Awesome (and Educational!) Apple Activities
September 29 is Johnny Appleseed Day, a tribute to the pioneering apple lover who introduced apple trees to five mid-western states in the early 1800’s, including LR’s home state of Illinois. Yum!
In honor of Johnny, we’re sharing three of our favorite apple activities to try at home or in the classroom:
Apple Taste Test – A Sweet Slice of Science
There are more than 7,000 different kinds of apples available around the world, with about 100 commonly found in the U.S. We advise keeping your taste test simple by choosing three or four of your family’s favorites or by picking one red, one green, and one yellow apple. Then:
- Dice each one up into bite sized pieces and place in separate containers
- Blindfold your kiddos with a bandana, then have them try apple one, apple two, and apple three.
- Encourage them to really use their senses – feel the apple, smell it, and taste it – and to describe the apples using words like crisp, crunchy, sweet, and tart – before choosing their favorite, which they’ll keep to themselves.
- Once everyone has tasted all of the apples and while they’re still blindfolded, ask them to raise their hand if they chose apple one, then two, then three, and keep a tally.
- When everyone has voted, total the numbers for a favorite!
This is a great time to explain that apples take their colors from the pigments they contain. Green apples contain chlorophyll, just like the leaves of a plant. Yellow apples also have chlorophyll, but stop producing it as the apple matures, so they never turn all the way green, but rather stop at yellow. Red apples get their color from a red pigment called anthocyanin.
Apple Fractions – Making Math Yummy
Edible manipulatives make math way more fun! You can easily demonstrate basic fractions with our favorite fall fruit. Start with a whole apple. Ask your kids how many apples you have. The answer, of course, is one. One, whole apple. Now:
- Cut the apple in half. How many pieces make up your one, whole apple now? You have two pieces, otherwise known as halves. If you put the two pieces back together, you still have one whole.
- Cut each of the apple halves in half again. Now you have four pieces, or quarters, that make up that one, whole apple.
- If your kids are following along with your apple fractions, cut each of your quarters in half again to create eighths and count the number of apple slices you have now.
- Offer a slice to one of your kids, then reassemble your apple to show that one piece is missing. Now you only have ½, ¾, or 7/8ths of your apple remaining.
Apple Prints – Squeezing in Some Art
Turn your apples into an art lesson with apple prints! This simple art activity is a time-honored classic and creates a bounty of beautiful prints. Gather a few apples, acrylic paint, a paper towel, and a few sheets of thick, craft-style paper and:
- On separate plates, squeeze dollops of red, orange, and yellow paint.
- Slice a few apples longways (from the top of the stem down to the bottom), revealing the core and seeds inside (these make for a more interesting print).
- Slice a small slit into the skin side of each piece and insert a craft stick, butter knife, or corn holder corn holder to make it easy for kids to grasp.
- Press the apple into the paint (you may need to press the stem down into the paint with your fingers), then onto a paper towel to remove some of the paint.
- Now press the apple onto the paper or canvas and lift to reveal an apple print.
- Repeat, dipping the apple into different colors to create beautiful blends.
As you can see, apples aren’t just delicious and nutritious – they can also be truly educational! When we play our way to learning, we instill a love that lasts a lifetime. Happy Fall, and don’t forget to thank ole’ Johnny Appleseed for this year’s delicious harvest.