Red and I took our families on an apple picking outing at a nearby family owned orchard. This is the 4th year that we have picked apples together, and it struck me that annual projects like this really allow us to see how much our children have grown. We brought 12 children to the orchard, but they really were easy to manage – two babies in Ergos, two toddlers helped by older sisters, two preschoolers who could walk alone, some big boys who could toss a football when they were tired of picking, lots of strong arms to help carry the bags of apples. Seriously, we have come a long way from dragging lots of kids age 5 and under through an orchard and wondering why we were bothering.
With so many hands to pick apples, we come home with bags and bags, so we have lots of fun doing apple things. Red and I, awesome homemakers that we are, had both planned pork dinners for the orchard night, so our first order of business was homemade applesauce. Red makes large batches to freeze in ziplock bags, and this year I am going to do the same.
Many hands make light work, and I had a peeler and two preschool choppers (the size of the apple doesn’t really matter, so I cut quarters off the core and let them cut them up with a dinner knife). Montessori method preschooling really pays off when you can put your kids to work in the kitchen!
We also had an older child working on Apple Crisp for dessert. We had it again for breakfast the next morning – what a treat!
A super fun activity we did was inspired by Tex’s fall activity. We picked 4 varieties of apples so I sliced them and put them on labelled plates. We tasted the apples and talked about their taste and texture. We had a good range of sweet and sour (by the way, I found this super helpful chart ). When we felt like we knew our apples well, someone closed their eyes and we gave them an apple to taste. The kids were pretty good at identifying the variety just based on taste. Next, we did it with eyes open, and talked about using sight and touch to help as well – the color of the peel and the flesh, the smoothness of the peel and the shape of the apple were additional clues.
I am trying hard to focus on my preschoolers this year, so we will be doing some apple math with Ten Apples Up On Top, we will make apple star prints, we will count seeds and we will talk about fractions as we cut apples. The second graders will bake an apple sauce cake for math on of these days. We will all read How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World, use the globe, and bake the pie. With little bakers, I like to let the children smell and taste each ingredient — what a surprise that vanilla tastes awful, and that straight salt is so, well, salty.
Johnny Appleseed Day is September 28th, so put your regular work aside and plan your own apple day!
Here are some of my other favorite fall and apple books.
Looking for some more fall inspiration? Try this amazing soup!
Remember how fall book baskets were the central theme of my earliest homeschooling? They still are!