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...
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.
Another fun apple activity we've enjoyed many times over the years is making our Apples On Top classbook:
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.
Another high mileage activity I enjoy for our apples unit is our blind taste test. (You can read more about it here).
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.