Early childhood students can learn a lot about strawberries and have fun, too, during this week. First, talk about what kind of food strawberries are and which food group they are included in on the food pyramid chart.
Investigate strawberries. Examine how they look and feel and smell and taste. Examine the seeds. Notice that the seeds are on the outside of the fruit and are small enough to eat. Compare strawberry seeds to the seeds of other fruits, like apple seeds and watermelon seeds and peach pits that are too big to swallow and must be picked out.
Talk about how strawberry plants grow in the ground. The strawberry plant grows three-leaflet clusters along its long stems. Small white flowers bloom, then wither, and greenish-white strawberries appear and later ripen to bright red to be picked and eaten.
Strawberry, Strawberry, how do you grow?
With sun and water, don’t you know.
First blooms a flower that smells so sweet.
Then grows a strawberry–a tasty treat!
To create strawberry pull-through story feature: cut out two strawberry shapes from red construction paper. Staple the two shapes together, leaving an opening at the top, making a pocket. Glue small green strips of paper to the top of the red shape on the front. Draw black or brown seeds spots on the red shape. Staple a ribbon to the inside of the strawberry pocket. Staple the following images going up along the ribbon: strawberry on the bottom, flower blossom above the strawberry, then a raindrop, then a sun on the very top of the ribbon. Make a small loop in the top of the ribbon to use to pull the ribbon up from the strawberry pocket. Tell a story about how a strawberry grows using the pictures on the pull-through.
Paint with strawberries. Put 2-3 strawberries in a plastic baggy and seal it up. Allow the students to squish the strawberries. They will love squeezing the bags and making strawberry mush. Once the strawberries are mashed up, dip a paintbrush in the bag and paint with red strawberry paint on paper. This is a great texture, sensory activity.
Sort strawberries. Label baskets with numbers and place the corresponding number of strawberries in each basket. Students will learn sorting and counting. Teachers may choose to use paper strawberries instead of real ones to avoid contamination, especially if another activity is for tasting.
Sing a strawberry fingerplay:
Five little strawberries growing on a vine.
Turning juice red in the bright sunshine.
Along came a mouse and picked one sweet.
Then nibbled on a scrumptious strawberry treat.
Sing I Am a Strawberry, sung to the tune of I’m a Little Teapot:
I am a strawberry, red and sweet
See all my seeds, and my cap is neat.
When I grow ripe, and ready to eat,
POP off my cap–
A tasty treat!
Read the book about the little mouse and the big hungry bear and the red strawberry.
Play: Who stole the strawberry? This game is similar to Doggy Doggy Where’s your Bone? Select a student to sit in the front of the class with his back towards the others. Place a strawberry behind his back. Choose another student to quietly take the strawberry from behind the first student. Ask the first student to guess who has the strawberry. When he guesses or finds the person with the strawberry, they switch places in the circle.
This theme week is sure to add fun and excitement and learning to any early childhood classroom.