The Ultimate List of Apple Activities for Kids!
Fall is almost here & what better way to celebrate than to play, learn & explore with an apple theme! These hands-on, sensory-driven experiences are sure to keep your kids & students engaged & creating throughout the next few weeks.
I cut an old apple in half & put a craft stick or fork through the top (not all the way through) so it’s easier to hold. A few squirts of paint & they are ready to dip & print!
If you would prefer not to use an apple, cut a sponge in an apple shape, works just the same!!
I’m a BIG fan of combining academic instruction with sensory play!
It is a low-stress way to practice.
Make a mistake? Shake it away!
Need a break? Explore the tray!
Pour a thin layer of dry oats into a sensory tray or bowl. Use your finger or a dry paintbrush to draw the letters, numbers, shapes, words etc in the oats! It is fun. It works on a ton of skills & it reduces the stress that writing on paper can bring to some kiddos.
Bubble wrap is so fun to craft with. You can cut it into shapes or just paint & print! It’s also fun to pop up with your fingers or your toes!
Spread of a thin layer of paint on to the bumpy side of the bubble wrap. Flip it over, rub it down & then slowly pull it off! You can use this over & over, adding different colors & different layers of texture!
Peeling an orange, washing your fruit, baking muffins, sweeping the floor…
Those things are going to strengthen your motor skills & provide opportunities to learn & practice new language & vocabulary. They are also going to teach you how to care for yourself in the process!
I am a firm believer in sensory play. I have seen the benefits through working with thousands of students & my own 4 children. BUT- you can also see those benefits in many other ways. 🤍
For this bin, add a few inches of water, new/clean sponges & some apples. Have kiddos scrub & splash & play. This is a GREAT way to work on functional life skills; its playing while you work!
I always keep a stash of frozen treasures in the freezer. They are easy to prep, they work on a TON of skills & they can be differentiated in so many ways.
Here, we used red, yellow & green pom poms to represent apples, but you can use anything that you have!
Step 1: grab a plastic or metal bowl, an ice cube tray, a silicone mold or a cake/baking pan.
Step 2: Add in your favorite trinkets (plastic animals or figurines, legos, gems, pom Poms, shells, rocks, alphabet letters- literally anything) & add water. Food coloring is optional, a few drops go a long way.
Step 3: freeze for a few hours (length will depend on size and shape that you use.)
Step 4: when frozen, place in a sensory tray or bowl, add medicine droppers, pipettes, squirt bottles or wooden mallets. Also add a few cups or a bowl or warm water.
Step 5: rescue your treasures!! Squirt, squeeze & bang away until they are free of the ice!
Fizzy Fun NEVER disappoints! It's Science. It's Math. It's sensory play. It's magical every single time!
🍎Mix half baking soda, half water into a silicone ice cube tray. I used an alphabet mold, but they are equally as fun in a regular ice cube tray!
🍏Freeze for a few hours until solid. Remove & put on a tray.
🍎Fill squirt bottle or cup with white vinegar & a few squirts of food coloring or liquid watercolors.
🍏Squeeze & squirt & watch as it erupts colorful bubbles everywhere!
*food coloring may transfer to hands, but it comes off after a few washes! Use your judgement when doing sensory play and always monitor young children.
Wishing everyone a happy & safe school year 🍎 ✏️
Whether you are sending your kiddos to school, homeschooling, nature schooling or anything in between, I hope your days are full of learning & friendships & exploring & creating & fun!
Also sending love to all of our amazing educators. Thank you for all you do!
Here is the link to our Sun Catcher Blog Post with all of the details on how to create these!
This smells amazingggggg!!! It’s our fun fall twist on our favorite moon sand!
-2 cups flour
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-2 teaspoons of apple pie spice
Dump it into a bowl & mix well!!
🍎There is a difference between taste safe and edible. This recipe is not meant for full consumption. If your kiddo is still heavily exploring with their mouths I would save this one for later!
🍎In order for this to be fully taste safe, you must bake the flour on a sheet pan at 350° for 10-15 minutes. This kills any bacteria that may be found in the flour.
Our favorite hack: Pop this in the freezer for 30 minutes or so & it will be cold & chilly, which adds an extra layer of sensory fun!
Add in your favorite scoops, cups, or plastic figures & you have yourself a perfect set-up, full of all the amazing sensory play benefits!
Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
The sound of chickpeas in a sensory bin are one of my favorites!! Store them in a ziploc bag and keep them dry and they’ll last you yearssssss.
Add in your favorite scoops and bowls or trucks or dolls and you’re good to go!
Put the chickpeas in a ziploc bag or bowl- add in a few swuirts of paint & mix well. I like to lay them out on a lined baking sheet to dry. Mix them a few times & wait for them to be completely dry before playing with them!
You get to decide what is safe and management in your home. Always monitor young children during sensory play & assure they are old enough to be safe before trying this activity.
This is one of our favorite ways to switch up a painting activity. Not only does using a Q-Tip strengthen fine motor skills (amazing practice for pencil grip!), but it has the most amazing calming effect for kids (and adults!)
Just draw a basic tree shape, squirt out a bit of paint on to a tray or plate & dot away!
