Apples in the fall are such an easy and healthy snack, and they can also be sliced, stamped, carved and crafted to create fun, inexpensive and sensory-driven play ideas. You can use apples to introduce different smells, textures and tastes all while learning through play.
So get pickin’ and declare your own Apple Week! Do any number of these crafts and activities with your family over the stretch of a week and your kiddos will be apple experts in no time. Here is a roundup of some of my favorites.
Apple Pie Play Dough
This is such a great sensory-rich activity for children in the preschool to school age range (about 3 and up). You and your babes can make your own play dough that smells amazing!
Set up a “bake shop” with tools like wooden spoons, muffin tins, rolling pins, cake pans and cookie cutters. Get the recipe here.
For a fun activity that encourages fine motor skill development in younger children, play this great apple picking game. You can use tweezers which allows their tiny fingers to build control and strength, and helps with hand-eye coordination. You could use side-by-side trees to set up math problems, and for your older kids you can set a timer to see how many apples you each can get in your basket in 20 seconds!
Apple Stamping (for 3 different age groups)
Using apples as stamps is great for various ages and abilities. For preschoolers and elementary school children, you can simply slice the apples in half, paint them and stamp on paper.For a supplies list go here.
For school age and older, you can use the apple stamps to create art and fall decoration around your home like this Apple Stamped Banner.
For tweens and teens (and parents, too!), you can carve a shape into your apple and create your own pattern. A triangle stamped onto fabric is used here for a tent, but your tweens and teens could stamp their backpacks, tote bags, or even create a runner for your family dinning table, or turn it vertically and hang it as a tapestry in their rooms! A fantastic tutorial is here.
Apple Taste Testing
Given there are so many varieties of apples, a taste test can be a great way to introduce the varying levels of sweet and tart to your little ones! Get the whole family to participate and graph which apples get your votes! It’s a sneaky way to get a math lesson in by graphing the results and comparing them to others. You can graph which color is liked the best, which smell, which taste, etc. You could simply tally the results or use apple stickers, or cut your own apple markers out of construction paper! Here’s one mom’s account of how she taste tested with her family. I love her idea of what to do with the leftovers!
And finally when they are snuggling into bed for the night, reach for one of my favorite books, Apple Farmer Annie – a great farm-to-table book for fall!
So, how bout them apples? Such a sweet and versatile fruit!