What’s the point of Fall without some apples?

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 6.10.35 PMAnd we’re back with more apple fun! (Some people out there in Internet Land have just fallen over in a dead faint that I’ve blogged two days in a row. I’ll pause and give you time to revive yourselves.)

Today’s book:

apple-picking-time

Apple Picking Time by Michelle Benoit Slawson, with lovely paintings by Deborah Kogan Ray, tells the story of a little girl whose family lives in an apple-picking community. Everyone comes together to harvest the fruit before it spoils. My three year old loves this story, and I used it every year with my second graders. Something about the main character’s drive to finally earn her own “punch” for having picked an entire bag of apples really resonates with kids of all ages.

It’s a great example of hard work and perseverance, while giving an age-appropriate but realistic look at what it takes to actually harvest an orchard’s worth of apples.  Adults will appreciate the author and illustrator’s attention to detail, and the musical refrain of “twist and snap” will stick with children through multiple readings.

Our family traveled last weekend to pick apples, and we came home with around 30 pounds of various types, all ready for some good eating! Since the girls are going through about four apples a day apiece right now, I thought it might be fun to try some apple building. This activity, while so simple you’ll think I’m crazy for suggesting it, involves a fair bit of fine motor skills, and allows children some quality practice with repeated effort and perseverance.

All you’ll need is a few apples, a way to cut them, and a surface on which to work.

Apple Building Supplies

See? Ridiculously simple. Slice those apples (we used one per girl, and it was more than plenty), and get to work stacking! I left the cores for the girls to use, and the little divot in the top is just about right to hold the curve of another apple slice. If your kiddos are older, toothpicks would let them build some pretty fantastic structures, but toddlers and toothpicks just don’t mix in my house.

Building with Apples

More than once, I had to encourage my older daughter to keep trying. Her younger sister had no such issues, though she did eat most of her best work.

Building with Apples

I have a hard time doing activities with food that render it unfit for consumption later – this is a perfect way to work in some sensory exploration WITHOUT destroying any delicious produce. If you give it a try, I’d love to see the results!

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Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at some toddler board book favorites for fall. Enjoy those apples!

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