Have you ever made homemade lemonade with kids? If so, you’ve probably noticed that they would go on playing long after the juice is squeezed from all those lemons. After making a few batches of lemonade this summer, I decided to let the kids have their own lemon sensory bin for water play so they could continue their play long after we had finished making our newest pitcher of lemonade.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you they spent HOURS playing and making their own “lemonade” and lemon-inspired concoctions. Even the neighbors came to join in the fun.
Make Your Own Lemon Sensory Bin
Take a look around your home and see what sort of items you already have on hand for this sensory bin. Use a variety of containers and kitchen tools to allow kids to explore the lemons and pour their creations.
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- A large bin of clean water
- Some scoops
- Tongs and tweezers
- Popsicle molds
- Plastic ice cube trays
- Ball freezer jars with lids
- A tray of lemons cut in different ways (lemons that are a bit over ripe are great because they are easier for kids to squeeze)
You could set this up with brand new lemons or use the leftover bits that you have after you squeeze lemons for lemonade. We had a whole bag of lemons, so we used some for lemonade and put the rest in this sensory bin.
Tinker immediately started squeezing lemons to make her own lemonade. It didn’t take her long to remember that we have a tool for making this a little easier, so she asked for the citrus juicer (similar). I set it up outside with her but did not plug it in. If you have a handheld version like this or this, they would be perfect to add as well.
Squeezing is an excellent way to strengthen fine motor skills. After she squeezed the lemon as much as she wanted to, she liked checking to make sure there were no seeds left.
She stopped periodically to count and play with the seeds. Here she matched them one-to-one in our ice cube tray. These are great hands-on ways to practice early math skills.
And although I originally said we couldn’t drink any of the things she made, I changed my mind in the end. We just made sure to keep hands clean and not incorporate any outdoor items into our play area. Once they had the green light to taste test, the play evolved into a whole new stage.
Tinker made different kinds of lemonade, varying the amount of lemon juice and water. And she loved sipping her lemonade from the little lemon rind cups. Later they froze some of the lemonade in popsicle molds and ice cube trays to taste test another day. And they play went on and on until we finally had to clean up.
If you’re looking for a fun way to fill a summer afternoon, this lemon water play should be on your list. I know we’ll be setting it up again soon.