I don’t know about where you are, but around here the weather changed and cooled down a lot. When the weather changes, I immediately think of fall. I love fall! It’s a nice break from the hot weather, it’s time for cozy warm clothes, and time for the beautiful changes to occur.
I especially love the fun you can have in fall. You can go explore outside and go on nature walks. You can go to the pumpkin patch to pick that perfect pumpkin. You can go to the apple orchard to pick ripe apples during harvest.
To get my son excited for fall, I wanted to teach him about apples before our visit to the apple orchard. He is starting his last year of preschool and absolutely loves to learn! When I asked him if he wanted to learn about apples, his response was “Mommy, I know about apples already!” I told him we would investigate apples and learn new things about them.
To set up for our apple exploration, I bought 4 different kinds of apples from the market. I chose whatever was available at the time (gala, spartan, granny smith, and red delicious). You could choose the varieties that you wish.
I created a Preschool Apple Exploration printable that would help us record the information we found during our exploration. You can grab these for FREE later in this post!
I picked up some thematic books about apples from our library. I wanted to choose a variety of books, including a few non-fiction with illustrations and some with photos. I also found a few stories about apples as well.
We started our exploration by reading our fall books together. We read about where apples come from and how they grow on apple trees. We discovered that there are many different types of apples that grow on different trees and that look different. We discussed that apples have different parts and that they can be used in many ways for different things.
I feel it is beneficial to read books at the start of any unit to pre-load children with the information they will need to feel successful and ready to learn during future lessons and activities. There was a lot of learning going on and we hadn’t even started our hands-on exploration yet!
We started our apple exploration with using our 5 senses to learn about apples. This was the perfect opportunity to teach my son about his 5 senses, what they are, and how he can use them to taste, feel, smell, hear, and look at apples.
We started with looking at an apple and I helped prompt my son to use the words he knows, as well as new vocabulary to describe the apple. We tasted the apple and listened to the sound it made when we took bites. We listened to the “crunching” and “chomping” sounds it made. We smelled the inside, flesh of the apple and felt the wet inside. The apple smelled sweet!
The next part was tricky, but it was a great learning opportunity. I had my son hold the apple and compare its size with other objects. I had him complete the sentence “My apple is as small as ____” to which he responded with other small items. I helped him think of objects that are relative in size to the apple, such as his ball or an orange.
I used the next part, “My apples is as heavy as ___” to teach him about weight. He said he thought the apple was “so heavy” so we talked about other things that are not very big, but are heavy to hold, such as books or onions.
We cut an apple open to discuss its parts. Even though we have eaten a ton of apples before, we hadn’t talked about what was inside before. Not surprisingly, my son knew that there were seeds and a stem. I pointed out the core, flesh, and skin of the apple.
We talked about how apple trees grow from apple seeds. We used a labelled diagram anchor chart with the words for reference. If you are interested in a fall non-fiction ELA and science unit that includes apples, click HERE.
For our simple science, I asked my son to make a hypothesis as to whether he thought an apple would sink or float in water. He took no time at all to respond with, “It will sink. It is heavy!”
He was surprised when we put the apple in and it floated! I told him it was because there is air inside the apple at its core and that makes it less dense then water. Thus, making it float!
The apple taste test was the part my son was anticipating the most. He wanted to eat ALL the apples! We started by examining each apple and put them in order by size on the table. Apple #1 was a granny smith apple, apple #2 was a spartan apple, apple #3 was a gala apple, and apple #4 was a red delicious apple.
First, he looked and felt the skin on the apples. He used crayons to colour in the apples on the printable to match. I was surprised when he noticed that some apples are a mix of two or more colours. He even noticed some small brown bruises.
He tasted each apple and I helped him come up with words to describe how they taste. We used words like sweet and sour, crisp and tart, and juicy and bitter. I recorded his ideas next to the coloured apples. This was a great lesson in vocabulary!
After tasting each apple, I asked him which was his favourite and his response surprised me. He chose a Granny Smith apple which was sour and tart, but one we hadn’t tried together before. I was excited that we found a new healthy snack!
My son loves art so when I told him the paint was coming out, he was very excited! I wanted to show him that apples could be used to make art as well with apple stamping.
I cut 3 different apples in half and placed them on a plate with red, green, and yellow (apple colours) sparkle paint on a plate. We started with red and he made 3 apple stamps on his large apple shape cut-out. Next we used green paint and then yellow.
He did a great job of spacing out the apple stamps. I remarked to him that he made a pattern of red and green stamps!
It was a little bit tricky to hold the apples. I found the greatest trick after the fact to put forks in the backs of the apples so that it makes a handle. I will be doing this next time!
FREE Apple Exploration Activity Pack
If you would like to grab the Preschool Apple Exploration pack for FREE, click the image below. This pack includes the 2 page exploration activity used in this post (in colour and black & white), as well as the headers for creating displays.
Looking for some informative apple books that are perfect for your apple exploration?
Check these ones out on Amazon!
Check out more great fall titles in this post!
Check out my Pinterest board with tons of great apple and pumpkin ideas for children!