As we peel into our apple math activities, I figured I would share some interesting apple facts involving numbers. There are 7,500 varieties of apples grown worldwide, and 2,500 of those types are grown in the United States. It takes about 2 pounds of apples to make an apple pie, and that’s about how much weight I gain every time I look at pie. Ugh! The largest apple picked weighed more than 3 pounds! Also, most trees take 4-5 years to start producing apples. While all of these facts are interesting to hear about, I know our main objective here is to help toddlers gain a grasp on numbers. That is why this week our apple math activities focus on building that number sense through counting, measuring, and comparing. Check out these hands-on math activities for your little learners!
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Apple Lesson plans
Gross Motor Letter Identification Game
I vividly remember watching The Price is Right summer mornings at 11 am when I was younger. I know it’s not what you think a typical kid would watch, but we didn’t have cable and I absolutely loved numbers (and still do). Now, there are certain games that I hoped would pop up whenever I watched: Pathfinder, One Away, and Plinko! The sheer excitement pulsed through the studio audience and through me!
Because of the excitement I experienced watching games on The Price is Right, I wanted to bring a sense of that same exhilaration to this next activity. Apple Drop was inspired by the game of Plinko, in which the contestants had to drop chips down a board with offset rows of pegs to try and win some cash! Now, our toddlers won’t be winning any cash (or a car, bummer), but they will be winning the skills of number recognition, counting, and color identification with this exciting activity.
To play, draw a card and drop the number of ping pong ball apples down the tree trunk tube. I just cut the trunks off of the apple trees and taped them on the front of a toilet paper roll. I set a tub below to catch the dropping apples. The balls recycle through, making the number of ping pong balls needed for this activity a lot lower. The kids sure did have an exhilarating time with this one! Maybe inspire future Price is Right contestants?!?
Apple Crisp Pie
Counting Sensory Bin
There’s nothing that says fall more than some pie. While my specialty is peanut butter pie, my sister sure makes a delicious apple pie topped with a made-from-scratch lattice crust. In this case, we used oats as our base so we made apple crisp pie. Yummy!
To create this inviting activity, I placed oats in a sensory bin with a dash of cinnamon for that added sensory experience. There’s nothing like the smell of cinnamon. We used red and green pompoms as our apples, placing them in buckets for a straight-from-the-farm feel. Just add pie tins, felt pie crusts, sticks, or even better, cinnamon sticks and this apple pie making experience is ready to go!
My little ones made pies for the entire family and pretended to put them in the oven. Each of us was served our very own apple crisp pie. I love how this activity encourages imaginative play, and, coupled with the sensory experience, makes the perfect math activity.
Non-Standard Measurement Activity
My parents had two crabapple trees in their yard when I was growing up. My siblings, our neighborhood friends, and I spent countless hours climbing these trees. They are literally the best trees for climbing, hands down.
In all of our hours spent in these trees, we would get hungry and snack on crabapples. I am honestly not sure why. They are sour and disgusting. I guess we just didn’t want to leave our forts and secret spots hidden in the trees. I remember having to look carefully before every bite to watch out for worms! Luckily, I never ate a worm, but my sister, uh, not so lucky.
This next activity reminds me of all of those summers in the crabapple trees watching out for worms. First, draw a numbered card. Then, slide the worm out of the apple until the matching number is showing. Finally, roll out a play dough worm to match the length of the worm ruler. We even played War with this activity to add in comparing numbers! Anytime you can make it a game, the engagement increases!
Apples Up on Top
Counting & Comparing
My sister and I used to stay up late playing cards on the bedroom floor. The TV show “Friends” would be playing in the background as we attempted to annihilate one another at Speed, Rummy, Kings in the Corner, and War. Such a great way to pass the time and such an amazing way to build mathematical skills and reasoning.
Because card games help build so many skills, we played a game of War after we read Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss. Just like in the book, the dog, the lion, and the tiger compete to stack apples on top of their heads. We stacked tiddlywinks on top to match the number on each card. The player with the most apples up on top won the cards for that round.
Luckily for us, we didn’t have an angry Mama Bear chasing after us while we played this game. Build the skills and engagement with this hands-on math game!
Johnny Appleseed Game
Cooperative Numbers Game
As we’ve explored this apple theme, we’ve learned more about the life cycle of an apple and how Johnny Appleseed planted apple trees and seeds across the country. Before I knew it, my daughter was running outside to check on something over and over again. Curious, I asked her what she was doing. Apparently, she planted apple seeds from her apple outside and was checking on them to see if they sprouted. So cute!
As our math activity for the day, we played a Johnny Appleseed cooperative game. The object of the game is to plant an apple seed on every colored square before Johnny lies down to take a nap (before turning over all of the pieces to the puzzle).
On your turn, flip over a card and move the number of spaces indicated in any direction except diagonally, trying to land on the color that matches the color on your card. If you land on the matching color, plant a seed on that space. Work as a team to plant all of the seeds.
There are so many skills going on here: counting, number identification, logic, puzzles, and teamwork! Great game to play with the teacher!
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I hope you enjoy implementing some (or all) of these apple math activities with your students! If you need anything to make these activities work for you and your students, please contact me here, and I’d be happy to help with whatever you need!