“The Watermelon Seed” by Greg Pizzoli
Picnic season is upon us, and watermelon soon will be in season. Help your child explore this summertime favorite with an adorable new picture book. Greg Pizzoli’s The Watermelon Seed tells the story of a hungry little crocodile who worries about what will happen in his tummy when he accidentally swallows a seed.
Once you’ve assured your child that they won’t sprout watermelons in their tummies, explore seeds from a variety of fruits. Go to the grocery or the Farmer’s Market, and choose some seasonal produce. Once you’ve washed the fruits, place them on the kitchen table and ask your child questions like these:
- What are these fruits called?
- What do you think the inside of the fruit will look like?
- Will there be any seeds? If so, how many?
These questions help children develop a variety of skills. They build their vocabulary by learning the names of the fruits, and by describing each one. They also learn a basic, yet important, science skill: predicting what will be inside the fruit.
Once your child has made predictions, slice the fruits and examine the seeds. Count the seeds to build early math skills, like one-to-one correspondence. (This means that if your apple has five seeds, your child will learn the number of objects—seeds, in this case—to associate with the numeral, 5. Your child also is discovering how to make observations, another early science skill.
You can compare the seeds by size and color as well:
- Which fruit has the biggest seeds?
- Which fruit has the smallest seeds?
- What color are the watermelon seeds?
- What color are the pepper seeds?
These questions will help your child learn how to compare objects according to their attributes. Attribute is just a scientist’s word for “what makes a thing special.” And there you go, building your child’s vocabulary again!
These activities are taken from What’s the BIG Idea? Making Math and Science Come Alive for Children and Families in Your Library. This manual was published by the Vermont Center for the Book as part of its Mother Goose early learning initiatives. Each children’s librarian at Lexington Public Library has a copy, so you can trust that we use educational principles when we plan our programs.
Now have a healthy fruit snack, and read some more books together!