September unfolded in all its golden glory, and with it many lessons about one of our favorite foods- apples!
The children and I enjoyed stretching, bending, and chomping as we pretended to pick and eat apples during our circle time rhymes. The children's favorite, though, was about counting, and it went like this:
Ten lovely apples in the apple tree
Safely hiding where no one can see.
When the wind comes rocking to and fro,
Down to the ground ten apples must go!
Along with the ripening of the apples came the change of some of the leaves. The children had their eyes open and were so excited to begin picking up bright, colorful leaves when we went for walks outside. Every time, we would bring home our leaves to look at and talk about when we got home. We named the colors of the leaves, talked about their texture and shapes, and made matches with similar leaves.
Our walks in the woods were lots of fun for even the smallest of us and provided lots of the kind of gross motor activity that is so important for young children.
The children loved learning about colors and pointed out the yellow of goldenrod, the purple and white asters, and all the colors of the changing leaves when we went out. There were so many colors to see in the fall!
The season's last lazy grasshoppers and crickets were another outdoor favorite to explore during September. The bravest of the children dared catch the insects gently, while the others simply enjoyed pointing them out. On several occasions, we put an insect in our "bug observatory" and talked about it. We counted the insects' legs, looked for their wings and antennae, and noted the insects' color.
There was lots of time to play in the sandbox this month- the sunny weather was quite accommodating! The older children enjoyed "cooking" together. Sometimes they made pie (apple pies, of course!), sometimes cupcakes, and on occasion, they added water and flowers and made soup. This scooping, dumping, measuring, and gathering is great work for both the children's bodies and imaginations.
Inside, we all enjoyed some focused learning about apples. The children listened to one version of a story about why there is a star inside an apple. In this tale, a boy is bored until his mother sends him on a hunt for "a little room with no doors or windows and a star inside." The boy asks a variety of people in his neighborhood until he is directed to an apple orchard. He picks an apple for his mother and when he brings it home, she exclaims that he has found the mysterious little room, then slices it open for him to see the star.
The children loved finding the stars in our apples- they were just like in the story! We also examined apple seeds, made stamped prints of the apple stars, and created a graph detailing the results of our apple taste test (red apples were the clear winner).
Another activity that the children enjoyed a lot was an art project that combined counting and gluing. The children placed numbered basket cut-outs in order from least to greatest (1-5), then added the appropriate number of red apple fingerprints above each basket.
Another art activity was more process-driven. The children painted freely with red, yellow, and green watercolors, then later the children's pictures were cut into apple shapes we used to decorate the daycare walls. They were very cheery!
The highlight of the season was a daycare field trip to a local apple orchard. We chose to visit the same orchard as last year, the Homestead Orchard in Woostock. While there are other, larger orchards around, the Homestead Orchard provided nothing but the pleasures of apple picking- a beautifully maintained orchard, trees that have branches that brush the ground, and tons of juicy apples just waiting to be picked by little hands!
The field trip brought the Blue Sky Daycare families together, and it was wonderful to watch the daycare children's older siblings and parents enjoy their time at the orchard just as much as the daycare children themselves.
The Blue Sky Daycare families came out of the orchard with big smiles, tummies full of apples, and of course, big bags of apples to make all sorts of apple delights!
At the daycare, the children and I worked together to make applesauce from our apple orchard haul. It was so much fun for the children to turn the crank of our old-fashioned apple peeler-corer-slicer, and it was almost hypnotizing to watch the long spiral of peel unwind from the apples.
The children were so proud of making giant batch of applesauce, and I'm sure it made the fruit of the children's labor even more delicious as we enjoyed the applesauce over the course of the next week.
See you next month with another batch of fun daycare news!