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July 23, 2013

Frozen Summer Fun with Watermelon

Frozen Watermelon Sensory Activity

How to make frozen watermelon Oobleck - a summer fun recipe for play!

What kind of play is best for summer fun?  Frozen play, of course!  There is no better way to beat the heat than with ice and water play.  Beyond ice we love experimenting by freezing our favorite sensory materials and experiencing them in a new way.  The other night we bought a giant watermelon at Costco, and immediately I had an idea.  Watermelons are yummy any way you eat them, and frozen watermelon is the perfect cool treat for a hot day.

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I sliced the watermelon in half and used a melon baller to scoop half of it into a container to freeze.  I sliced up the rest of the melon for us to snack on with lunch.  A couple hours later I pulled the container out of the freezer and dumped the frozen watermelon into a sensory bin.

This frozen sensory activity was very inviting, especially to Tank and Peanut (24 months).  They loved the way the watermelon squished between their fingers, and Tank found the juice particularly fascinating.

Playing with the frozen watermelon was cool, but I think eating it was equally as exciting.  Who can blame him?

After they lost interest in the sensory bin I set it aside to use again later in the day.  After lunch I filled another sensory bin with cornstarch. 

I put the leftover watermelon in the Vitamix and added a couple handfuls of ice to keep it nice and cold.

Then I set up an invitation to make frozen watermelon Oobleck!

How to Make Frozen Watermelon Oobleck

  • water
  • watermelon juice (water scented with watermelon Kool Aid would also work)
If you are unfamiliar with Oobleck, you must try it!  Oobleck is a non-newtonian fluid made from just two ingredients, cornstarch and water.  We have made Oobleck with a rainbow of colors, with fresh lemons, in the play pool, pumpkin spice latte flavored, from cranberry dough, and we have even made Oobleck ERUPT and GLOW.

The recipe calls for roughly equal amounts of cornstarch and water, but we don't measure.  We add water slowly until we get the desired consistency.  Mix the cornstarch in well before adding too much liquid.  Runny Oobleck doesn't produce the same effect.

Tank and Peanut were in charge of adding the chilly watermelon puree to the cornstarch.  I gave them small amounts at a time, because I knew they would pour quickly.

JZ (6) is enthralled with Oobleck, regardless of how many times we make it.  He loves each step of the process, especially mixing the ingredients together.

The chilly watermelon puree gave our Oobleck a new spin.  The cold temperature was refreshing on this hot day.  The delightful aroma of the watermelon filled the air and heightened the sensory experience.

How to make watermelon Oobleck from a REAL watermelon.

The colors were amazing!  As the watermelon puree folded into the white cornstarch it marbled, and we watched in awe.

The final color was a lovely pink.

How to make watermelon Oobleck for summer sensory play

Oobleck is one of our favorite sensory activities, and this frozen watermelon Oobleck really made a hot afternoon more enjoyable.

Clean up took only a few minutes, since Oobleck rinses clean easily with water.  Here are my best tips and tricks for messy play as well as laundry tips to avoid stains. 

Sibling sensory play

How to make frozen watermelon Oobleck - a CHILLY spin on a classic play recipe!

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  1. The first thing I thought of after reading this was "watermelon Oobleck slip 'n' slide". Talk about a serious watermelon sensory experience... Just a suggestion.


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