So you want to get your little learner involved in some literacy activities this summer? Welcome to the Read and Play Summer Series Edition. I am sharing some of my favorite early childhood books with you along with developmental activities that will engage your little one and prime them with the skills they need to become a lifelong reader. Let’s dive in!
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Why Read and Play?
My Read and Play series is developed specifically with your child in mind! It is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers and has corresponding activities to support all areas of child development.
Your child is very impressionable during their early childhood years. One of the early literacy skills that you should be focusing on is print motivation. You want your little one to enjoy reading and be motivated to pick up a book independently.
The Read and Play series is the perfect tool for print motivation. I chose texts that are engaging, prompt critical thinking, and boost language and vocabulary skills.
Just try it out…you can’t go wrong!
Activity Sneak Peek
For every Read and Play book, you will get:
- tips for how to interactively read the book with your child
- vocabulary words to introduce and tips to incorporate them into your daily conversations
- questions to ask while reading
- literacy activities that support early literacy development
- sensory, art, and food activities that will keep your little one begging for more!
Introduction to The Watermelon Seed
The Watermelon Seed is an adorable book about a crocodile who loves watermelon…until he swallows a seed!
Crocodile is a funny character who will make your child giggle as he worries all about swallowing a watermelon seed. This book has engaging illustrations and a storyline that is relatable to children.
Things to Note while You Read
1. Consider talking with your child about what they think crocodile’s voice sounds like. Then, try to read it in that voice!
2. Crocodile is also very dramatic in this story. Make sure your voice conveys worry and drama. When the text is bigger or there is an exclamation point, make your voice “bigger”!
3. There is a page with a big x over the illustration of a watermelon. Point this out to your child and ask them what they think that big x means.
Vocabulary You Should Uncover
Books are an amazing way to build your child’s vocabulary. When you introduce vocabulary from a book, you should try to also incorporate new words into your conversations. There are three words you should bring to your child’s attention in this book.
- CHOMP— Tell your child that the word chomp means to chew something with a lot of force and then show them with your mouth how you would “chomp” something. Have them try it too!
Try using the word chomp during your next meal together. You can ask your child to chomp on some mac and cheese just like crocodile chomped down some watermelon.
- SLAB— Explain that when a piece of food is described as a slab that it is a large and thick slice of something. You might have a slab of bread or cake! Ask your little one what they would like a slab of!
The next time you make a sandwich, you can ask your child what they want on their slabs of bread.
- GULP— Describe that a gulp is when you swallow something quickly and loudly. You may gulp down water or food. Crocodile gulped down a seed. Practice your best gulping sounds together.
After playing and running outside, tell your child they should gulp down some water to stay hydrated!
Questions to Ponder
It’s always important to get your child thinking about the characters and making connections to themselves through the books they are reading. Here are 3 questions that will really get your child thinking:
1.Before reading, get your child thinking about the book by asking, “What’s your favorite type of fruit?”
2. After reading this page, ask:
“How does Crocodile feel about swallowing a seed? How do you know?”
You will want your child to describe Crocodile as worried, upset, or something else along those lines. Your child show notice Crocodile’s feelings by his facial expression and his body language (worried eyes and arms in the air).
3. After reading the last page, ask:
“What happened? What makes you think that?”
You want your child to tell you that Crocodile swallowed another seed because he is grabbing his tummy and has worried eyes again.
Develop literacy skills through play with these activities.
This is a great activity to boost phonological awareness skills.
Have your child try to distinguish the first sound in the word seed. It’s okay if they can’t yet, you can tell them it is /s/, but give them some time to think before you jump in to rescue them! You may even want to give examples if you think your little one can do it, but is just having some difficulty.
Once you determine that /s/ is the beginning sound for seed, explain that they will be searching around the house to collect as many things as possible that also start with the /s/ sound like seed.
This activity does two things:
- It helps your child distinguish the beginning sounds of words.
- It helps your child realize that multiple words can start with the same sound.
Delight your child’s senses while practicing some fine motor activities as well.
Watermelon Seed Slime Hunt
Create some slime together using just 3 ingredients!
- Bottle of Pink glue
- 2 Tablespoons of liquid starch
- Watermelon seeds or black pom-poms
- If you want to be super fancy…add in some watermelon scent!
Have your child help you measure, count, and stir. Then, let them freely explore the slime.
Slime is already great for building muscle strength in hands, but have your little one try to squeeze out and collect the seeds for another fine-motor boost.
Watermelon Squish Bag
A watermelon squish bag is a great opportunity for your child to explore watermelon texture without the mess.
Simply pop some seedless watermelon cubes into a baggie. Have your little one squish and squeeze the watermelon as much as they want or until it’s completely mush.
Watermelon Ice Pops
Use the squished up watermelon to make a delicious frozen treat!
Simply take the squished up watermelon from the baggie and freeze it in a popsicle mold.
If you want to get a little fancy with your ice pops, take about 2 cups of watermelon, 1/2 Tablespoon of lime juice, and a 1/2 Tablespoon of sugar and blend until smooth. Then pour into your popsicle mold and freeze.
Create some works of watermelon art by using sponges and paint to make watermelons. You can glue some actual watermelon seeds or some pom-poms to make them look more like watermelons.
You can explore making some watermelons that look like Crocodile chomped on them too!
I hope that you and your little munchkin enjoyed the Read and Play Summer Series on The Watermelon Seed. Your child will be impatiently waiting for the next time they get to read (and play) with you!
Enjoyed this Read and Play? Check out others in the summer series
- The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear
- Hey, Water!
- Should I Share My Ice Cream?
Don’t forget…tell me what you loved and what you want more of in the comments below!