the whole tangerine or the peel in their mouth (and both of these are great sensory exploration activities).

For infants:
Peel the tangerine with them watching. Put a small bowl of peeled rinds out for them to explore. Allow them to mouth the peels but watch to be sure they don't choke on small pieces. The rind is rather bitter, so they will probably not chow down on it, but ya never know! Talk about the feel and the smell and color and even the taste. Benefit--your baby will smell sooooo good when they are finished exploring! If your baby is sitting up you can sit across from her and roll the tangerine like a ball. Q played this game with her aunt as a baby and LOVED it!

For toddlers:
Show them how to place the tangerine in the water bowl (white bowl below with water and a tiny bit of soap or whatever you use to clean citrus), rub it with their hands and then dry it on the towel.
You can start peeling the fruit and allow them to pull the rind the rest of the way off. Q enjoyed doing this today!
They may want to squeeze the sections and watch the juice run out between their fingers.

For preschoolers:
*teach them to wash the fruit
*teach them to peel the fruit (you may have to get it started for them or give them an object to poke in the skin to get a spot to start peeling
*the peel goes in one bowl and the fruit goes in the other--see below
*if they are old enough they can even section the fruit once peeled
*talk about the rind, the fruit, the pulp, the skin....can you find where the stem was attached?
*what shape is the orange (hint-NOT a circle! It's a 3-d figure so it's called a sphere!)
*point out that clementine's don't have seeds but most other citrus does
*talk about the size, taste, texture, color, weight, and any other properties you can think of
*How much juice is in a tangerine? Predict how many spoonfuls and then try it!
*Can you paint with tangerine peel?
Here is a good sensory activity:
-could be done in sand, dirt, woodchips, whatever!
-lightly bury fruit peel and see if child can find all of them!
-when finished ask child to rebury the peel and it will serve as compost!

There are so many options with this activity and it would be great to stretch it out for a whole week! It costs VERY LITTLE, encourages healthy eating and promotes cognitive, fine motor and practical life skills.
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