We recently began another juicing project in our Toddler 2 class because the children enjoyed it so much the first time! We noticed that they were eagerly willing to spend the entire class time juicing fruits, so we expanded this study and presented them with grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes.
Moreover, one of the parents generously contributed dried orange slices and we are using them as loose parts in our play dough area. We created something called salt-dough for the slices so we can save the designs that the children make!
Similar to the last juicing adventure with oranges and limes, the children were elated to squeeze the fruits, taste the juice, pick out the seeds, and talk about the differences in the fruits. Simple activities like juicing can be a wonderful development tool for children’s fine motor skills, especially at this age. Learning to use their little fingers and hands to manipulate different objects doesn’t come easily and takes steady practice. It’s amazing to see a child pick out a seed with just two fingers… something that takes practice and determination!
During this activity, we discussed the tastes, smells, and beautiful colors of the fruits. Sensory exploration how a child examines, discovers, categorizes, and makes sense of the world, and it provides an excellent way to build new ways of talking about the world. Suddenly a lemon isn’t just yellow: it’s juicy, tastes tart but smells sweet! Amanda Morin puts it best when she says, “Tastes, too, can build your child’s language base. No longer does she want hot dogs for dinner, but she wants something tangy or salty or sweet, but certainly not bland or bitter.” Research has also proven that movement activities, like juicing, assist children in developing social skills because they learn that their efforts are critical to the success of the group.