We made this apple wreath weeks ago but wanted to wait until people were settled in the school year and the leaves turned a little more before posting. Originally I planned this as a garland ( which is why there is no paper plate in the materials picture) but decided that a wreath would be nicer and my son could do more of the steps with me if it was a wreath. So grab an apple, some paint and make this fall decoration for your house today.
- Gather your materials. You will need an apple, a plate, some red and green paint, knife, craft paper , painters tape, scissors, glue and a paper plate.
- Before inviting your child to come paint cut a large piece of craft paper off a roll ( find them for cheap at walmart – in the office supply section) and tape it to your work surface with painters tape.
- Pour some red paint into the plate.
- Cut your apple lengthwise.
- Start printing! If you have never done this with your child show them how to make a print by stamping and removing. If they just want to smear it that is fine too – you can just cut the smears into apple shapes if you want to make the wreath or just let them explore. My son did a little of both.
- Next dip your child’s thumb or finger into the green paint to make stems.
- Let dry.
- Cut the apples out.
- Cut the middle of the paper plate out.
- Add glue to the ring of plate. Did you notice the new PJs? It’s the next day, when the apples dried my son was not interested in finishing the craft, so we waited until the next day. Don’t force them to finish ( I am preaching to myself here too ) keep it casual and fun.
- Add the apples!
I have more than a few apple picking field trips under my belt and you can too with this website that lists a wide range of pick your own farms in the US and around the globe.
When my son read this book we started learning about apple orchards and the idea for this craft was born. My son is much more into digging in our backyard and building with legos than art these days but I knew I could entice him to create if it involved food coloring and medicine droppers… and I was right! He even asked his dad to take it to work and put it up in his office he was so proud of it. There are a lot of steps for little guys in this craft but you can omit some easily and still make a fun apple tree!
- Gather your materials. You will need coffee filters, red and green food coloring, 2 eye or medicine droppers, ice cube tray, construction paper, markers, scissors, glue and popsicle sticks. You may also want to use a cutting board and some paper towels under the coffee filters to protect your work surface.
- Start by handing your child the construction paper and markers – have them draw the orchard , but make sure they know you will be gluing trees on top. We don’t want any meltdowns over covering their picture.
- Next layer the paper towels under the coffee filters.
- Pour the food coloring into your tray – I watered down the green but not the red.
- Start with the green food coloring on the coffee filters.
- Next add red. Let dry.
- While they are drying ( doesn’t take long in the sun!) have your child color the popsicle sticks with the brown marker. This is great fine motor skills practice! My son decided to make a single line on each …one of which continued onto my table. Remember to use washable markers and a wet cloth nearby always keeps blood pressure low !
- Glue the sticks onto the construction paper.
- Cut the filters into tree tops.
- Glue on and let dry.
More Apple Books
Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson was not what I was expecting , it was so much more. I was expecting a basic book about picking apples at an orchard. This book is anything but basic, it’s dreamy and while reading it I almost felt as thought I was back in time when a whole community would come to a stand still for something like apple picking. The protagonist is Anna a little girl who works hard in the orchard along side her parents and grandparents . She isn’t as fast as her parents, but with hard work and the support of her family she reaches her goal and fills a bin! I loved this book, I would suggest it for preschoolers and up.
The Apple Pie That Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson had me tricked into thinking that it was a new edition of an old book. The retro look to the illustrations hooked me and I was shocked to see it was only published 2 years ago. The reader is taken through all the elements that go into making a pie, not the recipe though. The story works backwards from pie to the apples, the tree, the roots and more . The message is one of interconnectedness and makes me feel equally important and small all at the same time. I think it’s useful to teach how everything in nature is dependent on other elements and can’t work alone. My son enjoyed the illustrations of the sun with a face and the little girl helping her father at every step.
I warned you I am crazy about apples right now, I can’t help it as more kids head back-to-school apples jump to my mind ! This week won’t all be apple themed here but over at my FamilyEducation.com blog it is. So if you are looking for more ideas check it out! This craft is awesome because it requires almost no supplies, and it’s safe to assume most of us have paper rolls around the house. Oh and it’s so cute! These could also be used for cute apple napkin rings, a useful craft.
