Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Apple activities

Learning about apples in preschool and kindergarten: fun activities, snacks, projects, graphs and more!
One of my early school memories from growing up in Australia was the alphabet posted on the walls of Mrs. Potts' room.  For each letter, there were a couple of things that started with the letter, doing something, and we sang a song for each.  The tune was always the same, Skip To My Lou - so chances are pretty good that you know it too.  We had "Rats are Running, r r r", "Helicopters Hovering, h h h", "Dolls are dancing, d d d", and of course, "Ants on the apple, a a a".
Learning about apples in preschool and kindergarten: fun activities, snacks, projects, graphs and more!
Mrs. Potts could never have guessed that I would in turn teach those songs to a couple of hundred preschool children in Texas, which I guess goes to show how far our reach as teachers really can go!  "I touch the future, I teach", really takes on a new meaning when you look backwards and see such things - and I guess right now I should be wondering about my reach into the future, and who or what I might have influenced.  I know at least one of my first class of first graders is now an early childhood teacher herself, and I have to say, I was honored when she told me I had influenced her.

The picture above shows where I've gone with those "ants on the apple".  Each of my preschoolers over the years has made their own copy of the alphabet to hang on their walls at home, beginning with ants on the apple.

I provide the children with either a precut construction paper letter, or for those ready to develop their scissor skills, a traced letter.  Apples of course can be green, yellow or red, so I have all 3 colors available, and let the children choose theirs.  As you can see, we add a brown construction paper stem, and a green leaf to make our letter a into an apple, and then glue on plastic ants or finger paint them on.  We sing the ants on the apple song throughout the week, and it really does seem to help reinforce the letter sound connection.  I've often had young learners look at a letter somewhere else and tell me what picture we've created with that letter, an excellent first connection.

In case you're wondering about the upper case A, we paint stamped a green alligator onto it, and glued on the alligator poem (which I am unable to credit, so sorry!):
  Alligator, alligator, long and green.
  Alligator, alligator, teeth so mean.
  He snapped at a minnow, and he snapped at a flea,
  He snapped at a turtle and he snapped at me!
  He caught that minnow, he caught that flea,
  He caught that turtle, but he didn't catch me!


I've blogged previously about having students bring in apples for us to cook with, and then graphing both the day they brought their apples...
Learning about apples in preschool and kindergarten: fun activities, snacks, projects, graphs and more!
 ... and what color apple they brought.
Learning about apples in preschool and kindergarten: fun activities, snacks, projects, graphs and more!

The same link will also tell you all about how we make our applesauce.  I want to add that there is no recipe necessary for applesauce.  I know there are some people who balk at the thought of winging it in the kitchen, but chances are those people wouldn't be comfortable with children doing the cooking either.  :-)  Way back when I first started teaching I was careful to have a recipe, but I've made applesauce enough times with enough children to know it is close to fool proof:  Peel apples.  Cut up apples.  Put in a pot and barely cover with water.  Boil until soft.  Mash or blend until desired smoothness is reached.  Sugar and cinnamon are optional, and usually much appreciated, but not at all required. 
Learning about apples in preschool and kindergarten: fun activities, snacks, projects, graphs and more!
 I've also found that animal crackers or graham crackers make a really nice accompaniment to fresh, warm applesauce!  (Also, you can absolutely serve applesauce in a small cup and let the children "drink" it if you are out of spoons, but don't use the paper cups like those in the picture below, they smush too easily.  Go with the small plastic ones.  And yes, coffee filters make excellent and inexpensive "plates" for those crackers!)
Learning about apples in preschool and kindergarten: fun activities, snacks, projects, graphs and more!

Another fun apple activity we've enjoyed many times over the years is making our Apples On Top classbook:
Apples On Top Most of the text for the book is already on the pages, the children add their name, and a numeral, draw themselves, and add apple stickers on top of their heads.  We read Ten Apples Up On Top, by Dr. Seuss to introduce this activity, and then bind the student pages together to create our own class book.
Learning about apples in preschool and kindergarten: fun activities, snacks, projects, graphs and more!
 One of the marvelous things about class books, is that the students have ownership of the books, and want to read and reread them.  Every time we do, we're reinforcing the repetitive text, making it easier for students to read it to themselves, to reread their names and numbers, and to count those apple stickers.  I LOVE how much mileage a simple activity like this can get!

Another high mileage activity I enjoy for our apples unit is our blind taste test.  (You can read more about it here).
Learning about apples in preschool and kindergarten: fun activities, snacks, projects, graphs and more!

Learning about apples in preschool and kindergarten: fun activities, snacks, projects, graphs and more!
Basically we graph which apples the children think they like best, taste 3 or 4 different ones, graph which one they actually like best after tasting, and compare the results.    Some years we write a class experience story about the process, and put the story and graphs in another class book.  We get science, math, writing a "how to", and reading from this one simple activity!

I also try to offer a sensory bin of some kind most weeks.  Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures of our apple sensory play, but you can see some ideas on my pumpkins and apples pinterest board.

I absolutely recommend you collect empty spice containers to add to your sensory play - cinnamon and cloves for apple play - because they add another sense to those you're engaging.  It seems silly (to an adult), but the children I've taught have loved smelling the spice containers, as well as pretending to season things with them.

For super easy sorting activities this week, try putting out red, yellow and green pompons (apples) and red, yellow and green containers for the children to sort them into.  You can make instant math centers with apple tree note pads (from a teacher supply store) with numbers written on them.  Students add the correct number of pompon "apples" to their trees.  You probably have several of your own favorite apple play ideas too!

I hope you and your kiddos get a chance to explore apples too - and that you'll leave a comment and let me know what your favorite apple activity is.  Thanks for stopping by!

P.S.  I didn't mention any apple themed children's books today, but you can read about 7 of my favorites here.


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