Heading to the apple orchard is totally a cute fall family tradition and opportunity for adorable photos, but it’s also a really great lesson in where our food comes from.
For the price of a peck of apples from the “apple garden” (Belle’s words), we got 30 minutes of exercise and entertainment, plus a memory that we’ll be able to discuss for the next month. (She can still point out where we had the Christmas tree last year, so I may be underestimating her memory a bit.)
For a 24-36 month old, the orchard provides the opportunity to build on a lot of developmental skills.
We can talk about:
- how apples come from trees
- how trees come from seeds
- how apple seeds are inside apples
- how bees help the apples grow
- how apples are so yummy
- how we need to wash apples and other fruits before we eat them
- the kinds of food we eat with apples
- what we want to cook or bake with the apples, or if we just want to eat it as a snack
- how lemon juice keeps apples from turning brown
- what words describe the apples (red, green, white, crunchy, cool, smooth, yummy)
We can practice the fine motor skills of:
- spreading peanut butter on slices (knife skills)
We can practice the gross motor skills of:
- juggling apples (a Papa party trick that translates to attentive reciprocal arm movements by Belle)
We can sing:
- A is for apple, ah ah apple (and use other parts of the apple/tree/day for the rest of the letters/phonemes)
- The Johnny Appleseed grace
We can work on the cognitive skills of:
- counting apples
- sorting apples by color or size
- recalling our trip
- pretend play (going to the orchard again)
We can work on the social-emotional skills of:
- labeling the emotions of the day: fun, upset on the hay wagon but happy when we sang The Wheels on the Wagon, tired after lunch, curious about the orchard, scared of the horses, etc.
And now we get to make apple pie!