Back to School with Tot School

As the girls get older, I really want to be even more intentional with our Tot School time. I want to make a (loose) schedule for our day (in another post). I am also contemplating changing the structure of our schooling. I do think I will need more than one unit a month (maybe two units/month). For now, I just need to jump in to planning, so I’ll go with what I know for now.

Bible Verse:

More thematic – “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings” Psalm 17:8 (and we can talk about God’s protection over us)

1 John 4:7 – “Let us love another, for love comes from God.” (A great one to use for guidance during play time.)

Books on hold at the library: (And there are also lots of other great book ideas in the packet listed below.)

Apples A to Z

By McNamara, Margaret(Book – 2012)

Baby Loves Fall!

A Karen Katz Lift-the-flap BookBy Katz, Karen(Book – 2013)

Counting on Fall

By Flatt, Lizann(Book – 2012)

Fall Leaves

By Slegers, Liesbet(Book – 2012)

It's Fall!

By Glaser, Linda(Book – 2001)

Max's Apples

By Wells, Rosemary(Book – 2009)

Unless otherwise noted, most of these ideas are from this apple packet where another mom did a lot of work to compile all of these great ideas!

Color Focus: Red, of course! (Although my favorite apples are actually “pink.”)

Color of the Day Activities for any Color
Everyone dresses in the color of the day!
Add desired color to playdough and use at the art table.
Take a walk to look for that particular color of car.
Dip cooked spaghetti in the desired color of paint and let it “dance”
across white paper.
Make necklaces by stringing buttons of the desired color onto wire.
Add food coloring to the white glue.
Tint jello, water, milk, or pancakes purple.
Go color shopping and walk from room to room “shopping” for items in
the house that are specific color.

Shape Focus: Circle- I figure why not stick with this one until they get it?! I’m going to try to be better about pointing out things in our every day world that are in the shape of a circle. The Apple Jacks activity listed later will also help!

Number Focus: 1

Number 1 Pattern
Print the attached number 1 pattern. Decorate it with 1 apple sticker or

Hokey Pokey
Sing the Hokey Pokey using the number one.
You put your one arm in,
You put your one arm out,
You put your one arm in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey
And you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about!
Repeat the song using 1 hand, 1 elbow, 1 foot, 1 leg, 1 knee, etc.

One Finger Painting
Help child to use just 1 finger to use paint to draw a large numeral one!

Letter Focus: Aa but also trying to practice the alphabet in its entirety. A friend of mine even gave me a good idea to sing the alphabet song with letter sounds instead of names. Genius!

Great way to focus on learning names and sounds of a few letters:

Apples Alphabet
Print the attached ABC apples and place in a basket. Pass around the
circle and say the chant. Then choose an apple from the basket and say
the sound of the letter:
Apple, apple
Nice and round.
Pick an apple
And make its sound!

A is for Apple
Cut an “A” out of red paper or foam. Decorate by putting apple stickers on the “A.”

Music and fingerplays:

Red Song
(Tune: Are You Sleeping?)
R-E-D Red.
R-E-D Red.
I can spell red.
I can spell red.
Firetrucks are red.
Stop signs are red, too.
R-E-D R-E-D.

Ten Little Apples
(Tune: Ten Little Indians)
One little, two little, three little apples
Four little, five little, six little apples,
Seven little, eight little, nine little
Ten little apples for you and me!

I’m A Little Apple
(Tune: I’m a Little Teapot)
I’m a little apple, short and round.
I make a munchy, crunchy sound.
If you bite into me, you will see—
I’m delicious as can be!

Apple Action Rhyme
Way up high in the apple tree (Point up.)
Two little apples smiled at me. (Make the shape of an apple with your hand.)
I shook that tree as hard as I could. (Pretend to shake tree.)
Down fell the apples—(Raise hands and let them fall.)
Mmmmmm, were they good! (Rub tummy.)

Falling Apples
(Tune: London Bridge Is Falling Down)
See the apples falling down
Falling down, falling down.
See the apples falling down
Down to the ground.
Pick the apples and throw them up
Throw them up, throw them up.
Pick the apples and throw them up.
Up to the sky.

Dramatic Play: -The girls are loving playing with dolls right now. Fairley likes to give her the bottle and paci, put her to sleep, and now feed her applesauce! I guess this kind of fits the theme!

-Apple Tree Felt Scene – with various colors of apples (to be switched with leaves for later in season)

Games to play with apples from this scene:

Apple Picking
Copy the apple patterns on red, yellow, and green paper. Place the
apples all around the room (or outside). Have the children walk around
the room and go “apple picking.” Place apples in a basket. When you
are done, try some of these activities:
• Count the apples
• Sort by different colors.
• In a group, make a picture graph your favorite color of apple.

Art Exploration:

Half-Eaten Paper Plate Apple
Paint the edges of a paper plate red, but leave the center white. Stamp
a pencil eraser in black paint to add the seeds in the white part. Once
dry, cut the outside “wings” of the plate to leave an apple core! Add
leaves and stem.
Source: The Creative Crayon

Thumbprint Apple
This would be a fun activity for the whole family! Create a tree from
brown paper or paint your own! Stamp thumbs in red ink and place on
tree. Add stem and leave. Use this poem to go with it:
These are special apples
Hanging on this tree.
I made them with my fingerprints.

Apple Tree
Paint child’s arm brown from the elbow down (arms, hand, fingers.)
Stamp on paper. This is the “tree.” Let dry. Let child dip fingers in green
paint and stamp on top to create the tree. Finally, do a few apples by
dipping fingers in red paint and stamping on top of tree.



Sensory Apples
Use the apple template to cut out apple shapes out of cardboard,
sandpaper, foil, red flannel and bubble wrap. Paint or color apples red.
Once dry, help child feel each apple. Use words to describe apples such

Apple Pretend Play
Help child to scoop up oatmeal out of a tub using measuring cups and
place into muffin baking pans to make apple “muffins.”


– Making our own crockpot applesauce!

Apples Sink or Float
Make predictions about whether an apple will sink or float in water. Use
the attached sink or float worksheet to record observations.
Apple Experiment
Place apple slices on 2 different plates. Sprinkle lemon juice on one plate
of apples and instruct the children to check on the apples on both plates
throughout the morning. Of course the ones without lemon juice will turn
brown. Discuss how these changes were caused by exposure to the air,
but the lemon juice protected the plate of apples.
Apple Taste Testing
As a group, try a red, yellow, and green apple. Decide which one you
like the best! Use words to describe the taste such as “sweet”, “sour”,

Parts of an Apple
To learn more about the parts of an apple, create an apple out of felt.
Cut an apple shape from red felt. Cut one just smaller out of white felt.
Add a peach core with 2 brown seeds. Add a brown stem and green
leaf. Let child layer together to create an apple.
Source: 2 Teaching Mommies

Math and Motor Skills:

Guess My Seeds
Before cutting into an apple, ask child to estimate how many seeds the
apple might have. Cut open the apple and find out how many seeds
are really inside.

Apple Jacks Patterns
String Apple Jacks on a piece of yarn to make a necklace. (It is easiest
to thread the yarn by rolling a piece of Scotch tape around the
threading end.) Create a pattern with the colors.

Apple Tree Math
Print the attached apple trees. Set out apple trees with a basket of red
pompoms or buttons. Help child to count out pompoms/buttons to
match the numerals on the apple trees.

Apple Seed Counting
Use attached apple number cards. Cover apple seed with chocolate
chips or another snack! Count them as you eat them!

(Most of the above games require printables from the packet.)

Snack Ideas:

-Applesauce, of course!

-And apple taste testing! (various colors and types)

-Apple Muffins

-Apple tasting:

More Apple Snacks
You may also want to try apple chips, apple butter, caramel apples,
apple pie, apple crisp, apple juice, and apple cider!

2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ c. butter
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 ¼ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ c. chopped apples
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 T. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 T. butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and eggs until smooth. Mix
in vanilla. Stir in apples and gradually blend in the flour mixture. Spoon
the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until
mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.
Bake 20 minutes in preheated oven or until toothpick inserted into the
center of muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing
muffins from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Field Trip: I would LOVE to go apple picking, but I’m not sure yet if we can work it in to our fall calendar.

Service Project: Tot Visit at the nursing home (2 x a month)

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