Did you know? October is Farm to School and Farm to Early Care month! One of the great activities that takes place in October is the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch, happening next Thursday, October 8th.
In Minnesota, we are lucky to have many great orchards, and so many delicious apples. Each year, 20 million pounds of apples are produced in Minnesota orchards. Check out https://minnesotagrown.com/apples/ to find a local orchard near you, or look for local apples in the grocery store.
Once you've got your local apple, join us to crunch and check out some of my favorite little-person-friendly apple resources below!
There are many amazing apple themed books. A couple great ones:
- Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie, by Robbin Gourley - this sweet book is a bit longer, and covers much more than just apples. But it is inspired by the live of Edna Lewis, and loved by my preschooler.
- Apple Farmer Annie, by Monica Wellington - a shorter book, good for classrooms. It has bright illustrations, and follows the apples from the orchard to the market.
- The Apple Pie Tree - Zoe Hall. Follows the seasons of the tree - it's a fun way to talk about how apples grow, and also the larger changes of the seasons (and eating with the seasons)!
Songs and Fingerplays
- Thank You by the Okee Dokee Brothers - not explicitly about apples, more about gratitude, but talks about the apple seed, tree, and apple pie. "Thank you for the branches, thank you for the breeze, thank you for the shady grove, and thanks for the apple tree".
- Five Red Apples
Adapted from a song by Apple Jean Warren
Way up high in an apple tree (put arms up)
Five red apples smiled at me.(pointer fingers to corners of mouth)
I shook that tree as hard as I could; (pretend to shake tree)
Down came the apple (wave arms down)
Mmmm, it was good! (rub stomach)
(Repeat with four apples, etc.)
- Apple tasting! This is so easy to do this time of year - buy one apple of a few different varieties, and taste a slice of each to decide which one your kids (and you) like best. You can get fancy with voting if you want, or just crunch some local apples. It's a great opportunity to talk about taste, texture, color, you name it.
- Apple exploration - if you already have the apples, try cutting them through the middle to see the star inside. If you want to extend the process, you can narrate a version of the apple star story. Cutting the apples in half this way allows you to find the seeds and talk about how apples grow.
- Virtual Farm Tours - while these are oriented to K-12, there is an Apple Orchard there is an Apple Orchard tour on October 8th, available to anyone who wants to tune in. They also have curricular activity ideas and other things to accompany each tour.
Apples are delicious raw, but as we all know, really fun to cook and bake with. Many recipes can be made in the microwave or a slow cooker, which can be easier ways to involve young children in the process depending on your context and kids' ages. Try:
- Making applesauce - you can make it in the microwave, in a slow cooker, or on the stovetop.
- For a no-cook recipe option, try a Waldorf salad - you can modify the recipe for different taste preferences
- Whole wheat apple muffins
There are so many great ways to explore and enjoy apples - what's your favorite?