It is March, spring is just around the corner, the sap is beginning to run in the trees, and I saw a blue bird the other day, but we are playing with apples. It seems very out-of-season to me, though a unit about seasons could technically be done in any season, we just happen to have a lot of apple activities to do with the one we are currently in because we are reading The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons. It’s a good thing that I got an 8 pound bag of apples the last time I went to the store because, not only do the kids love to munch them, but we have cored and painted apples, and painted with apples this week.
The first thing that we’ve done each day is check the weather, because seasons cause you to first concentrate on the weather, and here in Upstate New York, we get wild extremes between summer and winter. We are under three feet of snow right now, so really, the daily weather forecast wasn’t too interesting, the only thing that noticeable changed was the day of the week… The wind velocity did too, I guess.
In addition to the weather, we’ve also done lots of apple activities. The first one we did was a service-type project. I came up with the idea all by myself and was so proud of me! First we talked about the sphere-shape of an apple whole and the circle-shape when cut in half against the core (so half-way down from the stem). Then, I dug out the insides and to copy an activity Arnold does with his apples, I had Elizabeth paint them with food-coloring.
I also cut off some of the flesh in little designs, which she then painted in as well.
Lastly, I filled them up with bird seed, and set them out on or near the feeders for the local wildlife.
I came up with the idea for this project as a service learning activity because with it, Elizabeth would be making something for our local wildlife, as a gift that is given without getting anything back in return. The idea came to me from Arnold painting some of his apples for Halloween in the book, but I didn’t want to waste our apples completely so I kept on thinking. I combined the fact that Elizabeth is loving experimenting with food-coloring and that she has recently been interested in birds since I participated in the 2015 Great Backyard Bird Count, and tried to come up with an artistic yet serviceable project which would bring those ideas together, and this was the result. I’m proud of me for thinking it up because it does seem to me like a great idea to do just that, and it helps to give me confidence at the prospect of coming up with my own lesson plans with the Global Village School curriculum once we have finished with the Moving Beyond The Page materials.
Another apple-art project that we did this week combined a few activities of the curriculum, in which we listened to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and painted the seasons as we heard them in the music. Interestingly, when I asked Elizabeth which season the particular music was for, she answered without hesitation, and correctly every time. For this activity, I sliced an apple into four pieces and she dipped them into the paint and used them as stamps to make her painting. I also pulled out Q-tips and toothpicks to use as painting tools rather than brushes, just for something different.
Before we started, we had to mix water into the tempera paint powder of the paints that had come with the Moving Beyond The Page curriculum manipulatives because our paints were nearly gone. Elizabeth thought that this was really interesting, and believes that we ought to always purchase powdered paints from now on. Are powdered paints of a better quality? They seem a little funky to me, right now; I’m not sure I got them smooth enough, and that affects the final quality.
Well, it does feel odd to do apple activities in late winter (and is a little expensive), but with modern grocery stores, apples can be eaten any time, so lucky us! As well, any season is a fine season to study them in, not just the autumn. We have been having a good time pursing artistic past times with apples, and I suspect that we will be continuing on with our apple projects throughout next week. Have a great one!
Share your thoughts: What are some fun apple activities that you have done?