If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably remember the really fun activity centers I made for Becca last fall using our water table. I brought it in from our summer play on the back porch, and she really had a blast… and I was super proud of all I came up with for her to do! Fast forward a year, and lil Bro is into EVERYTHING… even things he’s not ready to do yet. So, I found a way to re-make her apple activity center into a box that can easily be packed up and kept out of reach of Grayson’s little grabby hands!
You can find boxes like this one at your local craft store in the scrapbooking section – they are 13×13 and are fabulous!!! I used scotch tape to stick the index cards on so they can easily be removed and the next seasonal activity center can go in their places.
Here are the skills that I included:
Math – apple patterning / apple adding & subtracting / measuring
Reading – a book to read and retell / a poem to read and recite
Writing – magnetic words to build / a blank book to write them in
Art – markers to make illustrations in the book and on the poem cards
Science – non-fiction book to read
Hand-Eye-Coordination/Fine Motor/Engineering – create an apple tree with popsicle sticks and buttons
Here are the direction cards, which guide play but certainly don’t limit it – she has gone way outside the box of just following these cards, though the lil OCD in her followed each card in order to some extent before moving on to do her own thing. I also included with each instruction the list of items your child will need to complete the activity. Some require prep, some don’t.
1. Write and illustrate a book about apples using the words on your magnets.
–>I got packs of 3 blank books for $1 at Target before school started! Score. You could make your own just by folding paper together and stapling. You’ll also need to write a few fall words on index cards, cut out, and stick magnet tape on the back.
2. Practice saying the poem without looking. (Recite from memory).
–>You’ll need to write the poem on index cards. I got it online – original source unknown. Here are the words:
—->card 1: Apples are so good to eat,
—->card 2: To have them is a special treat.
—->card 3: Red, green, yellow too,
—->card 4: All of them are good for you!
3. Draw pictures on the poem cards to illustrate what the words say.
–>Provide markers or crayons for illustrations
4. Make an apple pattern. / Add the apples: green apples + red apples = how many apples all together? (We extended this and did subtraction and multiplication as well – we have 2 groups of 5 apples.)
–>I got these little apples at Dollar Tree. You could easily use buttons or gems or place apple stickers on index cards and cut out. As long as there are at least red and green so that your child can make patterns, you’re good!
5. Make an apple tree with popsicle sticks and buttons. How many buttons did you use? How many are left over?
–>You’ll need a bunch of random red, green, and/or yellow buttons, and some popsicle sticks. I had green popsicle sticks, so we used those. Any color will work. You can really extend this by having your child pattern with the buttons, sort by size, add, subtract, make even groups for multiplication, etc.
6. Read the book “Apples” by Ken Robbins. Retell to a grownup.
–>Any non-fiction book about apples will work. This one fit well into the box I had. I selected a non-fiction book to add in a science aspect to the box, but you could easily do a fiction book. In my apple center last year, we had Ten Apples Up On Top and did a block activity with it. You could easily have your child use the buttons to put ten apples on top of the book characters, or some such. Use what you have, and you know your child – if your child won’t be “into” a non-fiction text, use what they will love!
7. Build the fall words on your magnet tray!
–>This activity is totally a repeat from last year’s apple center, because it’s just so fun and it’s always great to practice spelling! I didn’t want to buy a bunch of magnetic letters, so I just wrote the words on index cards, cut out the letters, and put magnet tape on the back! Super simple and cheap! And obviously, you can save them from year to year to use again! You’ll also need some sort of magnetic tray – I got this pizza pan from Dollar Tree and she uses it for all of her magnetic activities, including building sandcastles, which she loves.
8. How many cups of apple “tea” mix? Find and bury treasure!
–>Again a repeated material from last year’s apple center, I simply took a bag of green decorative fish tank rocks from Dollar Tree and added some Black Apple Tea leaves to it to make it smell like apples. We didn’t know that she has Anosmia back then… (Anosmia = no sense of smell.) To extend this activity this year, I took the rock/tea mix and put into a small container and provided her with measuring cups to measure with, and a couple of fall shaped mini cookie cutters to bury and then dig around for. She loves digging in the rocks, and will bury and find and rebury and find the cookie cutters over and over again.
This apple activity box has already brought us HOURS of fun, and I just created it this week. It’s sure to be a hit well into early October, when I plan to take them out and convert the box to a pumpkin activity for Halloween/Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy the ideas… I’d love to know how you put them to use with your kids! Please share! If you’re not following my Facebook page, please be sure to click over and “like” the page and then share your photos and ideas anytime! 🙂