APPLE-themed Activities for Toddlers
Just as I suspected, apple-themed activities were just as much fun to plan for my own child as they were to plan for classrooms of 3-6 year olds. I always loved our apple-week in both preschool and kindergarten and after a week or so of apple fun with Kade, it still remains a favorite theme.
Books we read during this theme:
Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins
Pat the Bunny: At the Apple Orchard by Golden Books
Ten Apples Up On Top! by Dr. Seuss
These books were great for showing Kade that apples grow on trees, they can be picked and we can eat them! We also talked about how they can be three different colors, and that we can make other foods with them like pies, muffins, and breads.
- 7 cups of flour
- 1 cup of vegetable oil (or baby oil)
OPTIONAL festive add-ins: apple pie spice, and anything apple related (I threw in an apple magnet that we had and an apple shaped block along with some little laminated apples I had in with my teaching stuff).
I also threw in some little cooking utensils- whisks, spoons, spatula, etc. and of course a red bucket for dumping/transferring.
Fun fact- I did not have apple pie spice and couldn't find it at our local grocery store so I googled what was in it and made it from scratch. ;) It's just 1.5 tbs of ground cinnamon, 1.5 tsp of ground nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of allspice.
You can make this cloud dough even more festive by using either powdered food coloring or oil-based food coloring (mixed with the oil), or a non-taste safe way to color it could be with powdered tempera paint or crushed up chalk. I didn't have access to any of this stuff but Kade didn't seem to mind! ;)
We made ours in a small, clear, plastic Rubbermaid tub (it stays good if you keep it in a container that you can put a lid on!) and then put that tub inside of our empty water table to help contain the mess even more. We decided to keep it as an outdoor activity and it still ended up all over our driveway. If you can't do it outside, you could always lay out a towel or blanket that you wouldn't mind having to shake out and wash after.
This stuff is the best- it is SO soft, moldable, squishy, and this version smells delish. This entertained Kade all week for solid amounts of time each day we brought it out.
I modeled for Kade a few times how to stamp the markers on the circles and then I just let him have at it! This was a great activity for hand-eye coordination, and talking about the different colors that he was using. He was very proud of his art work when he was finished. :)
- Print out the FREE colored and labeled red, yellow, and green apples OR the plain white ones on colored paper (you'll have a few extras and you could always use them in the cloud dough or for a different activity) from my apple activity pack.
- I laminated them but if you don't have access to a laminator you can skip this step or you can sturdy them up by folding clear packaging tape around them and cutting around the edges.
- Tape each apple to an empty toilet paper roll
- Set out red, yellow, and green colored craft sticks
The purpose of this activity is not to get frustrated or discouraged when your toddler isn't identifying their colors correctly. It's about the conversations you have, modeling the color matching, and even showing them where to drop the sticks. Every now and then, Kade would put the correct color in the correct tube and I would make a big deal of it, but it's just fun for them to drop the sticks in and we don't want to take away from that. If you can sit with them for a minute and show them to put the red in the red apple and the yellow in the yellow apple then you are exposing them to the color words and the fact that the colors match. In my opinion, it's never too early for them to be exposed to the information- whether they grasp it and remember it yet or not. :)
We were planning to do the traditional apple stamping with paint on paper, until it was 85 degrees outside... then we decided to combine the apple stamping with some DIY sidewalk chalk paint that I'd been dying to try!
- Cut 2 apples in half (I used one of the halves to test out the paint and to keep on-hand as a back-up)
- Stick popsicle sticks into the apples
DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint:
- 1 cup of corn starch
- 1 cup of water
We made 3 festive colors:
- Green Apple Cinnamon: green food coloring and ground cinnamon
- Golden Delicious: yellow food coloring and gold glitter
- Candy Apple/Apple Spice Red: red food coloring and apple pie spice
I put some of the sidewalk chalk paint into a muffin tin and had some paint brushes available as well in case Kade got tired of the apples. The best part about doing this activity outdoors on a hot day was the CLEAN UP. I gave him the hose and let him have at it!
- Print out the FREE apple tree color match printable from my apple activity pack
- Red, green, and yellow stickers (they don't have to be circles... they can be stars, hearts, whatever you have laying around as long as they're red, green, and yellow!)
- I laminated my printable so that I could peel the stickers off and re-use it, but if you don't have access to a laminator and you still want to use stickers, you can slide it into a plastic sheet cover for the same affect.
Alternatives to stickers:
- Do-a-dot markers
- Pom-poms (add tweezers for some more fine motor fun)
- Mini erasers
Kade enjoyed telling me which color apple he wanted. He isn't quite able to peel the stickers off the paper quite yet so I did that part for him and then I would show him where to put it. Like I said earlier, at this age, the activity doesn't need to be about the accuracy. Stickers are a great way to build fine motor skills and they are being exposed to the color words and the visual color-matching.
I used scotch tape to secure the tree to the wall and then put one half of Velcro dots all over the tree and stuck the other halves to the balls. I set the basket out by the tree and voila! Indoor apple picking.
Kade really enjoyed picking the apples off of his little apple tree and putting them in his basket. He also enjoyed pretending to eat them. ;) We did a lot of "Can you pick me a red/green/yellow apple from your tree?" This is a fun one to keep out for awhile. :)
I did this activity up against a window so that the light would shine through the tissue paper. You could also do it on a light table. I taped the apple printable up to the window first, then the contact paper - sticky side facing out. I peeled the paper off so that the sticky part was showing and had Kade decorate the sticky apple with the tissue paper.
Similar to how he eats food, he preferred to take a handful of the tissue paper at once as opposed to just one. ;) He loves the way the sticky contact paper feels when he touches it and also thought it was funny when the tissue paper that had fallen on the floor kept getting stuck to the bottoms of his feet.
- 1 apple
- Spice cake mix
1. Wash, peel, and cut the apple into cubes (if you have an older toddler, you can give them a plastic knife and have them "help you" with this step using hand over hand- they will feel so official getting to use a knife!)
2. Put the cubed apple into a bowl and mix in a large teaspoon of the cake mix. Set aside.
3. Mix together the rest of the cake mix with 2 cups of applesauce. I used a mixer for about 2 minutes on medium to combine well.
4. Stir in the cubed apples. Kade was thrilled to help with this step. :)
5. Pour the mixture evenly into a muffin tin. This recipe makes 12 muffins.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
Kade LOVES these. They are a great texture for him as they are super soft and moist (sorry I know some people hate that word). They are hubby-approved, too. ;)
Other apple snacks we had this week:
- Apple flavored yogurt pouches
- Apple sauce
- (Kade's personal favorite) Freeze dried cinnamon apple slices
In case you missed it, you can click the image below to download the FREE apple activity pack!
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