Today I want to share a super fun invitation to play that I set up for the twins after we spent a lovely morning making lemonade. As I’ve mentioned before, I cannot stress enough the importance of pretend play for language (and overall cognitive) development. I love creating invitations like this one based on new experiences that are fresh in the twins’ memories- it gives them a chance to practice new vocabulary and concepts from the activity through role play, and adding a sensory element makes the experience even richer. And besides all that, it’s just plain fun for them and me!
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To create the invitation, I used a vintage metal tray from my expanding collection and gathered the following items:
- two lemons
- a small, lightweight plastic pitcher (I wanted it to be easy for the twins to manage)
- two wooden spoons
- two plastic drinking glasses
- two straws
- plastic ice
- tongs for transferring the “ice”
- glitter (to represent sugar)
- a lemon juicer (used in our activity that morning)
- scented lemonade rice
To create the scented lemonade rice, I simply placed four cups of plain white rice in a gallon-sized plastic bag, added two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and a packet of lemonade Koolaid. I also added several drops of yellow food coloring to make it extra vibrant. After closing the bag I mixed the rice with the additives by kneading the bag between my fingers and then spread the rice on a foil-covered cookie sheet to dry. Some people have noted a tendency for rice dyed with alcohol to have a faint alcohol smell, but this was not a problem in our case…the rice came out smelling just like lemonade!
After a few hours of drying, the rice was ready to go, so I poured it into our pitcher and added the wooden spoons.
I placed a generous amount of fine iridescent glitter in two little metal condiment cups so the twins could add “sugar” to their lemonade.
Thank goodness the twins were napping, because the invitation was so inviting that I couldn’t help but want a few minutes to play all by myself. I mean, who could resist a glass of delicious lemonade, err, scented rice?
But alas, my solo playtime was over when the twins woke up from nap. To set up the invitation, I simply spread a large quilt under one of the shade trees in our front yard- it made cleanup a breeze and allowed us to enjoy some time outside in the shade.
True to form, the twins wasted no time exploring the rice and accompanying materials. They both enjoyed the sweet and tangy lemonade scent.
Both of them loved pouring the “sugar” into the rice and stirring it with their spoons. Isn’t it pretty?
And then there was pouring.
And more pouring.
And even some downright DUMPING.
And don’t forget squeezing and transferring.
And even a few pretend sips.
And no invitation is complete without the addition of a few “friends,” in this case some butterflies from the Safari Ltd Butterflies Toob. They were very fortunate to be served their own frosty glass, complete with straw!
I hope you enjoyed our little pretend play lemonade invitation. I’ll be sharing more lemonade activities all week, so stay tuned for more fun to come! Don’t forget to check out our Making Lemonade: A Toddler Language Building Activity post for tips on using simple activities to build language skills through play. You can also find tips for choosing language-rich activities for toddlers in our S’mores Day post.
Language and Lemonade Activities: