Apple Core Craft

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We’ve been reading books about apples for fall, so this cute apple core craft was a fun hands-on extension. Bonus points if you share a real apple snack afterwards!

To start, paint two coffee filters red and leave them to dry on paper plates. If you have a standard brown toilet paper tube, paint it white and let dry. I had one that was already white, which saved that step.

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Once the paint dries, apply glue to both rims of the toilet paper tube and attach the red coffee filters. To make a stem, glue two green construction paper leaves to a craft stick and insert into the top of the apple.

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Don’t forget to add a few seeds with black marker! If you have a preschooler, you might consider cutting the seeds from black construction paper instead and gluing on. This will be great for honing fine motor skills.

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This craft was so great for talking about all the different parts of the apple, whether stem, leaves, flesh, core, or seeds. Veronika loved pointing to each portion as we talked about the name for each!

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Torn Paper Apple Sun Catcher

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Before the fall ends, I wanted to do a few apple-themed crafts with Veronika, and this particular activity resulted as an extension of an apple-themed story time. So start with an apple book your child loves! Apples by Gail Gibbons, is a classic, and we also read Dr. Seuss’s Ten Apples Up on Top and Secrets of the Apple Tree from Usborne Books.

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Now it was time to make an apple! Tape down a piece of contact paper with the sticky side up. I drew a big red circle on the paper with a marker, and then tore up pieces of construction paper in red and green. I invited Veronika to start filling in the apple with the torn pieces.

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She was less interested than I thought she would be, but she did lay down a few pieces of paper and I then filled in the rest.

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When finished, cover with a second sheet of contact paper, wedging a brown paper stem in between, and then cut out.

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This is yet another craft that makes a dazzling display in the window.

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It would probably have been even prettier with red tissue paper, but we recently used ours up! Still, the construction paper worked in a pinch.

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Apple Seeds and Shake-Ups

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Fall is my favorite season and I’m so excited to share it with Veronika this year, the first year that she’s really aware of the change in seasons. Today we celebrated the first day of fall with the season’s most iconic fruit: apples!

First, we sat down together with an apple that I’d cut into quarters and took out all the seeds, counting them onto a paper plate.

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In addition to being simple math, this will show your toddler how a new baby apple tree starts!

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As she plinked the apple seeds into a little paper cup, I peeled the apple and thinly sliced it. Fill a small plastic bag with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Add the apple slices, seal, and encourage your toddler to shake it.

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Ta da! An instant autumn snack: Apple Shake-Ups.

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Veronika ate almost the whole apple she loved it so much!

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We had one more apple sitting on the cutting board, but instead of eating that one, we dipped the slices in paint.

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I gave her red and yellow paint, in keeping with our autumnal theme, with the bonus we got orange prints, too, once the paints mixed. She wasn’t as interested in this part of the craft, but overall we had apple-tastic fun.

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Clothespin Apple Trees

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Autumn is by far my favorite season (apple trees! pumpkin spice! fall foliage!) and although Veronika is a bit young for it, there are so many apple crafts I want to make with her once her fingers become more dexterous and her understanding of the season increases.

But it’s never too early to throw in a cute craft about the changing seasons. So today was her first apple craft!

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We cut green circles from construction paper for the leaves. Older toddlers can practice tracing around any round item to make these and can also practice with safety scissors to cut them out. Meanwhile Veronika loved pointing out to me that these were circles.

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She then helped dot white glue onto the paper. Dotting glue is fantastic for strengthening little fingers!

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We added a red bead to each dot of glue. Red sequins would work, too!

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Of course, Veronika had just as much tendency to pull a red bead off the glue as to leave it on, but we managed to get a few finished trees.

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For the trunks, use brown marker to color on spring-type clothespins.

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Clip one on to each green circle once the glue dries.

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This would be a fantastic activity to do either before or after a trip to a real apple orchard.

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Easy Apple Chips

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This is a fantastic after-school kitchen project for kids, not nearly as time consuming as making a full dinner, but just enough to get them cooking. Plus the apples and cinnamon will make your whole kitchen smell like autumn.

