I just shared a brief post about this on my Instagram but I figured I’d do a little write up too – before the fall season disappears.
Disclaimer: I do not have the time or energy to do this kind of stuff every week. Maggie is usually in daycare 3-4 days a week and home Fridays, so I *try* to plan this for Fridays, but some weeks we have appointments or other plans and we just don’t get to stuff like this. We did the learning + painting one Friday and the orchard another one. It’s totally OK and normal to not have the energy to plan intricate crafts and activities for your kids – whether you’re a first time parent or a seasoned one. Don’t let Instagram or other platforms fool you or make you feel bad! Your child will learn and be fulfilled at home or even just going for a walk outside. I personally love to “teach” and do days like this sometimes because it’s rewarding for me as someone who enjoys stuff like this, and also as a mom seeing my kids enjoy activities. I love trying arts and crafts because my grandmother always loved doing that stuff with me. But some weeks we don’t get to it and we make it through. We try again the next week. No matter what you’re doing mama (or dada), you’re more than likely doing a great job!
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*I got all my materials from the library and the dollar store, so this is an AFFORDABLE activity. The apples could be orchard apples or just from your preferred grocery store or farmers market.
Apple Life Cycle Learning
One of our favourite Friday activities is a library visit to our local Mississauga library location. I planned earlier in the week to do this color matching activity and the apple stamping – so I went to the dollar store in advance to get any needed materials (I will list them at the end of each section). We always have apples so these were already on hand.
The day of – we visited the library nice and early (when it is quieter, which I prefer) and spent some time enjoying it as usual. I found very few books that I was hoping for – it seems that each season all the “seasonal” reads are already taken out at the library. So I was able to find 1 book on seeds (Eric Carle) and then I had to be creative. I chose a book for older kids on Apple Trees – and Maggie and I looked at it together on a very “light” level – mostly the pictures and we reviewed some basic apple facts. The seed book was perfect for her even though it wasn’t about apple seeds, it was still applicable.
I had printed out this apple life cycle chart in advance and we just went through each step together. Maggie is only just shy of 3 so I was worried about being too advanced for her – but she was very interested in the stages of seed to apple tree growth. Again – we just basically talked about all of this and looked at pictures, to keep it very basic and just spark her interest. It worked well because she talked about apples and apple trees for like 2-3 weeks after!!
- How Does a Seed Sprout?: Life Cycles with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (board book) – borrowed from the library
- A book about apple trees – it was a bit advanced, if I had my way I would have replaced it with this book by Jill McDonald
- Apple life cycle print out – I think this is the one I used, if not it is very similar (from the STEM Laboratory)
Apple Color Sorting Activity
Next, I introduced the fake apples I got from the dollar store. Maggie liked these a lot since it was just like her play food for her kitchen.
I bought two colours of apples and two baskets – ideally, I had wanted green and red but there were no green apples so I got pink and red. Very similar but Maggie was actually very quickly able to differentiate between the two (and she often does confuse them!). I let her sort them, then she wanted to do it again so I helped her “reset” it. Then she just free played with the baskets and the apples! We kept the apples for her kitchen.
You could make this more complex by introducing more apple colours + basket colours.
- Coloured baskets from Dollarama
- Fake apples from Dollarama
We split up this day with lunch and a nap. When Maggie woke up, she had an apple for a snack and I cut up one more for the stamping/painting activity. I used her snacking time to prepare this – basically just cutting the apples in half and adding a “handle” by cutting out the top two sides of the apple. This was really helpful for her age and handling the apple.
I had bought some tempera paint from Dollarama and I used a tupperware lid with divisions to pour some paint in. I used the lid since the apples would fit in the space without difficulty.
We did the stamping outside as it was a beautiful sunny day and it meant less clean up for me 🙂 when possible (and weather permitting) I always try to do messy crafts or art OUTSIDE on the patio.
The apple print out I just googled the night before – it was from PJs and Paint and you can find it here. I demonstrated what Maggie needed to do and let her go at it! I printed out 3 apple templates so the activity would last a bit longer. You could also consider adding more colours – we did red and green because I’m a realist HA! Just kidding – but you could do whatever colours you want!
- Apple printout
- Tempera paint from Dollarama
Bonus: Apple Orchard Visit!
To “consolidate” this learning experience (but really just for fun + photos of course), we went to Chudleigh’s Entertainment Farm which has a large apple orchard. Unfortunately, they do close Sunday – so this post is a bit late in the season but either rush over there or hit it up next year. The farm itself is open most of the year but of course closed for the winter.
We enjoyed the farm – the animals, play area, pumpkins (at this time of the year) and food – and of course, we picked some apples. Maggie enjoyed this and loved the opportunity to connect the things she had learned with the real thing! I think it was a really good way to wrap up the fall season, and certainly can be done as a stand alone activity.
Happy fall y’all!