Investigating Apples with Preschoolers

April 9, 2020
Nicole Lanich

Hi! I’m Nicole, teacher at WILD Child Nature Preschool and today I am sharing one of my favorite fall topics to explore with preschool-aged children. I honestly can’t think of a tastier and more engaging unit than apples in the fall! The sweet smell of cinnamon sprinkled through out our day, just makes everything that much sweeter!


At WILD Child Nature Preschool, our WILD Flower class (ages enjoyed a wide variety of sensory rich investigation stations involving apples as the season began changing from summer to fall. What is an invitation station? I’m so glad you asked! We set up stations with many open ended materials and invite students to explore and play. The amazing part is sometimes the children's play turns out completely different than the way we had intended it, and guess what? That is OK! Play can take on many forms, we try not to interrupt play and truly let their imaginations run wild.  


Below I am going to walk you through some of our favorite apple investigations that are so fun to create at school, or home!

Apple Stamping

Stamping with Apples

This a fun activity to do the same day you are taking a closer look at the insides of apples. Slice your apples in half, and provide plates of red, yellow, and green paints. Allow children to stamp anyway their little hearts desire. This art is all about the process, no need for perfect little prints.

Extension idea, if discussing patterns, you could encourage the child(ren) to stamp an apple pattern! Or start a pattern with real apples and have them continue the pattern with their paint.

Apple Patterns & Name Puzzles

Henry Name Puzzle

Cut out a simple apple shape in different colors  and work on patterns! These apple shapes are also great for creating name puzzles! Each day our friends have a morning sign in activity that helps them learn to recognize, organize, & write their names.

Apple Pie Sensory Play

A huge crowd pleaser is our Apple Pie Sensory Bin! Students loved using 4 of their senses in this fun and engaging activity. The sweet smell of cinnamon is the perfect addition that’s sure to have your little baker exploring for hours!  Grab your free printable of our recipe cards

Apple Pie Recipe Cards

Want to make your own?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Container with lid
  • Oats mixed with cinnamon spice
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Pie pans
  • Strips of tan felt
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Mini apples or Pom Poms
  • Small basket (if you wish)

Our students enjoyed using their big muscles to crank & core their own apples with this apple peeler. Talk about gross motor work! Last year we made homemade applesauce in the Instant Pot & this year they made their very own apple pies!

Mini Apple Pies

We love to incorporate cooking as much as possible with our kiddos. Reading a recipe, measuring, listening to directions, and patience are just a few amazing skills that kids are learning while cooking!  

Miss Nikki’s Mini Apple Pies Recipe:

Apple Tasting & Graphing

A super tasty extension activity! For this we gathered a variety of different apples and sliced them up for the class to taste! We chatted about describing words and asked the kiddos to describe how each variety tasted to them, we recorded those answers, it was fun to share with their parents! Next we made a graph on chart paper and polled the class on which apple was their favorite, and graphed the results!

Our favorite Apple Books

Finally, take a trip to a local apple orchard for a field trip! Pack a picnic and enjoy the grounds, have your little one help pick apples and chat about counting as you go! On the way home talk about all the yummy things you can make with the apples you just picked! Some of our favorites are apple butter, applesauce, & apple crisp!

Time To get Messy

Explore a Wild Child Day

Drop-off/Check Gear
Sign In/Free Play
Snacks And Stories
Investigation Stations
Farewell Gathering / Dismissal