Nothing quite says fall like apples (and pumpkins, but I’m saving those for October!) Visiting an orchard and picking apples right from the tree on a crisp fall day is one of my favorite things to do in the fall when we visit up north, and I always dive into some apple themed learning around this time of year! Don’t forget to skip on over to my toddler post Apples, Apples, Apples for more yummy activities like apple pie scented DIY playdough, and a super yummy (and easy!) homemade applesauce recipe!
-10 little apples poem: We added this poem/song to our daily morning calendar time for the week- poetry and songs that are written out are great ways to teach sight words, tracking (following the words in the correct direction as you read them and point), and the “swoop” down to the next line of text. This one also encourages number recognition! I got the poem from Mrs. A’s Room and also created a YouTube video of myself singing it if you don’t know the tune- you can see it here!
-Apple tree ABCs: I printed this cute tree for free from I Heart Crafty Things, then wrote the corresponding lowercase letters on some red dot stickers. Then I had my little match the stickers to the letters on the tree!
-Apple picking ABC play: I got some apple post it notes from Amazon and wrote the capital and lowercase letters on them. Then I made “trees” on our sliding glass door and had my little “pick the apples” in the order of the alphabet and stick them in the correct order further down the door. I got this idea from The Activity Mom.
-Apple name threading: I traced and cut out apples from craft foam for each letter in my little’s first name (then wrote the letters in his last name on the back to save time!). I cut slits on each side of the letter by folding it top to bottom and snipping each side with scissors. Then I had my little spell his name by threading the apples on a ribbon (to build fine motor skills!). I got this idea from Fantastic Fun and Learning!
-Build an orchard number matching: This activity takes some prep- but I actually made it last year then pulled it out again this year, so it’s worth it! You gather 10 toilet paper tubes and write the numbers 1-10 on them. Then cut out 10 tree tops from green paper. Use a red polka dot marker to put “apples” on the tree tops to match each number. Hot glue 1/2 of a straw to the bottom of each tree top. Then have your little count the apples and find the tree trunk that matches and put them together to build a tree. Once they’ve built all 10- you can exclaim, “Look! You made a whole apple orchard!”
-Apple 10 frame book: I got this cute apple ten frame printable set for free on Teachers Pay Teachers. I cut the pages out and made them into a book, then had my little identify the number at the top of each page and add apple stickers to match the number. It takes nearly the whole pack of stickers to do this project, so if that gives you heart palpitations you can just use a red dot marker, but for $2.50 I figured it was worth it! hahaha
-Apple and worm counting practice: This activity also works on number recognition- I had my little identify each number then make playdough balls to build a worm to match the number (ie. number 5 had 5 dough balls). I got this idea and free printable from Preschool Play and Learn! I just printed and laminated them so we can use them again!
-Apple tasting graph: I got this free printable apple tasting graph on Teachers Pay Teachers. Then we cut up some different varieties of apples to try, and all voted on our favorite. I tallied the votes, then we used the tallies to make the graph! When it was finished, I asked my little questions about his graph like, “Did any apples get zero votes?” “Did any apples have the same amount of votes? How do you know?”
-STEM build an apple tree: My little loves STEM challenges, and this one was no exception! I painted several popsicle sticks green, then gave my little a “tree trunk” (I intended to use a toilet paper tube, but he wanted the giant paper towel tube he saw in my craft drawer instead…), the sticks and some red pom poms and told him his challenge was to build a tree so he could balance as many pom poms on the top as possible. We had fun building and playing together (he worked through the challenge alone first, then we tried it together!)
-Apple dissection: First I asked my little what he thought different colored apples would look like on the inside- would they look the same, or different? How might they be different? Then we sliced them open across the middle (to get the pretty star!) and compared them!
-How does food change when cooked? experiment: Since we had a bunch of cut up apples, I asked my little how he thought they would change when we cooked them. Then we tossed them (we used 6 apples, cored but not peeled) in the crockpot on high with 1 cup of apple cider, 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 1 TBSP of lemon juice and let them simmer until soft. When they were finished I took them out to cool and had him tell me what they were like before and after cooking. We talked about how sometimes cooking can make things soft, like carrots, potatoes, broccoli, etc. Then we popped the apples and all the juices in the blender and made applesauce! YUM!
-What preserves apples the best? experiment: I asked my little what liquid he thought would keep apples from turning brown the best- lemon juice, milk, or water- and why he thought that. Then I cut an apple into quarters and we placed each quarter face down in a different liquid (we left one out in the air too). We set a timer for an hour and checked the apples and talked about what we noticed, then placed them back in the liquids and waited another hour, then repeated the process one more time. Lemon juice worked the best, but surprisingly milk didn’t do too bad of a job either (that was the one my little predicted would work the best because it “helps his bones stay strong so it will keep the apple strong too!” I got this idea from Homeschool Preschool.
-Parts of an apple crosscut craft: I used my stacking mixing bowls to trace a circle on a white piece of paper, and a slightly larger circle on a red piece of paper. I drew a leaf shape on a piece of green paper and gave my little brown paper to make a stem (I let him “free cut” that one). I cut out 5 seeds for him (since they’re so tiny- his motor skills aren’t QUITE there yet!). Then I had him cut out the circles, leaf and stem and glue everything together to make an apple! We did this the same day we did our apple dissection experiment- the two paired nicely since we had just studied the inside of an apple in real life! I got the idea from The Resourceful Mama and just added in cutting skills! I also did this with my toddler, but I cut everything out for him first and let him glue it together!
-Paper tear apples: My little and I tore up green and red paper into small pieces to work on his fine motor skills (great practice for opening packages of goldfish etc!) and glued them down in circles to make apples! I got this idea from Gift of Curiosity!
-Apple tree loofah painting: Painting with a new “brush” is always exciting, and in this case our brush was a loofah! First my little painted a tree trunk with a regular brush (please excuse our neon paint…I accidentally ordered it and haven’t got around to getting “normal” colors yet, so all of our art has an 80’s vibe! LOL). Then he added the leaves with a loofah and some green paint. Finally, he painted on some apples with his finger! I got this idea from Crafty Morning!
- apple stickers
- red dot stickers
- red craft foam
- apple shaped post-it notes
- red, green, and yellow apples
- 11 toilet paper tubes
- 5 straws
- green playdough
- polka dot marker
- lemon juice
- green popsicle sticks
- red pom poms