In the summer, we play in the water daily, so I’m always looking for new ways to play with water. We’ve made a recycled water wall, played with Sponges in the Water Table, and worked on fine motor skills with Moving Water Sensory Play. Water is the full sensory experience – we can feel it, hear it sprinkling, see it moving, and even taste it. Choose a hot summer day to create an infused water bar for kids to experiment with various flavors in infused water. It’s a healthy drink, helps children drink enough water, and replaces sugary drinks so it’s a great option. Nothing like a refreshing drink on a hot day! Not only do fruit and herbs a little flavor to fresh water, but they also entice children to drink more cups of water.
What is Fruit Infused Water?
Have you been to a spa and enjoyed fruit-infused water? Sometimes fruit-infused water is also called spa water. It’s simply a beverage made by infusing water with the flavors of various fruits, herbs, or vegetables. It is a refreshing and hydrating alternative to plain water, providing a subtle and natural infusion of flavors without added sugars or artificial additives. It just plain feels special!
How to Make Infused Water
To make fruit-infused water, you can use a variety of fruits such as citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges), berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries), tropical fruits (pineapple, mango, kiwi), or even herbs like mint or basil. Some people also add vegetables like cucumber or slices of ginger for added flavor.
The process of making fruit-infused water is simple. Here’s a basic method:
1. Choose your fruits: Select your favorite fruits, herbs, or vegetables that you’d like to infuse into the water. Wash them thoroughly.
2. Prepare the ingredients: Cut the fruits into thin slices or cubes. For smaller fruits like berries, you can crush them slightly to release their flavors.
3. Add the ingredients to water: Place the fruit slices, herbs, or vegetables into a pitcher or a large jar. Fill it with cold water.
4. Let it infuse: Allow the ingredients to infuse the water by refrigerating it for a few hours or overnight. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor.
5. Serve and enjoy: Once infused, you can strain out the ingredients or leave them in the water for visual appeal. Pour the infused water into glasses and serve chilled. You can also add ice cubes if desired.
Create an Infused Water Bar for Kids
The Experience Early Learning preschool theme for July is EcoVenture and we’ve been learning about trees, air, water, and dirt. The “Water Stand” dramatic play STEAM Station was right up our alley so here goes!
First, I gathered some fresh fruit and other ingredients that would flavor their infused water. Kids desire to make choices especially when it comes to food. I like to include ingredients they are familiar with as well as some that may be new to them.
Use your favorite fruits for infused water flavors. Frozen fruit can be used, but fresh produce is best. Frozen fruits will create more subtle flavors. Making infused water is a great way to use up leftover fruits. Organic fruit is ideal since we are soaking them in water.
Infused Water Bar Ingredient Suggestions
- raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries
- lemons, limes and oranges
- canteloupe or honeydew
- lemon thyme
- fresh mint
- cinnamon sticks
I already had all these ingredients in the refrigerator or garden. I endeavor to use fresh herbs in the summer but I can’t say I’m the best at it. This is a new, fun way to use them – in drinks!
Kids already know they like the melon, berries, and citrus fruits so they were anxious to put some in their cups. The best way to get children to try something is to get them involved!
The fruits and herbs need time to infuse into the water for the best flavor, so you may want to have the children choose their selections and refrigerate them a couple of hours before tasting for best results. The rule of thumb is to allow ingredients to infuse at room temperature up to two hours. After that, refrigerate the mixture to prevent bacteria growth. For stronger flavor, infuse mixtures longer.
I set up the table with the ingredients and crushed ice in small cups. Using clear cups allows the children to see how the color of the infused water changes and what’s sinking or floating. I don’t know how many times I’ve chosen clear plastic cups for child activities – they are great to have on hand! A mason jar would work well to mix different recipes for taste testing.
My big 18-year-old saw this going on and he wanted in! He made up a big glass of his own flavored water. The little kids are excited when he’s around so he encouraged them to try different combinations.
Adding spoons and tongs to the bowls adds a fine motor element and teaches healthy manners.
After the kids filled their cups with whatever fruit and herbs they wanted, I helped them pour water into their cups.
We want children to know water is healthy and delicious. It can be lightly flavored without adding sugar. Did you know infused water doesn’t have any calories? Just the flavor and it can also be rich in vitamins and minerals! My group lingered at the table talking and experimenting with stirring, adding mint, and playing with their umbrellas.
My group was clearly engaged with the infused water bar and truly experienced something new. They all went back to the table to add more fruits to their cups.
Be sure to have lots of lemons! The kids will continue to eat them even though they’re sour. They say lemons are “spicy” so we also learned some new vocabulary when we tried different infused water flavors.
Some flavors will be stronger than others and some of the flavors of the herbs may take longer to come through than a crushed berry, but it’s still fun. I explained they could also smell the piece of herb or taste it. They didn’t like the smell of basil – it is strong!
Ask the children, “What is your favorite flavor?” “Do you like plain water or flavored water?” “What does infuse mean?”
Cool water has a remarkably soothing effect on a child’s senses. As they dip their hands into a refreshing sensory bin, calmness spreads throughout their body. The sensation of water soothes the heat and reduces tension. With each splash comes the gentle sounds of water. Even the sight of the water’s shimmering surface is captivating! Imagine sipping the glass of infused fruit water – water is a sensory delight!
Making fruit and herb-infused water was another excellent idea for preschoolers from Experience Preschool. We are thrilled with what they plan for us!
Extend this lesson with a social media, newsletter or flyer for families, stressing the benefits of fruit in filtered water and its nutritional benefits along with the children’s favorite combinations. This way, families can try water infusions at home and come up with their favorite ways to ensure they are getting plenty of water.
More Nutrition Activities For Preschoolers
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