As we approach the new school year, I can’t help but reminisce about last year when we started our very first themed unit. APPLES! We absolutely loved it! We started early September, which was perfect for a field trip to an orchard. Here are a few of the things we did for this unit.
I knew we were going to be using our apples for about two weeks, so I thought I would have B help me in picking them out. I printed out a sheet that had pictures of the size and colors of apples we wanted. She loved this, since she typically doesn’t get a choice on what goes into the shopping cart. The only thing I found to be difficult, however, is that apples at the grocery store are virtually all the same size! It took us some time, but we did find some that were slightly smaller than the others, but not quite the range I was hoping for.
We love books. For this unit, we read books about the parts of an apple, how apple trees grow, apple pies, apple orchards and the different types of apples. We owned a couple apple books already, but the bulk of them came from the library. I was able to reserve quite a few online, so they were already set aside for us. That way, the girls could spend our library time looking for books that caught their eye and not following me around waiting until I found what I needed for school.
Fine Motor Skills
I printed a free apple coloring page I found online, and then cut strips of red and green paper for Brynlee. She practiced her scissor skills by cutting the strips of paper into smaller pieces and gluing them on the page. This was a great alternative to coloring!
We talked about the parts of an apple throughout our unit, and a couple of our books even illustrated these for us, which was a nice visual for her. Towards the end of our unit, I wanted to see how much of this she retained, so I cut an apple in half and asked her to identify the parts. She quickly identified the skin, flesh, and parts of the core (seeds and stem)!
Apple stamping was a blast and so easy to set up. I put red, green, and yellow paint on a paper plate (since these were the apple colors we were learning about) and let her stamp away with half an apple. She had fun layering the different colors and experimenting with blending.
To go along with the book 10 Apples Up on Top, I drew a picture of Brynlee on construction paper and let her count and finger paint 10 apples on her own head.
Another counting activity we did was making a grid of 10 boxes on the floor with painters tape and she counted the apples as she put them in their boxes. Also for math, we sorted a bunch! For color, I put a green, red, and yellow piece of construction paper on the ground and she had to match the apples with the paper color. For size, I had three dishes (small, medium, and large), and she put the apples in their appropriate sized container.
We also grouped the apples according to attributes. I laid out a pair of tongs, a spatula, a large serving spoon and a ladle next to two containers. I told her she couldn’t use her hands to pick up the apples, only the tools, and that some may work better than others. She grouped the apples by stickers and stems (with and without) this way, which focused on fine motor skills as well!
My girls love sensory bins. There is something about being allowed to get your hands all dirty that sparks imagination and keeps them entertained for a long while. For this unit, we used applesauce, cups, utensils, and little animal friends.
And of course, a unit on apples would not be complete without a taste test! We described which ones were sweeter or more sour, and which ones had thin skin or skin that was a little tougher to chew on.
We concluded our unit with a trip to Oak Glen, a local city full of U-Pick farms for apples, berries, and pumpkins. We had to get some apple donuts, of course, and watched how cider is made. The girls had a great time!
So much fun, right?! We are starting this new school year off with an All About Me theme. Can’t wait to show you all the fun things we have planned!