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples (try gala or golden delicious)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¬†Pinch of salt
  1. Use the large slicing hole of a box grater to slice the apples (or, alternatively, cut into thin slices with a knife).
  2. Combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add the apples and toss to coat.Apple Chips (1)
  3. Arrange the apples in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with greased foil.Apple Chips (2)
  4. Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour, rotating the pan from the bottom rack to the top rack half way through.Apple Chips (4)

Old-Fashioned Apple Slump

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It’s apple picking season and we recently returned home with a bounty of ginger golds from a local orchard! It was the perfect opportunity to test out a recipe near and dear to my heart.

The recipe comes from Louisa May Alcott, known to many as the author of Little Women. Alcott lived in my hometown, and her story and life have always been an inspiration. So when we recently attended a local apple festival and brought home the recipe, Travis and I couldn’t wait to find out what an 1800’s apple dessert tasted like! We updated it slightly for a modern kitchen and vegan lifestyle.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tart apples
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¬†1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 6 tablespoons melted Earth Balance butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. To prepare the apple base, peel, core, and slice the apples. Place in a bowl and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, stirring until the apples are coated.
  2. Spoon into a 9×13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the topping: In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, Ener-G eggs, milk, and butter, stirring gently until combined.
  4. Pour the flour mixture over the apples, spreading slightly, and sprinkle evenly with the walnuts. Bake an additional 25 minutes.

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Carved Fruit Swan

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As a fun bonus to compliment his Taste of Thai recipes, Travis learned to make a fruit sculpture today, a popular activity with a rich history in Thailand!

To start, juice one lemon.

Thai Fruit

Add the lemon juice to a measuring cup and fill with water to equal 1 cup. This will prevent your apple slices from browning as you work – be sure to dip each slice in the mixture before adding to the “swan”.

Cut an apple into three pieces vertically, so you have two rounded sides and the core.

Make two slits in the core piece to resemble the shape of a swan’s neck, as shown; discard the rest of the core, but save two seeds for the eyes!

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Now cut the round edge from one side piece, so it sits flat.

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Add the swan neck, securing with a toothpick. The toothpicks were Travis’s favorite part, and when our actual sculpting was complete, he loved adding a few more toothpicks just for fun!

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Thinly slice the remaining side piece of apple. Start adding to the base of the swan, using the largest pieces first and ending with the smallest.

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This was not only a great craft, but a fantastic snack as well. There was something about tearing apart a sculpture before eating that greatly appealed to Travis, too – go figure!

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Apple Art for Tummy Time

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This is an adorable black-and-white art project you can use to enhance baby’s tummy time – and big sibs might want to get in on the craft, too!

First, I cut an apple in half, and painted the halves with a thick coat of black paint.

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Press the apples onto sturdy white paper. I made a row of three apples per page.

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To vary the image, you can also paint in full apples with little stems.

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I invited Travis to have a go at making a print, too, and we came up with this more abstract version:

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For Veronika’s tummy time, we folded the papers in half so they could stand upright, and surrounded her with a little apple forest. These are great for pointing too, and talking about the image.

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We also sang “One little, two little, three little apples…” etc. to the tune of Ten Little Indians. You could also make up stories about apples!

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What is your baby looking at for tummy time? Please share in the comments!

Crunch Time

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After a fun snack time making and eating apple nachos, we had a big green apple leftover on the counter. I realized I could easily entertain Travis by turning this last apple not into a snack but into a building material. This activity is great for keeping kids busy, whether you’re nursing a younger sibling, cooking a family dinner, or prepping for a big holiday feast later this month!

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Travis and I started with a firm base, and I showed him how he could attach two apple pieces together with a toothpick.

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Pretty soon he was off and running with it, building up up up.

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He loved seeing how horizontally-added toothpicks helped stabilize the structure – a little engineer at work!

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Kids can make the design as simple or as complicated as they like. We finished ours with a triangle tower on top.

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And soon it was home to a Duplo bunny.

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How do you keep kids entertained while you’re busy in the kitchen? Please share in the comments!

 

Apple-Butter Bars

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It finally feels like fall, after a strange spike back into 80 degree weather, and today simply called for this apple dessert. The flavors and smells practically scream out autumn.

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 (6-oz) Gala apples
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple butter, divided
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  1. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Core and finely dice the apples, then combine in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons apple butter. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, remaining teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and mix with your fingers until the mixture starts to clump. Stir in the oats.
  4. Press 1 and 1/2 cups of the flour mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread with the remaining 1 cup apple butter, then top with the Gala apple mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining flour mixture.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan for 2 hours before cutting into 20 squares.

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