Fall Farm Sensory Tub

One of our favorite things to do in the fall is to go to the Harvest Festival at a farm down the road. Last year we took our apples and pressed them into cider, the kids jumped off bales of hay and my son even rode a horse .  He  has been looking forward to this for a few weeks and when I asked him what sort of sensory tub we should make for his sister he suggested a fall farm sensory tub. So we went to the store to choose what to put in the tub. We looked at all the items and decided on a wild rice and lentil mix and popcorn. If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen this update. It was the trip to gather these items that nearly drove me to drink at 2pm. In the end the massive spill at the store was well worth it because the sensory tub was a hit . Do not miss the tips in the tutorial about what toddlers can gain from sensory bins.

  1. Gather your materials. We used dried wild rice, unpopped popcorn, dried lentils and fake apples and fake acorns. Sometimes I have the sensory tubs ready to go all pretty and presented and sometimes I have the kids help. The day we made this someone refused to nap so she helped with every step. Fist we gathered all the animals that belong on a farm from our playroom. This is a great basic sorting lesson for kids too.
  2. Next we poured our filling in. After putting the popcorn in we took time to draw letters in the popcorn. My daughter loved it . A fun sensory based letter activity.
  3. Add the wild rice, lentils, animals, vehicles,  and farmers ( you may recognize a few characters ).
  4. Play! At first her play consisted of putting animals on the tractor and laughing saying ” Dat animal no drive!” and then replacing it with a figurine of a person. Apparently this is seriously funny to a two year old. I was cracking up at her which was nice after our major shopping meltdown.
  5. Fine motor skills were next. These little apple sauce cups were a perfect for filling and spilling and she filled them one tiny grain at a time.
  6. She counted apples and only tried to eat one . Of all these activities within the activity only one writing in the popcorn was initiated by me. That’s the awesomeness of sensory tubs!
  7. When the filling started scattering on the porch on purpose I gave her one warning that if she threw it down on purpose that I’d pack it all up. Spills from regular play are not disciplined. Still two minutes later she was done and the tub looked like this.I keep the filling in the plastic bags and them inside ziplocs ( usually double them up to avoid bugs) and the toys in a bag so we can pull it out again in a flash. We normally play with one these for a few weeks. Repetition is a great thing for kids it’s not boring so don’t feel like you need a bright shiny new thing every day.

Books

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown is one of my very favorite books to read to my daughter before bed although it took a while before she warmed up to it. I was worried because I loved reading it to my son and couldn’t wait to share it with her.  The story is simple readers see a day in the life of a big red barn and all the animals inside. Each animal is introduced in the seamless text that reads like a melodic poem. It’s  calm , soothing and Felicia Bond’s illustrations are perfect, I love how the sky subtly changes as the night beckons.  A wonderful book for anytime, but especially poignant before bed.

Fall Mixed Up by Bob Raczka is such a fun fall book for kids. Every page is filled with funny mix ups like Showing pictures of Bears gathering nuts and geese hibernating. My son loved the idea of a Thanksgiving dinner of all candy! I read this to both my kids and while my 2 year old liked the pictures and laughed a long with her 5 year old brother really she was just giggling because he was. My son however thought it was hilarious and corrected each picture as we read. The illustrations by Chad Cameron are stunning as well and a perfect accompaniment to the silly text. If this book doesn’t make you crave a pumpkin spice latte I don’t know what will. Very cute book!

The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson was as good as I expected it to be and I am a fan of the author. The story has just the right amount of rhyme, rhythm and absurdity that makes for a great picture book. Readers follow along as the farmer feeds all the animals their traditional foods except the cow, the cow loves cookies. The text is paced so well that you can’t help but read it in a sing song and the repetition lends itself to listener participation. Even on the first read your kids will be adding in ” But the cow loves cookies!” . While having fun kids will learn about farm responsibilities, what animals eat and maybe a thing or two about milk and cookies too. The illustrations by Marcellus Hall express so much emotion and have a funky vintage feel that makes the whole book a pleasure to read.

 

Alphabet Apple Tree

Alphabet For StartersLearning the alphabet comes in many forms. Our Alphabet For Starters series is all about playing with letters in a creative environment and this letter activity was a huge hit! There are lots of ways of changing it around for different levels too so don’t miss my notes after the tutorial if you want to do this with children who aren’t just starting out with letters. This may seem like a simple letter activity and it is but it’s sneaky too.  Little fingers have to peel the apples off giving their fine motor skills some serious work.

