More than Blue!
Blueberries are one of the few fruits that are native to North America. Growing in the wild, these small berries were believed to be sacred to Native American Tribes. The health benefits were some of the most powerful of the day. The bottom of every blueberry has a beautiful star shape. The star represented the blueberry was a gift from the great spirits of the Native Peoples. The Native American’s used blue berries for more than medicine and food, they also used them for dying materials.
Until the mid 20th Century blueberries were grown in the wild. Farmers decided to learn how to cultivate and grow them in crops. These blueberries are known as highbush. The wild blueberries are known as lowbush varieties.
There was a cookbook published in 1957 called “Plimouth Colony Cook Book” and in it was a recipe for Blueberry Cake. As far back as 1621, the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower enjoyed blueberries.
Introducing Blueberries to Children
Before introducing blueberries to children, we should learn as much as we can to be prepared for their questioning minds. We are so busy these days and I just love YouTube for quick learning. Here is a video from TRU FOOD TV called “BLUEBERRY: How Does it Grow?”
Books, books and more books! Reading to children has such a positive affect on the future of a child’s love for reading books. Here are my top recommended books about blueberries. Some of them you can preview on the STEMHAX YouTube channel, before you decided to add to your personal book collection. Some of the links are affiliate links. Should you decided to make a purchase I will receive a small percentage at zero cost to you. Thank you! Book recommendations are in no particular order.
“Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand-new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as he steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries, and other big messes!”
“Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one?
With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers’ hearts since its first publication in 1948.”
“In 1942 Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, living in exile after the Nazi invasion of her country, spent the summer in Lee, Massachusetts,with her daughter and granddaughters. The following is based on a true story….
It’s summertime in New England during World War II, and a boy named William likes to imagine at bedtime that he is a brave knight fighting great battles to end the war. But in the morning he is always just William again, not big enough to contribute to the war effort like the rest of his family.
Then a real queen moves in just down the road: Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. William’s parents explain that the queen has been forced out of her country because of the war. Now William has his chance to do something. It may not be “war work” — it’s more like peace work — but that makes all the difference.”
Adding technology is important and we can share so much with children without even leaving our homes. Click on the pictures to preview resources you can share with your students. There is a variety of videos for differentiation and learning interests. Enjoy!
There are so many ways to incorporate blueberries into academics. In our blueberry science packet, inspired by Pete the Cat and his white shoes, blueberries are the main focus of the experiment. Will blueberries make a good food coloring for decorating cookies? This simple experiment will show kids that blueberries, perhaps, might be more than blue.
I will be taking a field trip to pick some blueberries as soon as they are in season. This will be updated around the middle of the summer. I encourage you to consider taking your kids blueberry picking, and make some great memories. Thank you. See you soon!
Resource Recommendation for more about blueberries visit the U. S. Highbush Blueberry Council – they have some free resources for kids, too.