Apple-themed Rice Bin:
This rice lasts YEARS! You can scoop it & dump it & pour it. It works on a ton of things, like fine motor skills. It is fun. You can add anything: scoops, bowls, trinkets...and it is new and exciting every time!
Here is the link to our Blog post that shows you step-by-step instructions for THREE different methods!!
I try to think of how I can recycle & reuse materials over & over to make it easy on myself. A piece of cardboard & bottle caps can go a very long way!!
For this activity, my kindergartener is continuing to work on matching upper- & lower-case letters. It’s been a yearlong process and that is so very normal!! He has done this so many times now that he no longer needs directions 🙌🏽 I put out the materials & he gets to work, then we go over it together.
When making this, I grabbed a piece of cardboard, drew a tree & added a layer of packing tape across it. Now, its reusable!! I used a chalkboard marker so it will wipe right off!! I am going to continue to use this for learning & play for the next several months!
On the bottlecaps I stuck a dot sticker on top & wrote the letters with a sharpie. You can match upper to upper-case, upper to lower or switch this up & do it with numbers, shapes or sight words!
Differentiated Letter Matching for Younger Learners:
My very independent 3 year old (just turned 3 in July!) wanted to do it but it was way above her skill level. I would never expect her to have memorized her letters, never mind be able to match upper to lower. So, I made a version for her based on her needs.
Here’s how I differentiated it:
🍎I wrote upper case letters on the board & on the bottle caps.
🍎I kept them the same color- so the A on the board was the same color as the A on the cap.
🍎I handed her 1 cap at a time so it wasn’t so overwhelming & said, can you match the red A?
I did NOT ask her to repeat back to me, to identify the names of the letters or even to rattle of colors. This was all about exposure & gaining confidence…with some AMAZING skill work built in!
This method of instruction is called scaffolding & teachers (and parents!) do it all the time. It’s adding supports in place to enhance learning & help kiddos learn or reinforce a skill. Remember, it takes TONS of repetition & repeated exposure to material to actually master a skill!
Once she gains confidence here, I may make another version but not offer the support of the colors matching. Then, eventually, move on to upper & lower.
Doesn’t get any easier than this, friends! Takes 1 minute to set-up & works on SO many skills!!
We did this a few months ago with flowers & my 3 year old loved it, so I put out an apple version for her! She happily stamped & filled the apples & while she did, we talked about & worked on:
🍏more than/less than
🍏fine motor skills
🍎hand-eye coordination & 1:1 correspondence
🍏words like: up, down, over, left
🍎social gestures/phrases such as: please pass that, it’s your turn now, may I go next
This literally takes 1 minute to set up & it works on SO many skills!!
🍎time on task
And it’s a cute art project when it’s done!
Draw a tree & write a number on it. Have your kiddo use a dot marker, regular marker or crayon to represent that number by making 'apples' on the tree!
🍎 Finish the pattern 🍎
Super simple. Super effective. Super fun!
We do this one over & over & it never fails! Great fine motor practice, works on a ton of math skills & strengthens those sweet finger muscles!
Draw a simple apple shape on paper & add in a few lines from side to side. Using dot stckers (or markers) begin a pattern on each line. Remember, a pattern is something that repeats itself!
This was an activity for my 3 year old, who desperately wants to learn like her big brothers! She has shown so much interest in her letters, colors, shapes & numbers lately, so I have been trying to nurture that in a way that’s appropriate for her developmental level.
Here I made a tree & wrote the numbers 1-3 in it. I first started with just the numbers 1 & 2, then moved up to 3 when she was ready. Then, I made a simple color code to go along with it, using our dot markers.
While she works, she is strengthening:
🍎fine motor skills
🍎time on task
So many skills hard at work & it took me 2 minutes to set up!
So simple & so fun! Draw an apple & make shapes inside. Then, make a color code based on what shapes you choose!
Works on a ton of skills & is so much fun!
My daughter just turned 3 & is very interested in “her letter.” She is still in the exploratory stage & although I expose her a ton to letters & sounds, I don’t expect her to retain them.
When you have an early learner, teaching them the first letter of their name is a great place to start!
I made a big Apple 🍎 & used marker to make red, yellow & green Ts inside. I put the same color @doadotart markers out & she got to work! Her job was to dot the red Ts with the red dot marker, and so on.
This activity is simple, but impactful.
She’s working on:
🍎The letter T
🍎Fine motor skills
🍎Gross motor skills
🍎Independent work skills
Here’s why I love felt for learning & play:
🌳 It is cost effective!
🍎 It is easy to craft with & very forgiving!
🌳It is soft & easy for all ages to access!
🍎It is mess-free play!
🌳Felt sticks to felt, so need for tape or glue!
🍎Once you create something you can use it over & over!
🌳It encourages creativity, problem solving & imaginative play!
🍎It is perfect for story or poem retelling!
🌳it encourages language & communication!
🍎Working on a vertical surface has SO many benefits!!
🌳It can span a variety of ages & abilities!
This simple apple tree can be used to go apple picking, to sort colors, to count, to pattern, to say a poem & more!
My son asks to play to-tac-toe constantly, so last year I thought it would be fun to make a reusable version so we weren't constantly using up so much paper.
Now, we play apples & pumpkins (made from cardboard & a sharpie marker!) over & over! Simple, fun & super easy to make!