Kicking Off the Fall with Apple Picking

Well, we had beautiful midwest weather for Labor Day Weekend. Plenty of blue skies and sparkling sunshine… And a diagnosis of strep throat for me! Bummer! In the midst of my disappointment to be out of commission, I was grateful that my husband was home to help with our young children. After staying at home for two full days to rest while he took the kids to a BBQ, church service, and on a family bike ride to get ice cream, I was able to finally get up on Monday morning – Labor Day – and have the energy to join in on the family fun. (And, after several doses of my prescription antibiotics, I was also in the clear to be out and about and not worry about possibly spreading strep throat to others. Phew!)

In a rather spontaneous decision, my husband and I looked online at 6:15 AM and decided to visit a new apple orchard about one hour’s drive from the city. Although some orchards in our region are not yet ready for picking, there are a handful that opened over the weekend.

So we showered, ate, dressed and piled in the car! Our family had a blast riding the tractor-pulled train through the orchards and the “Enchanted Forest,” picking a yummy variety of apples called Zestar (very crisp with lots of sweet and a bit tart), climbing hay bales, playing in a giant Corn Bin and more. Our youngest daughter kept saying, “Apples here!” because we’ve been reading the lovely book Apples Here! by Will Hubbell over the last couple of weeks. Exploring that book together was such a fantastic way to prepare for our fun family outing and discuss what we learned about the life cycle of apples as we picked our own.

Our youngest daughter at the orchard.

Apples Here! is a terrific book to explain in simple terms what the apple tree does in each season as it prepares to bear fruit. Whether or not you end up going on your own apple-picking adventure, it is a great read for autumn.

Best Ages: pre-k – 1st grade

For Parents:

  • Visit a local apple orchard and pick your own apples or take a stroll among the trees. Discuss the life cycle of the fruit as described in the book.
  • Choose a favorite apple recipe and mix up something yummy in your kitchen with your child/ren! Take a look at Food Network’s list of 50 apple recipes for new ideas.

For Teachers:

  • Create a page divided into four quadrants. Label each one with a season. Then allow students to daw a picture of what an apple tree looks like in that season. Or use this free resource from Teachers Pay Teachers.
  • Plan a class or school trip to a local apple orchard!
  • Set up a learning center that includes items related to apples. These could include plastic apples, tin pie plates, aprons, hot pads, white plastic flower blossoms, empty apple juice or cider jugs, apple coloring pages and additional books on apples from your class or school library.