Looking for some easy fall fun for the little ones? We’ve found nine great pre-school activities in one bag of apples!
Little Brother started pre school this month. I’m celebrating my two and a half hours of freedom three times a week but that does still leave us with a whole bunch of other time still to fill with kiddie fun… There’s well over two hours between Big Brother’s bus departing and us heading to his preschool alone. We are however, starting to fall into a routine and using those early hours for themed activities. This week has been all about apples!
As autumn weather starts to arrive many of us gravitate towards apple picking and farm visits and there’s tons of great resources out there to reinforce the children’s outdoor learning. We’ve been padding out the more ‘academic’ learning with all sorts or sensory fun. The great thing about apple activities at home is that you don’t need to buy a ton of extra toys and resources. These nine ideas were pulled together from one bag of store bought apples and things we already had in the house. I hope some of them might ap-peal to you too!! (Sound of laughing at my own jokes!)
If you do these activities roughly in this order you should be able to complete as many as you want with the same apples. However, if you intend to make anything edible out of the bag, be sure to put a couple of the apples to one side first thing… bruised fruit is an inevitability of playing with it! With hindsight, I’d have gone with a smaller variety of apples for little hands but any type should work.
Nine Preschool Apple Treats!
1 – Sink or Float
Little Brother is obsessed with Blippi of YouTube fame(am I the only one suffering this?). He’s particularly obsessed with the ‘Sink or Float’ episode where our blue and orange adorned friend drops random objects into a fish tank and watches what they do. Many Brownie Points were gained by recreating this with a washing up bowl, cold water and a few bits of fruit. Oh, to be so easily pleased! Apples do seem relatively heavy for their size – many of us could be forgiven for assuming they’d sink. There’s a lovely moment of glee when those apples bounce back up and float at the surface.
2 – Washing Station
Blippi also has an episode on apples by the way, it’s really very educational! It shows their journey from tree to store including how the apples are cleaned before being sold. Clearly I don’t have a huge apple washing machine but a bowl, tub or sink; a scrubbing brush; and some fruit and veg wash made a quick and fun activity. Alternatively, you could take it outside and let them play with water, suds and apples until they are soaked and clean too…
3- Apple Bobbing
Apparently apple bobbing was a memorable event last year and I’ve been fending off daily demands to repeat the fun until we had a warm sunshine again. Little brother doesn’t really want to stick his head in a bowl of water and bite the fruits – although he’d happily laugh at the rest of us trying – so I gathered together this simple sensory bin. The apple décor is just last year’s gel clings stuck to the outside of the tub. The letters are paper taped to the bottom; I’d have preferred floating foam letters but didn’t have any to hand and didn’t want to buy them specially. The scooping, pouring and lifting kept him happy for a long while. He later requested some colors to mix in which really livened and extended the fun.
4 – Oats and Apple Pie Bin
Also back by popular request, the apple pie sensory bin. A large bag of rolled oats forms the main bulk of the bin, cinnamon sticks add a delightful scent (these sticks were old so I’m sprinkling in a little pie spice too), and then I included whatever I could find in the form of pie making and scooping fun. Foil pie tins, a balloon whisk, scoops, and a rolling pin all added to the fun. The apples will be very dusty after this so you might want to repeat the washing station at this point!
5 – Farmers’ Market / Apple Orchard Dramatic Play
Dramatic play is a great way for helping children process what they’ve learnt or to teach them something new. If you have a cash register, baskets, maybe scales, and other shop or market themed toys at home it would be lovely to create an apple stall after a visit to the orchards or farmers’ market. Take a look teachpreschool.org‘s ideas or similar examples on my Pinterest boards.
6 – Dissect and Identify
We’ve been reading ‘Apples‘ by Gail Gibson (UK). Full of facts and information about the humble apple’s origins, popularity, growing process and parts, it inspired us to take a look at the inside of a real apple. Chopping board at the ready and sharp knife away from the three year old, I cut the apple in two in front of him and we identified the stem, seeds, core, skin and flesh. A mini magnifying glass ensured extra fun and involvement for little hands. We even added little hand written labels fixed with tooth picks.
7 – Counting Seeds
If you save the seeds from the dissecting and eating activities, you can have a go at this cute seed counting game from Montessori-on-a-budget.com. I simply drew an apple outline and used a normal die with dots, it was plenty of fun and good for fine motor sills but it didn’t look as pretty!
8 – Apple Printing
When we’d finished the apple cutting and labelling activity we removed the flags and used the apple halves and paint to print with. The large apples were hard for little hands to grip so I cut a chunks out of the sides as in the photographs to help form a usable handle. I shared a lovely bug printing activity from boxofideas.co.uk on Facebook last week which was very popular then this weekend we took it all outdoors and printed a lovely apple tree on jumbo paper roll.
9 – Apple Cookies
And finally, we thought we’d better actually eat some apples! If I’d bought a variety of apple colors and types I would have done a tasting game to see what we liked best but as they were all the same and a good eating apple we thought we’d make apple cookies. I sliced the apples into rounds, used a piping bag tip to cut the core out – as I didn’t have a corer – and let the boys chose from a selection of nut butters, Nutella, chocolate chips, oats and sprinkles. It might have been the most popular activity yet!
Have you been having fun and games with apples? What have a I missed? What should I have included to make our nine up to the round 10!?
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