How to set up Blueberry Water Play & “Blueberries for Sal”

Blueberries for sal book laying on top of blueberries in a tray. Blueberry water play

A Classic Book & Blueberry Water Play!

Blueberries for Sal book next to large container of water with blueberries in it and hand picking up one blueberry. Blueberry water play

After reading Robert McCloskey’s classic “Blueberries for Sal” we decided to have a super simple sensory experience by adding blueberries to water. If you’re looking for an easy set up & great fine motor play, this one is for you. So, let’s get started…

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Summary of “Blueberries for Sal”

Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey is a classic that was written in 1948. The entire book is illustrated in simplistic dark blue drawings.

blueberries for sal children's book opened showing dark blue drawings next to blueberry water play.

A mother and her young daughter, Sal, are picking blueberries together on Blueberry Hill. At the exact same time, a Mama bear and her young cub are doing the same thing on the other side of the of the hill. Both mother’s very focused on the task at hand don’t realize right away that their young ones have wandered and switched places with each other. That is, until each mother turns around and gets quite the surprise. It is a fun tale I would definitely recommend.

Blueberry Water Play?

You might be wondering… “What do you do with it?” or “How is this not just going to be a sensory mess?” There are many ways to answer these two common questions…

Hand reaching in grabbing blueberries out of water. Blueberry water play.

First, the most basic answer to “What you could do with Blueberry Water Play?” is… have Fun. Sensory play at its finest is not about “doing” something specific. It is about exploring, feeling, listening, watching, problem solving, creating, etc… This is an open-ended activity. Just as each child has their own unique personality, experience, and preference in play, the outcome of this activity is just as special.

As for the second question, Yes, this can be a messy one! But, I hear you. I’ve been asked that question many times. Therefore, a detailed answer, along with strategies for successful messy sensory play, can be found by reading, “What about the Sensory Mess?”

What We Did with Blueberry Water Play…

We tend to keep the activities as simple as possible around here. We’re not interested in complicated or costly. We are also all about fostering independence. So, for this activity all we did to set up was put some fresh blueberries into a large container of water.

hand picking up blueberry out of water. Blueberry water play

We instantly observed how some of the blueberries sunk to the bottom while many others remained floating on top. This brought about a conversation about sink or float and gravity; which is awesome and a great example of how learning happens through play naturally.

My daughter had a grand time bopping the floating ones to make them sink. Trying to scoop up the ones on the bottom requires eye hand coordination and looks a lot easier than it is. Picking up blueberries often lends itself to using a pincer grasp (thumb and pointer finger) which is a great fine motor skill to work on; and what a fun way this is to do that!

hand holding a stack of 4 blueberries between thumb and pointer finger. Blueberry water play.

Fishing for blueberries in the cool water was very enjoyable; especially on a warm summer’s day. We discovered that without interference; the blueberries would dance up and down; similar to what you would see in the classic raisin experiment. However, that involves baking soda and vinegar; and this was only plain water! 😮

Hearing the blueberries make the same “kerplunk” sound they mention hearing in the story was something my daughter took notice of. As she purposely dropped them from different heights she listened for the variation in the sounds.

Lastly, when we were done playing (a.k.a. washing them) we got to eat them as a snack! Talk about easy clean up, lol. I would suggest Blueberry Water Play if you’re looking for a super easy, naturally educational & fun activity to connect with your child.

Materials We Used

  1. “Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey (from the library or buy it here)
  2. Large container
  3. Water
  4. Blueberries
    Click HERE for Free Printable copy (Email Subscribers Only)

How to Make Blueberry Water Play?

  1. Get a large container.
  2. Fill it with water.
  3. Dump a container or two of blueberries into the water.
  4. That’s it! 🙂
    Click HERE for Free Printable copy (Email Subscribers Only)

Wait, There’s More…

Sample of “Communicating & Connecting FREE Bonus Printable.

I believe you can easily strengthen communication skills and foster independence all while playing and connecting with your child. To help you do this; I’ve created a FREE printable for each activity called, “Communicating & Connecting”.

It will give you a list of suggestions I’ve found very helpful as a Mom & as a special education teacher; to help you build lifelong skills. Please don’t feel obligated to do everything on the list (but if you do, you’re a rockstar 😉 ).

As a Thank You for subscribing; this is a special FREEBIE for our Email Subscribers Only. 🙂 Click here if you’ve already subscribed. Otherwise, Sign Up below to get the password & access to our entire FREE Printables Library today! 😉

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