Monday, February 28, 2022

Family Games with Citrus!

Citrus fruits: there's no doubt that kids and adults alike love to eat them.  And here at Florida Fruit Shippers, we love to send fresh-picked, delicious fruits of the most delicious caliber your way.  But what if there were a way to maximize the enjoyment of your fruits, beyond peeling and eating them?  In this week's blog, we are going to look at some ways your fresh citrus can also be incorporated into family fun and even educational activities!

The Citrus Memory Game

Citrus fruits are loaded with memory-boosting bioactive polyphenols, which are particularly high in oranges.  Grapefruits, by comparison, have more Vitamin A than oranges, and Vitamin A has been shown to keep cognition sharp.  What better way to flex those brain muscles than to play a memory game!  In this game, one person is the caller. Each of the other players are assigned a citrus fruit, which they will hold in their hand. For example, mom can be an orange, dad can be a grapefruit, one child can be a tangerine, and another child can be a Honeybell.  If there are more than four people, other players can double up with any of these fruits.  The caller will then call out six fruits in a random order. For example, he or she might say "grapefruit grapefruit orange Honeybell!" After the caller says the order, the group must lift their fruits in the correct order.  If someone lifts their fruit at the wrong time, they are out, and must give their fruit(s) to one of the other players, who is now responsible for two or more fruits as the game progresses. The winner is the one left with all of the fruits!

Orange Tic Tac Toe

Cut three oranges in half. Each player takes three halves. One decides to be the "face up" side, and the other decided to be the "face down side.  Draw a tic tac tow grid on a large, clean piece of paper, or use edible items such as celery stalks to create a grid on a clean counter, table, or cutting board.  The first player places an orange half face up in one of the grid spaces.  The second player follows by placing an orange half face down on another.  The game continues until all of the grid spaces are filled, and if either player succeeds in making a straight line with their orange halves, they win.

Sensory Water Play

Babies love to explore the world through their senses: sight, smell, taste, and touch. A simple tub filled with water and slices of citrus fruits is an excellent way to introduce your infant or toddler to a whole gamut of sensory experiences: the bright colors of the rind and pulp, the bumpy texture, the sweet and sour tastes, the uplifting citrus aromas. Babies who can sit up on their own can even sit right in the tub for an immersive experience, while older toddlers might enjoy interacting with the tub as a "touch tank" to reach in and explore. Older kids can take it a step further by incorporating their imaginations: cut up circles of oranges can become sea monster eyes, or grapefruit slices can be Mickey Mouse ears.

"Kneed" An Orange?

Now here's a game for the more athletically-inclined friends and family members in your orbit: The Orange Knee Game!  For this one, you will need two hula hoops placed at about five meters from the starting point, and six oranges.  This game can be for two, four, or six players, with each player assigned to one of two teams. Each player gets three oranges, which are placed on the floor on the starting line in front of them.  The goal is to pick up each orange, one at a time, between the knees, and figure out how to waddle, walk, or jump the orange to the inside of their respective hula hoops.  Players are not permitted to use their hands--only their knees! The team that gets all of their oranges inside the hula hoop first is the winner.  Or, if you don't want to compete, you can simply do this game as a way to work on your athletic prowess.

So, in the words of our own FFS founder, "who says you can't play with your food?" Here's to enjoying your fresh citrus in lots of new and fun ways--and then you can enjoy the delicious reward!


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Friday, February 11, 2022

Family Fun with Citrus on Valentine's Day

 Family Fun with Citrus on Valentine's Day!

As Mr. and Mrs. Love Emoji above clearly demonstrate, Valentine's Day and Citrus fruit make a great pair! These easy-to-make emojis are perfect for any kind of citrus fruits, especially ones with evenly round or oval shapes such as oranges (Mrs. Love Emoji), Temple Oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits (Mr. Love Emoji).  We'll go over some really fun and creative ideas for bringing citrus into your Valentine's Day festivities. But first, you may be wondering:

Why Citrus Fruits for Valentine's Day?

Chocolates, flowers, and those little heart candies with sentiments on them: Aren't they what you give for Valentine's Day? Well, sure. Everybody does that. Citrus is a fabulous and healthy alternative. In the flood of classic Valentines' outpourings, giving citrus gifts, doing citrus crafts, and eating citrus foods as a way to commemorate Cupid definitely stands out. 

Oranges, in fact, actually boast a prominent place on the international stage for their association with love and romance.  In China, during the Valentine's-equivalent holiday of Chap Goh Mei, unmarried ladies write their phone numbers or email addresses on oranges and toss them out into the river or ocean, whereby potential suitors scurry to pick them up in order to make a love connection.  In Italy, the juice of the orange has long been considered a potent aphrodisiac, with orange juice being offered up in villages across the country on Valentine's Day to all who seek romance. Valentine's Day's long association with the heart symbol also makes it a shoe-in for focusing on heart health. Citrus is much better for one's heart than candy, and oranges have a healthy amount of heart health-boosting and vitality-inducing hesperidin in them, as well.  What better way to say "I Love You?"

Easy Citrus Valentine's Fun for Kids

Ready to celebrate Valentine's Day the healthy way?  You'll need just a few household supplies and a nice assortment of oranges, mandarins, and/or grapefruits from Florida Fruit Shippers. First, to make Mr. and Mrs. Love Emoji featured above, you simply need red and black markers. Look up classic emojis, or make up your own!  If you're doing these with younger kids, it's fine to use craft or dry erase versus permanent markers.  There's no right or wrong way to make your emojis, but for the purposes of Valentine's Day, you can definitely encourage lots of hearts.

Mr. and Mrs. Love Bug

Here's a fun way to dress up your citrus: turn them into love bugs!  You can start with your Love Emoji fruit creations, or use googly eyes and glitter for their faces.  Then, using toothpicks, insert little antennae on the tops of the fruits and glue pink or red hearts on them.  Finally, cut out larger red hearts from foam or construction paper, glitter them if you wish, and glue them to the bottom so that your lovebugs have little "feet."

Orange You Glad It's Valentine's Day Gift

Here's a juicy, inexpensive gift idea: Using mandarins or oranges, print out as many of the following tags as you will need: Orange You Glad It's Valentine's Day?  Then, using a red, pink, or heart-adorned gift bag (or decorating plain bags yourself), place a single citrus fruit in each bag. You may want to use your Emoji fruits or lovebugs, or just a simple undecorated fruit.  Add anything else you may wish: some chocolates, some paper confetti, etc., close the bag, and affix your tag. Give to everyone in your child's class, your coworkers, family members, friends, neighbors, mail carrier, garbage collectors, and anyone else you might think could use a burst of Valentine's sunshine!

A Yummy Valentine's Treat

Finally, while citrus fruits standalone in the taste department, there's no doubt about it: citrus and chocolate are perfect together.  Melt up some chocolate chips and butter in a pan for a fast fondue-style dipping sauce, cut up some orange and grapefruit wedges, dip, and enjoy!

Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at Florida Fruit Shippers. 


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