Cooking with kids can happen at any season and here is a kindergarten readiness fun and learning activity especially for fall time: making applesauce. Applesauce is a favorite for kids’ snacks but it doesn’t just come in packages, it’s easy to make at home.
To make applesauce, cut 2 or 3 apples into smaller pieces, apples can be peeled or not. Using an apple cutter that looks like a wheel with spokes, it was easy to make sections. The cutter makes a sort of flower. Little hands can cut up these sections into smaller pieces using a plastic picnic knife. Put the pieces in a bowl and sprinkle in a few shakes of cinnamon. Depending on the sweetness of the apples, sugar may or may not be needed. A squirt of maple syrup or honey can also be used. Watch when happens to the color, depending on what is used as sweetener. Add a small amount of water to the pan or dish.
Heating up the applesauce to make it soft and warm can be done in a variety of ways. I have tried it in a pot on the stove, in an electric frying pan, in a measuring cup in the microwave, and in the slow cooker. Cook the apples until soft and stir. This takes only a few minutes, unless using a slow cooker. More water might be needed. After a taste test, if the apples are sour, a bit more sugar or sweetener can be added. Let the applesauce cool before eating.
Lots of learning happens when kids are involved too. How heat changes food is a science concept. Cooking is definitely a sensory experience, with touch, taste, smell, seeing and even hearing. Kids get to practice such actions as measuring, stirring, slicing, doing steps in a particular order, observing, and following directions. Language can almost be included as another ingredient, with new words and ways of talking. Waiting for something to be ready takes patience. There’s cooperation as well as learning about safety. Clean-up is an important part of cooking, just like sharing is part of enjoying. Can you taste the sweet flavor of fun and learning?
Supporting your child to develop kindergarten readiness does not mean you need to turn the house into a preschool. There are many learning and play activities that you can do at home. This science experiment is simple, uses ordinary materials, and is kid-tested for fun.
Use some water in a bowl or sink. The water needs to be as deep as an apple. Talk with your child about seeing if the apple will float or sink. Encourage your child to guess what it will do. (This is the step of making an hypothesis.) Next, let your child put the apple in the water to see if it will float or sink, (testing the hypothesis). What happened to the apple? Your child can try putting the apple in the water with the stem end pointing down, or sideways. Does the same thing happen?
If your child seems interested, offer a banana or orange to try. Encourage predicting what each piece of fruit will do. Kids often become very enthusiastic and want to try other fruits and veggies, like a grape or potato. The results will likely surprise you. This is also a fun activity to do when washing fruits and veggies for snacks or meals. While this was simple, some involved learning was taking place. Kids practice predicting, verifying, and making conclusions. As kids get excited and want to try on their own, there’s no doubt it’s fun. What did the apple do at your house?
Knock, knock. Who’s there?
Apple. Apple who?
Knock, knock. Who’s there?
Apple. Apple who?
Knock, knock. Who’s there?
Orange. Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn’t say apple!
Kids love knock, knock jokes and they also love stories. Many books for this age level contain both fantasy and dialogue. For this last apple activity before going on to fall, set an orange and an apple on the table and let them be the main characters in a told-outloud story. To start, the adult may need to be the voices for both. Here’s a get-started dialogue: “Hello, Apple.” “Hello, Orange.” “The most exciting adventure happened to me, today.” “Ooh, tell me about it.” “It all started when I rolled off the table and into a bag of books!” Continue on with details of the adventure. Your child can pretend to be one or both of the characters.
Fun? Yes. Learning? Yes, yes! Making up stories encourages using and manipulating language, creating meaning with dialogue, exercising the imagination and more. It prepares the brain connections needed for reading. to extend the activity, you may even write out the story and let your little one ‘read’ it to the family. Video it and send it to grandparents. What other adventures are lurking in your kitchen?
Higher level thinking and problem-solving skills, which are all part of helping your child get ready for kindergarten, can be developed at home, in the kitchen, with whatever is available. In this case, it’s some fruits and veggies used in a patterning activity. Patterning is an important skill for math, language and learning to read. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Apples Fine #9
Making applesauce (from the apples in yesterday’s blog) is a another terrific science activity. Of course, it’s a great cooking activity, too, but also helps kids practice organizing information and forming a conclusion. Children do this all the time. Remember, how many times they loved pushing over a tower of blocks? But this thinking skill is something that gets easier with practice. Just … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Apples #Ate
The Apple is the Star of the Show for activity #7. Cutting an apple in half from top to bottom shows the long view of the core and the seeds. Have you ever discovered the star inside an apple when you cut it across the middle horizontally? It has 5 seed-holding points. Kids love discovering … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Apple Stars
For our apple activity #6 that’s helping kids prepare for kindergarten, slice a yellow, green and red apple. Let family members or a group of kids taste each of the 3 colors. Ask each person to decide on a favorite. How many people like each color? What color is the most popular choice? Is that … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Taste a Color
There are some terrific children’s stories and books about apples or with apples in them. Eating the Alphabet and A is for Apple are yummy examples. The Very Hungry Catepillar munches an apple, too. I’d love to pick a few from The Apple Pie Tree. Dr. Seuss has 10 Apples Up On Top. One Upon A … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Once Upon an Apple #5
Apple activity #4 is a science experiment. Will an apple float or sink? Use a clear, transparent bowl of water or just run some cool water in the sink. First, talk about (predict) if the apple will float or if it will sink. Next, test your guess (hypothesis) by putting the apple in the water. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness- Apple Float or Sink?
Why was the apple tree sad? Because it was always getting picked on! It was always getting picked on because apples are so good. Ask your child what are all the things that we can do with apples? Jot these ideas down on a list. Other members of the family may have more ideas to add … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Picking Apples