The daycare kids were so excited when they learned that today was applesauce day! Our visit to the Homestead Orchard was simply magical- we had perfect weather and loads of beautiful apples within reach of even the smallest child.
Apples always need a good washing, so we began our day by scrubbing our apples well in soapy water with a touch of vinegar. The children practiced using a scrub brush and enjoyed the sensation of the warm water and foamy bubbles.
Once all the apples were rinsed and dried, we moved on to some sandbox play. Soon the cold temperatures will force us out of the sandbox until spring, so we are taking every chance we can get to dig, mix, fill, and dump. We pretended to make applesauce and apple pie.
The children and I washed our hands and then each child had the opportunity to use an old-fashioned apple corer-peeler-slicer with a hand crank to process several apples. It really takes a lot of strength to use this machine, so I helped when the children needed me to, but they had lots of fun trying it on their own, too.
The children loved watching the machine peel the rosy apple skins off and were fascinated by the spiral cut the machine produced. It was surprising to watch the peeled apple unfold like a slinky when taken off the core.
Soon, the pile of apple skins and cores filled a big bowl and the apple slices filled the crock pot.
Next it was time to measure and add three tablespoons of brown sugar, one teaspoon of cinnamon, and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Everyone had a chance to measure and add, and then our applesauce cooked all day. It produced a wonderful warm smell that wafted through the house.
While the applesauce cooked, we played some counting games with a set of felt apples and an apple tree. We all had chances to "pick" the apples while counting from 1-10, then we worked on some very simple subtraction as we pretended that apples were falling down from the tree.
Unfortunately the applesauce was not ready by the time we had our afternoon snack as we had hoped, but we took a little taste nevertheless. Our applesauce turned out to be delicious!
We finished our applesauce day with another telling of why apples have stars in their middles.
See you soon!