Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Book of the Day Activities: Apples and Pumpkins

The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons

  • Visit Scholastic's site for a Life Cycle activity and learn how to sprout apple seeds!
  • Serve warm apple cider with a real cinnamon stick. This is especially soothing after coming in from the playground on a brisk fall day.
  • Ordinal Numbers: Photocopy and laminate the stages of the apple tree. Have the students put them in order and help them to use the words first, second, third, etc.
  • Have an apple taste test. Allow students to try various types of apple then pick a favorite. Make a graph showing which apples were the favorites! Invite visitors to participate in the apple taste test and add to the classroom graph.
  • Way up High the Apple Tree Fingerplay:
Way up high in the apple tree,
Two little apples smiled at me.
I shook that tree as hard as I could,
Down came the apples....

Ummmmm were they good!
The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll
  • Size Ordering: Cut a series of pumpkins in various sizes. Children can put them in order from biggest to smallest or vice-versa.
  • Look online for video or photographs of Biggest Pumpkin Contests.
  • Get a few pumpkins for the class and weigh them. Make a Slide Share story of the project to share with parents.
  • Seed Counting: At the math table provide children with small cups that have a number written on each one (1 through 5 or 1 through 10 depending on the ability of your children). Give them a bag of pumpkin seeds collected from a pumpkin (rinsed and dried). Children can place the correct number of seeds into each cup.

The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
  • Apple Prints: cut an apple in half and let children dip them in paint (red, green, yellow) and make prints on paper. Note: before doing this activity you may want to evaluate your own philosophy and feelings on using food for art activities. Some programs and teachers believe that food should not be wasted and should only be used for eating.
  • Make an easy Apple Pie. There are many child-friendly recipes online like this one.
  • Read the Apple Star Story. There are many versions online. As you read the story aloud be prepared to have an apple to cut in half (width-wise). The seeds will make a star pattern! You might want to practice before trying this one with children.
  • Apple List: Cut a piece of chart paper into the shape of an apple. Ask the children to name all of the things made with apples. Write their responses on chart paper (apple pie, applesauce, apple juice, apple butter, apple cider, etc..)

Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

  • Have the children predict what they will find inside of a pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin open and allow children to explore the inside.
  • Roast the pumpkin seeds!
  • Fruit or Vegetable: Ask children if they think a pumpkin is a fruit or a vegetable. Then, learn what actually makes it a fruit (namely, having seeds inside). Read It's a Fruit, It's a Vegetable, It's a Pumpkin by Allan Flower.
  • Paper Bag Pumpkins: Have the children stuff a paper lunch bag with newspaper and, with adult help, tie it at the top with green or brown yarn. Have children paint the bag with orange paint and paint the "stem" (the top part that is tied) green or brown. The next day, after the paint had dried, the children can use black paint to paint a face on their pumpkin.
Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson

  • Make flannel board pieces of the stages of a pumpkin and allow children to put them in order.
  • Talk about other "Garden Circles" like apples.
  • Watch the video of Pumpkin Circle. Available in VHS from Amazon.
  • Pumpkin Collage: Give each child a pumpkin cut out. Then give them a variety of orange, and brown tissue paper squares (previously cut out by the teacher). Children use a paint brush and watered down glue to put the tissue paper onto the pumpkin (using the brown paper for the stems). OPTION: Give the children large pages of tissue paper and let them tear it before gluing. The tearing of the paper adds extra fine motor practice and also gives the collage a different look. Brush the pumpkin with a thin layer of glue and allow to dry.
Picking Apples and Pumpkins by Amy and Richard Hutchings
  • Make applesauce. Here is an easy recipe from Mr. Rogers and PBS Kids
  • Compare apples and pumpkins using a Venn Diagram. Here is one classroom example.
  • Use yarn to measure how big around the apples and pumpkins are. Compare the sizes. Use a scale to record the weights as well.
  • Practice the difference between the A sound and P sound. Give children a basket of small toys/items that begin with A and P. Allow them to sort the items by the correct letter.

It's Pumpkin Time! by Zoe Hall

  • Plant pumpkin seeds.
  • As a class, write a story about pumpkins and have the class illustrate it. Scan the illustrations and make a PowerPoint or Slide Share presentation that students can watch at home with their families!
  • Make blank books by cutting paper into the shape of pumpkins. Staple a few pages together and place the blank books in your writing area to encourage children to write or illustrate stories.
  • Five Little Pumpkin Fingerplay:
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate,
The first one said, "Oh my it's getting late."

The second one said, "There's a chill in the air."
The third one said, "Well we don't care."
The fourth one said, "Let's run and run and run."
The fifth one said, "We'll have a lot of fun."
Then "wooooooooo" went the wind,
And out went the lights,
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

More Pumpkin Books from Scholastic!

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