Sunday, September 22, 2013

Apples, apples, everywhere!

Our first "unit" this year was apples.  For now, I have three early fall units planned, each lasting three weeks.  Each unit consists of one verse and story for the whole unit; three theme related activities for each week - a painting activity, a coloring activity, and a craft activity; a few recipes; and one or two larger outings.  It gives some guidance and rhythm to our time at home and I enjoy having at least three purposeful activities each week.

Our verse to go along with the apple unit.  It is the first few lines of the September poem in "Around the Year" by Elsa Beskow.
"Dear apple, on your branch,
Please fall off into my hat.
For if I pick you off the tree,
They'll not be pleased with that!"  

Our first craft was making a burlap apple print banner.  The kids stamped the apples and after the paint dried I sewed them onto a ribbon. 
 
The finished banner, hung above the kitchen table.

I made a small, simple sensory bin for the kids with green split peas and small wood balls I painted red with water colors.

It's a great activity for them when we need to bring the energy/crazy level back down.
 
For another painting/craft, I cut out the shapes needed to assemble apple trees from corrugated cardboard (with one side removed, to expose the texture within).  The kids used water colors to paint them.  We did this on a Monday, which is our painting day.  On Thursday (our crafting day), after the cardboard pieces were dry, they glued blue squares of tissue paper to white paper to create a "sky" and glued the cardboard pieces in place to create an apple tree. 

This was one of the first projects that Töchterchen became extremely wrapped up in.  She was so focused and content working - while Mannchen ran around the yard playing with the dog.  It was a complete roll reversal, but one example of several in the past weeks where I have started to see a real development in her attentiveness to tasks.
 
Her finished product!  I also somewhat followed this tutorial by my sweet friend Nicole to make a few knitted apples for our nature table.

Another painting day we made this apple tree with red stamped apples and green thumbprints for leaves.  I painted the trunk ahead of time to simplify the activity.
 
 
We were unable to find a close apple orchard, which I had planned as our "major" outing.  Thankfully, my mom and the kids discovered an apple tree at a vacant house in her neighborhood!  The kids picked lots of apples with her one day and helped make apple sauce.  Another day, we went back and picked more and made apple bread.  Yum!
 
We had so much fun learning about apples and the kids can't wait to visit the apple tree again.  Our next unit is on fall leaves.  I can't wait to share more about this unit with you soon!