It is on my bucket list to go to an apple orchard and pluck apples right from the tree. So, of course, my husband, who helps me pursue all of my dreams, planned a family trip to the apple farm. Now, I am usually the planner. I’ve planned trips to Ireland, Jamaica, California, and more. But it was nice for once just to hop in the car and not have to worry about the details. That is until we showed up to the apple farm, which is an hour and a half away, and it was closed for the day. The only thing we were able to do with the kids was to take them on a tractor ride, and I cried the whole time. To this day, we still haven’t been able to go apple-picking. Let’s hope for better luck this fall! In the meantime, I set up this awesome Apple Stand for my girls to enjoy and learn through play. Check out all the ways your kiddos can learn through play with this apple dramatic play center!
Apple Lesson plans
First things first: gotta set up your apple stand! There are three main areas: the orchard, the snack shop, and the kitchen.
To set up the orchard, I discovered a really easy way to print a large tree. When you open the PDF, just click print and select the poster button. I adjusted mine to 300% and voila! Just cut and tape it together. Want to use it again next year? Tape it to a white poster board and you are set to go! On top of the apples, I added the rough side of some Velcro dots. Red pompoms stick to these like a charm. Add the “Pick Your Own” sign and a grass mat and your orchard is ready for apple picking.
Next up is the snack shop. We used a bench with shelves to display our DIY props. Check out how we made them below. We propped up our Apple Snack Shop sign using a picture frame stand, placed plastic balls in buckets, and added the labels and signs. Ready for business!
Last, set up your kitchen area. Hanging up, we placed our instructions on how to make applesauce, apple cider, and apple pie. Below, we used labels to place the kitchen items in order so the bakers can get to work!
Apple Dramatic Play
Kids love anything they can get their hands on, and so I love making things as interactive as possible. These apple stand props are so easy to make and will bring your dramatic play center to the next level!
Save your applesauce cups because the applesauce labels included in this play set fit perfectly on top. I used clear packing tape to secure the label on one side, so the kiddos could flip it open to add their own “applesauce” straight from the kitchen.
While you work on saving those applesauce cups, don’t forget to save small plastic bottles. Just add the apple cider labels and some colored water (2 drops of yellow food coloring mixed with 1 drop of red), and you have yourself some apple cider! (Just super glue those tops on so little hands won’t be able to open them.)
Last, it’s time to make your pie crusts. First, I traced the large part of the pie tins on tan felt. Then, I cut out plain circles for the bottom of the pies and scalloped circles for the tops. To make the squares in the middle, just fold the felt in half and cut small slits one way and then the other. Ta-da! Now you have some great props to add to your apple stand!
Apple Orchard Dramatic Play
One of the roles with this apple stand is the customer, and just like me, it’s on their bucket list to pick some apples straight from the trees! The customer grabs his or her basket and heads to the orchard to pick some pompom apples. Then, they weigh the apples before heading to the snack shop to pay and pick up some delicious snacks.
Apple Stand Dramatic Play
After the customer gets to pick their very own apples, they are exhausted from working in the orchard all day. They can head to the Apple Snack Shop to pick up some delicious treats that were made fresh in the apple stand kitchen. Apples, apple cider, applesauce, or apple pie – whatever sounds good! The children can use the apple bucks to pay for their treats – perfect for incorporating number recognition and counting!
Baking in the Play Kitchen
Growing up, I loved baking. Or maybe I just loved licking the bowl. Either way, many memories were made with my mother in the kitchen. Nowadays, I love baking with my daughters, carrying on those bowl-licking traditions and making memories with them along the way.
In this apple stand kitchen, the students will love chopping pompom apples on the cutting board, rolling out the felt pie crusts, and stirring all of the ingredients in the pot. I kept it simple by just using red pompoms to make the apple pies, apple cider, and applesauce.
There are so many amazing things that happen when children are invited to cook in the kitchen, whether that be in the dramatic play center or at home with loved ones.
Although I don’t expect toddlers to follow directions to a tee, incorporating instruction sheets in the dramatic play center has many benefits.
First, it gives the opportunity for the teacher to model how to complete one step at a time so that students can imitate the behaviors. Second, learning the order of events such as baking an apple pie can lead to better comprehension when sequencing events later on. Third, having the instruction sheets hung up in the dramatic play center can also inspire more ideas for sustained dramatic play, which is what we want them to do: play!
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This apple dramatic play center was full of so many opportunities for learning through play! I hope you and your students can enjoy a day at the apple orchard, too! If there is anything you need to make this set work for your classroom, just send me an email, and I can add whatever you need. Make your classroom ridiculously awesome!