  1. Gather your materials. This picture is incomplete because I shifted my plan part way through and so glad I did, the final result was a blast! You will need some craft paper or paper bag, brown paint, paint brush, marker, scissors, contact paper, and green, yellow and red paper . A basket is not a must but if you have one grab it. alphabet for starters
  2. Start by cutting a truck from craft paper or a paper bag. I taped it down because my daughter is exuberant with paint ( you’ll see)  and this helps keep it all in one place. alphabet for starters
  3. Paint with a brush…alphabet for starters
  4. Or your hands. alphabet for starters You really don’t need to have your child(ren) help make the tree but when kids help make the activity there is a deeper connection to the learning.
  5. While that is drying and you are done washing the gallons of paint off your toddler make some apples from red and yellow paper.
  6. Add letters.alphabet for starters
  7. Once it’s dry tape the trunk to the wall . Add tape to the back of green paper and add it to the tree.
  8. Cover the top of the tree with contact paper sticky side OUT.
  9. Add the apples.
  10. Make sure that you are leaving a corner of the apple off to peel off.
  11. Basket in hand and ready to pick her apples!
  12. Go!
  13. She really had a great time and got excited to announce which apples she was picking. As always she chose the first letter of her name first followed by the mine, her brother’s and her dad’s. It’s exciting to see that she connects letters to people meanings outside of the immediate activity. As soon as we were done she bolted from the playroom full basket in hand to show her dad all her letter apples. I would have taken a shot of his but he was sorting laundry and well my literal dirty laundry has no place on the internet .

How to take it to the next step :

  • Have a chart of lowercase letters and have your child peel off the uppercase apples to match the lowercase letters.
  • Use sight words instead of letters. Call out the sight word and have your child find , peel and pop them in the basket.

Alphabet Book

“A” Was Once An Apple Pie by Edward Lear and Suse MacDonald is an adaptation of the classic Edward Lear poem that had both my children transfixed. The bold bright colors kept my daughter who is 10 months old wide eyed the whole time and the playful way Suse MacDonald adapted the text had my son listening from A-Z as well. It was incredibly fun to read allowed tongue tying me at times which resulted in us all giggling hysterically in a heap. A book that can do that is a must have in my opinion.

 

Easy Apple Crafts For Kids

apple crafts for kids
As my facebook timeline fills with pictures of little faces on their first day of school I thought it would be a good time to round up a bunch of easy apple crafts for kids. Apples aren’t just fun to craft they are also fun to use as tools for painting.  Don’t miss our round up of Books about School to help with the transition from summer to school year.

Cereal Box Apples
Simple Apple Craft For Toddlers
Apple a Letter Craft
Paper Bag Apple Treat Bags
Wormy Apple Craft
Pom Pom Apple Tree
Basket of Apples
Apple Printed Hearts
Apple Sensory Tub
Toilet Paper Roll Apple
Apple Print Wreath
Fine Motor Apples
Apple Orchard Craft
Apple Lacing Craft
Apple Sun Catcher

Cereal Box Apples Craft

apple craft

You know when you don’t have enough of one kind of cereal and you have to mix two to get a full bowl? Yesterday I had to finish off 2 and while looking at the empty boxes I knew I wanted to make them into something fun for fall.  Our apple trees are heavy with fruit and I can’t wait to do some apple printing but until then these cereal box apples are proudly displayed on our mantle.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a cereal box , some craft paper, tape, red paint ( crayon or marker), a popsicle stick, green felt, pinking shears,  a gold or brown pipe cleaner, scissors, a dish for paint and a large brush.
  2. Start by taping the box closed and wrapping it in the craft paper just like you would when wrapping a gift.
  3. Time to paint!
  4. My daughter wanted to do it too but wouldn’t hold the brush, she was all about the marker though and just wanted to stand so we improvised using a chair.
  5. While my son painted I wrapped the end of the pipe cleaner around the popsicle stick.
  6. When he was done he did the rest.  I did my daughter’s stem.
  7. Let dry.
  8. While waiting they played and I cut the leaves out of felt with pinking shears.
  9. When dry make a hole in the felt, make a hole in the box with scissors. Adults only , you need sharp scissors.
  10. Stick the stem through the hole in the leaves and into the box.
  11. All done!

Books About Apples

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.

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 afmily 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!).

Apple Farmer Annie by  Monica Wellington is another  favorite in our house. My son loves this author and I like how simple but informative this book is. Your little reader will learn about the basics of what happens at an apple orchard , but you can take it further if you want. On many of the pages there are chances to learn more, like the page about sorting and classifying, where there are apples ready to count 1-10, and sorted by colors. I love the last page that says that Annie is so happy to have her own apple farm. I loved that message and think it’s a lot more powerful than some may think, women on farms in most books are “farmer’s wives” and I love that there is no one but Annie doing her own thing.

Fine Motor Apples

by Katy

This is an extremely simple activity that helps children address two important areas of development: fine motor and sensory.

You will need a plain sheet of paper, a piece of card stock, a hole puncher, and a green crayon or marker.

Punch as many holes as you can in the card stock.

Place the card stock on top of your white sheet of paper.

Take red finger paint and guide your child to work it into each hole. Help your child isolate their pointed finger as they do this. The slippery/slimy texture of the paint is one that often poses a problem for kids with sensory issues, so don’t be surprised if they resist. Try to finish the activity, though. While we were doing the activity, Charlie, who often strongly resists finger painting, took such an interest in those little holes that he seemed to forget that he was touching his nemesis: finger paint.

Lift the card stock and wait for all your circles to dry.

Once the paint is dry, allow your child to draw green stems with the crayon/marker. Let them do it alone if they can, guide them if they are unable.

I you do have to help your child draw the stems, be sure to guide them in the most natural way possible. Show them a downward stroke even though it might feel strange depending on where you are standing while you help them.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.