I have been working with Oliver on his colors for months. He seems to respond to colors so well, and I think it has something to do with his love for food. We work on our numbers and letters too, but not as much as we should. Since he responds to food so well I decided to try to teach him some letters while we learn about fruit.I picked some of his favorite fruits, and some he has never tried before for this project. We focused on the first four letters of the alphabet and repeated the names of the fruits and what letter they began with. He already knew what the fruit was, now we are learning what letters they start with and this will be a step toward learning the alphabet. In this project we used apricots and apples, blueberries and bananas, cherries and coconut, and dates. I set up the food while Oliver was watching Curious George and he was excited to see the fruit on the table when he got into the kitchen. I asked him what kind of fruits he saw on the table, and he started pointing out the ones he recognized. He has seen dates before, but he thought they were giant raisins and he doesn’t like those. I asked Oliver to pick out his favorite fruits and he picked the blueberries, coconut, and cherries. He lined them up in a straight line and went back for the apple. As he put each cup down I asked him again what they were and he was able to tell me each one. Then the taste testing began. This kid is goofy. The berries were frozen because they aren’t in season right now, but we still keep them around for smoothies. He licked the cherries because they were too cold to pick up. He decided the cherries were OK to eat after a few minutes and dug right in. “MMM it’s cherries!” He loves to eat cherries in the summer, so eating them frozen was a change. Blueberries were next in line. I think he was saving his favorite (coconut) until last. I keep flake coconut in a big jar in the kitchen and Oliver likes to eat it by the handfuls right out of the jar. After a few bites of coconut he stood up looking very satisfied and said, “It’s delicious.” I didn’t think he was going to sit there and eat all of that fruit, so I decided to make a smoothie using the ingredients we had. Oliver was more than willing to help, and since everything was already portioned out, he was able to make the whole smoothie by himself. We used coconut, blueberries, cherries, apples, banana, and almond milk for our smoothie. I decided to leave the apricots and dates out because dried fruit doesn’t always blend up very well in our blender. The smoothie was delicious and we were able to use all the fruit that we placed on the sheet. As he loaded each fruit into the blender we went over their names one more time. When we drank the smoothie I explained to him that we had fit all those fruits into the blender and made the smoothie. The recipe for the smoothie is below.
1/2 c blueberries
1/2 c cherries
1/2 c coconut
1 small Gala apple
1 medium banana
2 c almond milk
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You might need extra time to make sure the coconut is mixed well. Yield: 2.5 c.
This was a fun little project that will help your child learn some letters. When we were playing later, he brought me his alphabet book and wanted to read. By pairing his letters with something he liked, I was able to make his learning experience more fun for him. Next time we do this, he will be more excited to learn and hopefully retain some of the letters.