Have fun with apples - here are some activity ideas for you to try with your little ones...
Apple prints - Start by covering the table and putting out different coloured paints in shallow dishes. Cut two apples in half; one vertically so you get the core and seed shape. The other horizontally so you get the seeds in a star shape. Dip each paint brush into the paint and cover the apple. Carefully press each print onto card. Paint on a stalk or some more seeds, when its dry, to finish it. Think of someone you appreciate or care about to send the card to them as a surprise. Talk about how nice it is to send other people notes of thanks. This is a great way to show the little ones how to appreciate others.
Hand-print apple tree - Take some brown paint and cover hands with it to make a great tree trunk! Press onto some card or paper. Take an apple and cut it in half then paint on green paint. Do lots of apple prints to make leaves for the tree! Use a finger dipped in red paint to add apples to the tree. Talk about apple seeds growing into little saplings, then growing into big trees and producing apples on them.
Apples and counting - Take an apple and cut it into slices. How many slices can you count together. Then pick out all the seeds. How many are there to start with? What about if you take one away or add a few more? Eat some of the slices and how many are left? Do lots of counting activities and see how good even the smallest toddler can be at counting with a bit of help.
Number recognition - Draw some apples - about ten of them - and colour them in in red, yellow and green. Write the numbers 1 to 10 on some paper and cut them out. Place a number in front of a couple of plates and ask your little one to count out the right number of apples into each place. So, if the number 2 is written they must count out 2 apples.
Colour sorting - Take 3 envelopes and draw an apple on the front of each one. Colour one red, one yellow and one green. See if your child can sort all the apples you coloured in the above activity and put them in the right envelope. Help them to start with, and then see if they can do it alone without you looking. Try it with some other things too.
Healthy eating - Show your little ones how lovely apples can be to eat too! They are great for printing, and counting and craft but best of all they taste great!
Go on an apple tree hunt round your area and see how many you can find... or other trees with fruit on them. Have fun!
Children generally love dried fruits such as apricot, apple, pear and raisins, and they make a great snack, helping kids consume their '5-a-day', but be aware that many dried fruits contain high levels of sulphites which could be detrimental to their health. Sulphites (or sulfites) are commonly used on dried fruits to preserver them. You can't detect them, but if they have been used then the list of ingredients should state this fact.
Sulphites can cause breathing difficulty soon after consumption and you should be especially careful with young children who suffer asthma and who may be more acutely affected by sulphites. Whilst we don't suggest that you don't give dried fruit to children, it is good to be aware of symptoms should a reaction occur. You may also want to shop specifically for 'preservative free' dried fruits - inspect the labels for such products.
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