I absolutely LOVE teaching about apples and all things fall. It is by far my favorite time of the year!
First we read the book Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss.
Then my TA set out these play-dough mats on our math table with some apple scented play-dough. (Unfortunately I don't have files to share, my very talented TA free handed them. You could try tracing the pictures from the book if you're artistically challenged like me!)
We encouraged the kids to make small apples with the play-dough to put on top of the characters just like in the book. This is a great fine motor activity!
This activity can be individualized to challenge students across a broad spectrum of development.
- 1-1: For students working on one to one correspondence, let students add as many apples on top as they'd like, then count them together. Pointing to each one as you count.
- Meaningful Counting*: If the student has a good handle on one to one correspondence, have them add a specific number of apples. (Roll a dice or draw a card to choose how many apples they should put on top.) Remind students to count as they add apples and stop when they get to the desired number.
- Beginning Addition*: If the student has mastered meaningful counting, this activity can be used to teach addition skills. Have the student add a certain number of apples (such as 3), then have them add more (such as 2 more), then ask how many apples there are all together.
*If you're focusing on these math skills I recommend using pom poms for apples as the play-dough has to much lag time for counting.
I used these mats for math small groups after they had already been available for free play for a few days. This way the kids had time to explore and use the mats as they wanted to. Which made them more open to following directions during math time.
Our classroom smelled sooooo good! You can find an apple scented play-dough recipe here at The Picky Apple. It's really easy to make. Instead of putting all the different spices in, I just put in apple pie spice.