Fall Apple Adventures with Kids
Our latest Fall adventure took us on a drive into the country for some crisp, juicy apples. The branches on the trees around us hang low with the weight of apples which makes them perfect for little hands to pick. The faces of my twins are scrunched in concentration as they tug on the apples with two hands to pull them off the tree. When the apple is separated they jump in surprise and then a huge smile fills their face. This is my favorite Fall tradition.
Watching my kids run up and down the orchard, bite into crisp apples, and smile as we bump up and down on the hayride back to the barn I feel certain that this is play.
I am 9 months into this PLAY every day project and sharing our PLAY calendars every month and it is more clear to me than ever that the word "PLAY" has a broad definition. To me it has come to mean any freely chosen activity that is enjoyable. The definition below that I found on google is simple. Romping in an apple orchard fits these definitions.
Despite the fact that our kids are learning about where apples come from and we will certainly be using these apples for some eating and other cooking pursuits, our adventure into the country doesn't quite qualify as serious or practice. It is just good family fun.
1. Dress for the weather. Fall is a tricky season and temperatures can vary wildly. Check the weather before you head out and consider bringing an extra layer.
2. Consider your child's age + adjust expectations. We've gone apple picking every year with our kids. When they were tiny they just bobbed along in the Baby Bjorn. The next year they helped pull some off the tree and did their fair amount of snacking. It isn't until this year that I think they will actually be helpful at filling up a bag of apples.
3. Give some simple instructions. Whenever we go pick our own anything, we do a little bit of instruction on what they are looking for to know that fruit is ripe. Raspberries should be red. Strawberries should be bright red. Blueberries should be blue. It seems obvious until you come home with a pint of green blueberries. Show your child an example of a ripe apple and also one that is moldy or over-ripe to give them an idea. It is also a good idea to tell them only to pick and eat things that are still on the tree.
4. Pack some water. Sticky apples seem to make us all a little thirsty, so pack a couple water bottles.
5. Be prepared for portapotties. All that water is great, but scope out where the bathrooms are and be prepared for it to be more the out house variety on a farm. If your child is in diapers, perfect your standing change technique or bring something to lay them on in the grass for a change.
6. Bring cash. You can check online beforehand, but many farms only accept cash.
The gleeful response to picking an apple. The joy on their faces as they run between the trees. The syrupy juice the apples leave on their sticky cheeks and fingers for the afternoon. This is joyful family play.
As a bonus, like most play a trip to the farm is also a fantastic learning experience. Through a trip to the apple farm, kids are:
*Learning new vocabulary
*Developing gross motor and fine motor skills as they navigate the bumpy terrain and pick their own apples
*Learning first hand where apples come from
Fall offers many opportunities for this kind of fun learning through adventure and play.
1. Go to the Farmers' Market and find a variety of fresh apples.
2. Visit a Cider Mill to see how Apple Cider is made.
3. Head to the Grocery Story (or market) with a Produce Passport in hand. My kids just started theirs from What's Cooking with Kids and it has made our grocery store trips more fun.
As a bonus to subscribers, I send out a printable list of PLAY every day Ideas every month! Simple ways to engage your child in play every day of the month. These ideas will;
*Be low prep
*Involve very few materials
*Have a short time commitment
*Address all areas of development
*Primarily be geared towards 2-5 year olds
*Carve out a little bit of time every day to play
If you already subscribe to the Newsletter, your PLAY every day calendar of ideas for September should be in your inbox.
If NOT, Subscribe to the Bambini Newsletter so you don't miss out!
comments powered by Disqus