Thursday, September 25, 2014
Apples Grow on Trees, Discovering My World Series by Melvin and Gilda Berger (Scholastic Inc., 2009)
Apples, Welcome Fall Series by Marilyn Easton (Scholastic Inc., 2011)
apples by Samantha Berger and Betsey Chessen (Scholastic Inc., 1998)
Apples, apples, apples. Fall and apples go together. Apple season is one of my favorite times of the year.
Scholastic Inc. has published several user friendly apple books. I love reading them with my grands and my students. The illustrations are mostly photos and works of art and truly add to the beauty and readability of the books.
Apples Grow on Trees is a photo journey through an apple orchard. From the tree to the store to the kitchen to the tummy is the path the apples take. Simple sentences in text boxes help beginning readers as they locate the words and text features.
Apples (Welcome to Fall Series) shows wonderful photographs of the life cycle of an apple. Bold vocabulary words and photo captions are perfect for readers wanting to learn more about apples. This book fits both in the literacy and science category.
apples takes a different approach. Photographs of apple art (by real artists) are used as illustrations. This book is an apple counting book. The reader admires the artwork of artists and then counts how many apples can be found on each page. Simple numbers are included. Information about each work of art, the artist, and questions for discussion are included at the end of the book.
Apples are a great theme for literacy, math, science, and even social studies.
A few fun activities to do with apples:
1. Who's got the apple?
Play this game (similar to Duck, Duck, Goose). Sit in a circle. Have IT walk around with an apple. As IT walks, she says, "Tree, tree, tree, apple!"
When IT says "apple," she puts the apple behind the chosen child and runs around the circle. The child with the apple grabs the apple and chases IT. Of course, the first child sits in the empty spot.
2. Bob for apples. Use small apples for this activity. If you are worried about germs, hang individual apples from a tree branch with string. Let each child try to eat an apple without using his or her hands.
3. Make caramel apples.
4. Apple slingshot. Visit an apple orchard and gather the thinned apples that have fallen to the orchard floor. (Ask permission first!) Make a slingshot by attaching stretchy rubber tubing to two solid fence posts. Add a piece of old sock for the apple holder in the center of the tubing.
To slingshot an apple, hold it in the sock, walk backwards to stretch out the tubing, and release! You may need to adjust the tubing or sling.
Set up targets or boxes and aim for them.
Be a good steward. Collect used apples (or their pieces). Feed to cows, horses, or chickens.
5. Make apple cider or juice. Many family farms, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes have areas where families can make juice. It's messy, fun, and tasty.
6. Tour an apple orchard. Again, this time of year has ample opportunities to discover a farm center that gives hayrides or walking tours through fruit orchards. If you live south of apple country, search for online videos about apple orchards.
7. Decorate with apples. Wash, polish, and display apples in your home (after you have visited a farmer's market or store to select some delectable apples). Use fun fabric, bowls, candles, and so on. The best part? You can eat your decorations.
8. Make an apple pinata. Inflate a big balloon. Cut strips of newspaper. Drag the strips through runny glue made with water and flour. This is a messy job! Cover the balloon (several layers) and let it dry. Cut a small hole in the top. Pop and remove the balloon. Cover the apple with your color choice of tissue paper squares (yellow, red, green). Add a construction paper stem and leaf. Fill with candy or treats. Hang with thin rope.
Use the pinata at a fall party or celebration.
9. Paint some apples. Dig out the watercolor paints. Use a pencil to draw some apples, trees, pumpkins, and whatever else you want. Explore color mixing as you use watercolors to paint the picture. Search online for apple images for ideas on how artists use watercolor paints. Dry and display.
It's lots of fun to use real watercolor paints. Add several dabs of tubed paints to a palette. Mix, swirl, and add to wet or dry watercolor paper drawings of apples. Kids love to explore the differences between wet painting (on wet paper) and dry painting (on dry paper).
10. Make apple tarts. Use refrigerated biscuit dough for the base. After washing hands, let children flatten biscuits on pieces of parchment paper. Peel, core, and slice some apples. Give kiddos a butter knife and let them chop the slices. Put the pieces on top of the biscuits. Add a dab of butter and cinnamon to the top of each. Bake as directed on biscuit container.
Cool slightly and enjoy! This is one of my favorite fall treats to make with children. It smells and tastes so good.
I hope you enjoy fall and apples as much as I do. Here's to apple fun.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington
(Dutton Children's Books, 2001)
Apple Farmer Annie has her own orchard of apple trees. Each fall, she picks, sorts, and processes apples into a lovely variety of fresh fall apple treats. Join Annie as she travels to a large town market and sells her wares.
I love Apple Farmer Annie! The illustrations are bright and colorful. Pages are interesting and have lots of detail. Annie is a successful apple farmer. Children will enjoy her apple growing and selling journey, while at the same time learning about the cycle of farming and marketing.
I feel like Annie. Each fall, I can't wait to get my hands on some apples!
Some fun things to do with apples:
~ Make one of the recipes included at the end of Apple Farmer Annie.
~ Purchase (or pick) apples of different varieties. Have a taste test and see who likes what type of apple. Give children colored construction paper to make their own apple of the proper color and graph the results. Who wins? Everyone!
~ Draw and cut out large apples from construction paper. Chop red, green, and yellow tissue paper into one-inch squares. Squish each square, dab the bottom with white glue, and attach to an apple shape. Cover the apple shapes with tissue paper for a textural apple decoration. Hang from the ceiling (or a hanging wooden branch).
~ Make apples for playing by showing children how to wad up red, yellow, and green construction paper pieces into balls. Let them wrap masking tape around the apple balls to secure the edges and keep the apples round. Give out canvas bags and let them 'pick' the apples from the floor. If you have a chain link fence, shove apples in the holes. Stand a solid step stool on the ground near the fence and let the kiddos have at it. Harvest by pulling out apples and dropping them in a canvas bag.
~ Take a trip to an apple farm. Ask for a tour. Pick some apples. Ask the farmer (some areas call apple farms apple ranches and farmers are called ranchers)questions about how apples are planted, grown, harvested, and taken to market.
~ Take pictures! If not at an apple farm, go to a fall fruit stand. They usually have displays of apples. At the least, hit the grocery store produce aisle. How many apple varieties are there? How much do they cost?
~ Dissect an apple. Help your child to cut open and pick apart the apple. Label the parts by drawing each on a sheet of paper (seeds, skin, core, flesh, stem). Will the seeds grow? Let them dry out. And then experiment.
~ Make applesauce! There is nothing more wonderful than a crock pot simmering away with chopped apples (I leave the peels on), some water, and cinnamon. Mmmm. Kids love to wash, chop, and add apples to the pot. Eat it while it's warm.
(Hint: Use one of those apple slicers to cut clean apples into sections and remove the cores. Give kids a butter knife and cutting board. It really works!)
~ Weigh some apples. Use a bathroom scale (cleaned) or a food scale or a balance scale.
~ Talk about fractions (1/2, 1/4, and so on) as you cut an apple for a snack.
~ Taste apple products - juice, cider, pie, turnovers, muffins, applesauce, dried apples, apple butter, baked apples with ice cream, apple crisp, apples and cheese together . . . There are many, MANY ways to enjoy apples.
Apples are great. Go to the library and check out some more books about apples. Or visit your local bookstore. I know they have excellent ideas.
And remember. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.