One of the greatest things about living in New England is that we get to experience Fall in all its glory, and when you have children, chances are that means you will go APPLE PICKING! There are many local orchards to choose among but let’s talk about what to do with all those apples once you get them home. If you are anything like me, the thought of baking pie with two toddlers running around seems like a recipe for disaster. Still, there are fun and easy ways to use those apples with your kids so that the experience at the orchard will only be the beginning of memory making! Hopefully one of the three ideas below will seem feasible with your family.
1. The Surprise Inside and Apple Stamping: This is an activity that you can prep during naptime or with the help of an older child. You may want to lay out newspaper and you will need washable tempura paint in yellow, green and red (apple colors!) or any colors of your choosing, as well as a roll of paper or large sheet.
Lay the apple on its side so that your knife is centered between the stem and the bottom of the fruit. Slice it here at the roundest part of the apple and have your tot help you carefully remove the seeds. Point out the shape that the seeds made inside the apple. It is a star!
Next, lay the apple, star side down, on a cutting board and insert a fork into the side facing up. This is now the handle of your stamp.
Have your child dip the apple stamp in washable paint that you have previously squeezed onto a paper plate (or you can do this step and remove excess paint for better results)
On a roll of paper spread across a flat surface (I like to use the coffee table because they can stand up) have your child stamp the apple. Here is where you can be as creative as you like. Maybe show your child how to create a simple pattern or just let them pull the apple across the paper to make long streams of paint.
2. Apple Science: Using a Simple Machine and Changing from Solid to Liquid:
Tell your child that a machine is something that does work to make our life easier and that you are going to show them a machine to use with an apple. An old fashioned apple peeler is a fun, interactive tool to use together and it takes care of one of the steps involved in preparing apples for applesauce (which is so much easier to make than pie!) Let them turn the handle and watch the peel spiral off of the fruit! Slice your peeled apples (approximately ten of them) and place them in a crock pot with 1/2 cup of water. Turn on low for 8-10 hours or high for 3-4. Your house will smell amazing and your child will get to see the apples change properties from solid to almost liquid!
If you decide to purchase a peeler online, consider using Amazon smile and some of the proceeds of your purchase can go to your charity of choice, Parent Talk.
3. Spread the love: Make caramel apples and deliver them to your neighbors or family members! This is also a great activity for a play date or playgroup. The fun part of this easy and interactive recipe is getting creative with the toppings that your children can use to embellish their sweet, sticky treat. Oreos, crushed candy, sprinkles and nuts, in individual plastic bowls are just a few topping ideas. Cut a square of wax paper for each child and rub butter on the wax paper so that their apple doesn’t stick. Use a plastic fork inserted into the apple as a handle instead of a popsicle stick! Most IMPORTANT: Make sure to use previously chilled apples (stick them in the freezer if you are short on time.) This recipe calls for six apples.
Unwrap candy caramels from one 14oz. package and combine them with two tablespoons of milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for two minutes. Let melted caramel sit for a minute and then dip the apples in, making sure to turn them constantly until coated. Then roll in toppings!
About the author
Liza d’Hemecourt lives in Needham with her husband Mike and her two children, Elizabeth and Mikey (ages 2.5 and eighteen months.) She studied theater and education at Boston College. Liza taught Kindergarten and first grade prior to having children.