I first did this watermelon-themed activity with Sammy when he was learning his letters eight (eight!!!) years ago. Now that little Norah is ready to learn letters (and with summertime officially arriving this week—woohoo!), it’s the perfect time for another go.
In fact, this summer will be sprinkled with all sorts of fun literacy activities as Norah and I work through How Wee Read, my learn-to-read program.
How Wee Read covers it all. From rhyming to reading in 60 sequential, simple, and beautiful lessons. Perfect for teaching your little one to read over the summer!
- Step One: Phonological Awareness (7 lessons)
- Step Two: Letters, Sounds, and Blending (12 lessons)
- Step Three: Special Rules (5 lessons)
- Step Four: Familiar Readers (36 lessons)
Want to see a sample? Grab these FREE Rhyming Cards which also includes a sample of How Wee Read:
Learn Letters with a Watermelon Seed Activity
But back to the watermelon letters! I set this activity up as a quiet bin for Sammy, so he could explore and engage with the activity independently during our Quiet Time. Here’s how we did it:
First of all, you’ll need a few simple supplies. We got all of our supplies from the Dollarstore:
- Small pink paper plates
- Large green paper plates
- Black buttons (beads or pompoms also work!)
- Black marker
- Storage bin (optional)
If you don’t have colored paper plates, you could simply add a pink and green circle with markers or paint to plain paper plates, or use circles of colored construction paper.
Prep the Activity
Preparing the activity is super simple! Draw some lowercase letters on the pink plates and uppercase letters on the green plates. Make those letters nice and big, so they fill the flat portion of the plate.
Since we used this activity for Quiet Time, I popped everything into a bin so Sammy could engage with the activity and clean it up all on his own.
If you’re not sure which letters to use, I suggest this very special order that allows reading to flow naturally:
- s, a, t, i, p, n
- c, k, e, h, r
- m, d, g, o
- l, f, b, q, u
- j, z, w
- v, y, x
The letter order is similar to the way the letters are taught in the Jolly Phonics Program. When children learn letters in this manner, they are able to begin forming words very quickly. After learning the first six letters, kids can make words in the “at,” “an,” “it,” “ip,” “ap,” and “in” word families.
You can read all about the magical letter order right here: Teaching Letter Recognition: What Order to Introduce Letters.
How to Play and Learn Letters
With this activity, little ones will be working on both letter matching and letter formation.
They begin by matching the lowercase pink plate with the uppercase green plate. Next, they focus on how the letter is formed by placing “watermelon seeds” (the black buttons) to trace the letter.
This focus on letter formation is a very important skill for little ones to learn! Lots of play with this is very, very beneficial. Many letters look similar, and it is important for children to notice the subtle differences all on their own.
Using the buttons also helps strengthen little hand muscles for future writing. Win-win!
More Ways to Play and Learn
But that’s not all! There are so many ways that this activity can be modified to practice other skills:
- Numbers: Put numbers on the pink paper plate and corresponding dots on the green paper plates. Little ones can either focus on forming the numeral by tracing it with the buttons, or counting by placing the correct number of buttons onto the watermelon.
- Patterning: Label the watermelons with a letter pattern (e.g. ABAB). Children can add a small button for A and a big button for B, creating and extending patterns.
- Practice Threading: Hole punch the letters and add some black shoelaces or yarn. Little ones can trace the letters by threading ‘seeds’ up and down, up and down.
- Name Letters: Use your child’s name letters, add some glue, and little ones can create their names in watermelons to hang in their bedroom or in the classroom.
- Shapes: Draw 2D shapes on the plates and have your child trace the shapes with their buttons.
Thank you so much for reading, friends. I hope your week is off to a wonderful start!