The apple is a symbol of returning to school and celebrating autumn with a new teacher and new friends. When preparing apple lesson plans for preschool, decorate the room with photographs of brightly colored apples and apple trees. Add an apple border to a bulletin board and spell out the word “apple” with construction paper letters.
Begin the day by showing the preschoolers some different varieties of apples (Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Macintosh, etc.). Let each child hold and smell the apples. Talk about how apples grow and describe each type of apple by its color and size.
Story Time: Johnny Appleseed
The Story of Johnny Appleseed by Aliki is a preschool age-appropriate book that describes John Chapman's life as a pioneer who planted apple seeds throughout the American frontier. Read the story to the class and highlight the ways in which Johnny Appleseed helped people through his planting. Ask the preschoolers if they have an apple tree in their own yards. Show the children some real apple seeds that can be passed around the room.
Counting Lesson: Ten Apples Up On Top
Dr. Suess' book Ten Apples Up On Top follows the adventures of three animal friends who compete to see how many apples they can balance on their heads. As you read the story, point to the apples on the characters' heads and have the children count each apple out loud, progressively adding on one number at at time until they reach "ten".
After the story is finished, have the preschoolers draw pictures of themselves with ten apples on their heads. Ask the children to either trace or write the word "apple" beneath the picture.
Apple Bird Feeder Craft
This apple bird feeder craft is fun for preschoolers to make and place outside their homes. Teachers will need to core the apples in advance, and the apple slices can be set aside for snack time. In the event that a student is allergic to peanuts, use marshmallow spread on the apple instead of peanut butter.
- apple cores (1 per student)
- peanut butter
- paper plates
- plastic spoons
1) In preparation for this craft, teachers should slice through each apple until the core is fully exposed on all sides. Give one apple core to each preschooler, making sure that each core has a stem.
2) Hand out plastic spoons. Give each student a paper plate, and spoon some peanut butter onto the plates. Show the class how to spread peanut butter on their apple cores with the plastic spoon.
3) Pour some birdseed onto a plate, and allow the children to take turns sprinkling the seed onto their apple cores. Loop a piece of yarn around the stem of each birdfeeder for hanging.
Apple Treats for Snack Time
Offer a variety of snacks made with apples as a complement to apple lesson plans for preschool. Prepare the snacks using several types of apples, and ask the students if they notice a difference in tastes. Be sure to remove all seeds before serving.
Suggestions for apple snacks:
- apple slices dipped in peanut butter, marshmallow, vanilla yogurt, or melted chocolate
- apple butter spread on crackers
- dried apple chips (can be purchased at grocery store)
- apple tarts or apple pie slices
- apple fritters
- baked apples
- apple juice to drink
Apple lesson plans for preschool are an enjoyable and educational way to start the autumn season. Add to the fun by sending students home with small prizes such as apple stickers or green apple flavored lollipops.
Aliki. The Story of Johnny Appleseed. Aladdin, 1971.
Seuss, Dr. Ten Apples Up On Top. Beginner Books, 1961.
The ideas and activities come from the author's twenty-five years of teaching experience.