Watermelon is one of our favorite themes to explore during summer- and it’s at the top of our list for summertime treats too! We’ve been having fun reading lots of watermelon themed books and creating watermelon crafts and sensory bins. We recently created a fun and hands-on way to involve the senses when writing. By adding rice that’s been dyed pink to a shallow tray and some black beans to represent the watermelon seeds, you can create a watermelon sensory writing tray. This watermelon writing tray is a great way to extend practicing writing letters or even sight words for early learners.
Watermelon Sensory Writing Tray
Want even more watermelon theme ideas? Continue the fun with a full week of watermelon play and learning with our printable lesson plans for home preschool and preschool classrooms.
- dyed pink rice- you’ll need vinegar, rice, food color, and a freezer bag
- black beans or pony beads
- shallow tray/baking pan
- individual letters and/or sight words
To prepare your watermelon sensory writing tray, you’ll first need to dye some rice pink. By following just a few steps, you can complete this in just an hour or less:
- Pour rice into a large freezer bag. (We used 2 cups of rice which covered the baking pan nicely).
- Using a one to one ratio, add one tablespoon of vinegar to each cup of rice used.
- Add food coloring to bag. (We added 5-7 drops).
- Squish the sealed bag with your hands to spread the food color. (Involve kids in this process. It’s fun!)
- Set out in sun for one hour to dry. (You may speed up the dry time to about 15 minutes by placing the rice in a pan in the oven on a low heat and monitoring frequently).
Once your rice is dry, add it to your shallow pan and sift around to cover evenly. Next, sprinkle the watermelon “seeds” all over the tray. We made this a team effort and even took some time to let the rice and beans run through our fingers! This gave us time to discuss what we know about watermelon and give an overview of our new writing tray.
Hands-On Watermelon Sensory Writing Tray
Depending on the age and developmental level of your writers, you may choose to have them write letters or sight words. Using the letter seeds from our preschool watermelon learning theme packet, we set them out near the tray and began by writing letters in the rice tray. Small plastic letters or letters written on note cards would work well too.
After the letter formation is complete, grab some watermelon “seeds” to trace over the letter. Pinching each black bean really helps flex those fine motor muscles!
Carefully filling in the letter with the beans also lends some extra practice with letter formation.
When students are ready to extend this writing tray activity, have them trace sight words into the rice. We began with short and basic words we have been working on.
Using note cards with sight words written on them is another good option if you’d like to have the writing activity simplified. This gives children access to the correct spelling and formation of letters as a guide.
We loved this hands-on approach to writing. It’s sure to be a quiet activity that we’ll revisit many more times throughout our watermelon theme!
Get a Full Week of Watermelon Theme Learning and Play
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
This set includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:
1) Watermelon Seed Counting Game
2) Roll and Color Watermelon Seed Math Game
3) Watermelons on the Vine Beginning Sound Sort (6 initial sounds)
4) Watermelon Word Family Building Activity Set (5 word families)
5) Watermelon Fractions Matching Activity
6) Watermelon Life Cycle Printable Chart
7) Ten Frame Watermelon Seed Counting Mats
8) Growing a Watermelon Emergent Reader (2 versions)
9) Watermelon Letter Matching Puzzles
10) Watermelon Life Cycle Sequencing Set
11) 0-35 Watermelon Theme Number Cards
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