Tis the season for apple picking! Here is a fun “apple picking” activity that I created to work my preschooler on upper-case and lower-case letter matching. This activity can be adapted to target a number of different goals depending on your child’s individual needs or stage of development.
Ideas for Goals:
Preschoolers: upper-case and lower-case letter matching, letter-sound correspondence, vocabulary development, letter identification, upper-case letter recognition
Toddlers: upper-case letter recognition and letter matching.
Supplies For Apples:
1. Sheets of red felt (approximately 6 sheets)
2. Black permanent marker
3. Magnets– these are small but VERY strong
4. Hot glue gun
Print and cut out the apple template in a small or medium size, depending on your preference. The smaller the apples, the less felt you will need to purchase. Layer two pieces of felt on top of each other and trace the apple template onto the felt. You will need to trace the template 26 times for each letter of the alphabet. Cut through two layers of the felt so that you have identical pieces.
Once you cut out all of your pieces, you are going to glue a magnet in the middle of the bottom piece of felt using your hot glue gun. Next apply a thin line of hot glue around the edge of the felt. Place your matching top piece, sandwiching the magnet in the middle of the two pieces of felt. Making sure that the sides and the stems are lined up. You could use just one piece of felt, but if you have little ones running around like I do, a small magnet could pose a choking risk.
Once you have made all 26 apples, use your black permanent marker to write each letter of the alphabet on both sides of the apple. I used upper-case letters for my apples, but you could do upper-case letters on one side of the apple and lower-case letters on the other side for more versatility for future activities.
Supplies for Creating the Apple Tree:
1. Large green and brown construction paper
4. Oil drip pan or large magnet board
5. Marker for writing the letters
Note: My friend Kate gave me the idea of using a large oil drip pan as a magnet board for different alphabet activities. They are pretty inexpensive and can be fixed to a playroom wall with Scotch adhesive strips or left free-standing so it can be stored away until you need to use it for an activity.
Tape two pieces of large green construction paper together. Free-hand draw the top of a tree…clearly drawing is not a strength of mine. Then cut the top of the tree out.
Next tape two pieces of brown construction paper together to make your tree trunk. Tape both the trunk and the top portion of the tree to the magnet board to create a tree.
Using a marker, write all of the lower-case letters of the alphabet on the top part of your tree. I wrote them randomly to make it a little more challenging for my son to find the match.
Place all the apple letter magnets in a basket or bucket and have your child select one apple at a time from the basket. Have them find the lower-case letter on the tree that matches the upper-case letter apple they selected and have them stick the match on top. Continue this until all of the letter apples are placed on the tree and the basket is empty.
Then work on letter recognition by saying a letter name and having them “pick” the apple off the tree and place it back in the basket. For example, you would say “find the letter A and pick it from the tree.”
How to Make the Activity More Challenging:
-Have you child say the corresponding letter sound when they are picking the letter off the tree (the letter A makes an “aaaa” sound).
-Have your child come up with a word that starts with the letter they selected like “A stands for Apple.”
-Have them pick the letters off the tree in the correct order of the alphabet
-Have them pick the letters off the tree in the order of the alphabet backwards like “Z,Y,X,W” (you may need to write out the alphabet on a piece of paper for them to reference).
-Have you child stand behind a line and toss the apple at the tree while saying the corresponding letter sound (the magnets are strong enough that they will stick to the magnet board).
-Have your child think of a word that starts with the letter and them make up a sentence utilizing the word they came up with.
–Use an alphabet book (any alphabet book would work) and as you read each letter in the book, have your toddler find the matching apple letter.
– Sing the alphabet song and hand your child each corresponding apple letter to place on the tree as you sing the song.
-Place all the apples on the tree and have your toddler knock down as many apples as they can and have them count how many apples they knocked off the tree.
-Create a palm tree instead of a standard tree for an alphabet activity with the book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.”
Hope your children enjoy going “apple picking” without having to leave home!
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