- Gather your materials. You will need a toilet paper roll, red and green paint, a sponge paint brush ( any brush or even fingers will work but sponges work best!), scissors and glue.
- Start by cutting your roll into rings, you can make think or thin.
- Cut 1 or 2 into strips ( these will be made into the leaves).
- Paint the rings red, inside and out. Let dry.
- Paint the strips green. Let dry.
- When the paint is dry cut the strips into leaf shapes.
- Bend the bottom.
- Add glue
- Stick it on the red ring!
The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall is a cute look at a year in the life of an apple tree from the perspective of a little girl. From the bare branches of Winter to the pretty flowers in Spring we follow along not only with the tree but with a family of robins as they develop along with the fruit. The illustrations by Shari Halpern are so expressive that a child could easily read the pictures and enjoy this book independently even if they aren’t reading yet. I dare you to read this and not consider making apple pie after, if you need a recipe there is one at the end of the book!
Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace will not be returned to the library on time. We got it out today and my son has had me read it to him 3 times, and his dad read it twice. Clearly it gets the 3 year old seal of approval. It also gets mine. The story is more than just a story about a family going apple picking at an orchard. It explains all sorts of apple facts but what I really love is that it also explains that there are different kinds of apples and each are used for different things. Since each member of the family is using their apples for different purposes that fact is driven home . Great book for preschoolers going on a apple picking field trip , making applesauce or apple prints ( psst check back for a craft in a few days!).
One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert is stunning. I really enjoy this author but most of my praise for this book lands squarely on the illustrator Karla Gudeon’s shoulders. WOW. I just adore the look, and creativity of this book. The story follows the cycle of one apple from orchard, to market back to seed, tree and back into the hands of a child. I enjoy books like this that simply explain the cycles of the natural world to young kids , but you can’t miss this one. As I turned each page I gasped, it’s one of those books you just need to sit and look at because each time you do you find some little detail you missed before.
This apple craft can be done two ways, lacing it for older more dexterous children and simply using a stapler for younger kids and toddlers. Either way there is something I just love about apples made from brown craft paper or my low cost alternative – grocery bags!
- Gather your materials. You will need a brown grocery bag or craft paper, newspaper, hole punch ( or stapler if you aren’t doing the lacing), ribbon, red, brown and green paint, scissors and paint brush.
- Start by drawing an apple on the paper.
- Cut out 2 apples ( back and front).
- While the paint dries crumple up your newspaper.
- When dry punch holes in the apple ( make sure you punch them in the same spot on both front and back).
- Tie your ribbon on. You can also use a button to act as a stopper.
- Start lacing.
- Stuff with your newspaper.
- Finish lacing.
Back to School Books !
Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson did not live up to my expectations. It was written in 1999 but the information seems out dated, the little mouse in the story is entering kindergarten but is still unsure of his ABCs and could only count to 10. I know this seems like a minute detail but it bugs me because most kids entering kindergarten are well aware of the alphabet and can count past 10 with ease. I felt like it covered the basics about what a child can expect but it doesn’t go into any depth and I doubt it would ease any anxiety or fulfill any honest curiosity. I hate giving bad reviews but I just don’t like this book.
Miss Mingo and the First Day of School by Jamie Harper is a delightful book. Miss Mingo is a flamingo and teacher who wants to know about her students on the first day of school. She starts the exercise by sharing some fun facts about being a flamingo , like why she is pink, and before you know it the whole class of different animals are sharing. This book not only shows kids that it’s okay to share about themselves but it is full of fun facts about animals in the fine print. I learned something I never knew about a Narwhal! It is a bit long for a toddler but each page highlights new animals and it’s easy to skip a few for those that aren’t ready for a book of this length. This is going on my buy list!
The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite . Chester is a raccoon who like most of us doesn’t like change. In his case it’s starting school. He wants to stay home with his mama and play with the friends he already has instead of going to school away from her and his friends. So his mama explains to him the magic of the kissing hand . The real magic is the message that we have to do things that scare us sometimes but that the love of our family is always with us to help us through. Go get this book.