Learning to Like Apples

Learning to Like Apples

This week we chatted to some parents about which foods we would like our kids who are picky eaters to be able to eat. Fruits, vegetables and meats came up a lot, and in particular apples were mentioned a couple of times. 

So I thought I’d try focusing on apples and put together some ideas for activities young kids could do to explore and get more familiar with apples. It might not be a quick fix, but the more positive and fun experiences they can have with apples, the more likely they are to be able to eat them when they are ready.

For younger kids, they may need more help from an adult for some of these (e.g. when chopping), and of course all kids will benefit from a parent getting involved and showing a keen interest in the food too! I’d set aside 20 to 30 minutes for each session, depending on how interested the child is, and pick a few of the discussion points or activities from each list below.

If they are not ready to touch an apple yet, you can start with only the activities at the top. I’ve tried to list from easiest to hardest, but it will vary from child to child. If they are anxious, it’s good to remind them that “we’re just learning about apples, we’re not here to eat them right now, unless you want to!”

Wherever possible have the child pick up and move/manipulate the apple for the activity, but if they can’t touch the apple with their fingers, can they do it using a napkin, or move it using a spoon or other utensil? 

  1. Learning all about apples
    We can discuss, maybe look up photos online, and help them to write notes on a piece of paper:
    1. How they’re grown – an apple seed grows into a tree, there are flowers in spring, then they turn into apples which fall off in autumn and we can eat them. The tree might be 4 or 5 years old before it can grow the apples.
    2. Where are they grown – they are grown in many countries, do they grow near you?
    3. Do you know what apples are called in different languages?
    4. What types of apples are there, what colours are they? How many apple colours can you see at your local supermarket.
    5. What are they different parts of the apple called? Can they draw one and label it (with help)?
    6. How big are apples? – measure it with a ruler or tape measure and write it on
    7. How heavy are they? Which is the heaviest… apple, pear, banana….? Compare to other objects or fruits you have in the home and weigh them on kitchen scales.
    8. What can we do with apples – eat them raw, stew them, put them in pies, crumbles, sauces….
    9. They are now an “Apple Expert”! Have them repeat these new facts to another adult to show how much they know! Draw up a certificate or a badge to commemorate their knowledge!
  1. Whole apple activities
    1. Balance the apple on your hand, arm, leg, head etc…
    2. How many apples can you balance on top of each other to make a tower?
    3. Use an apple as a bowling ball to knock down paper toilet rolls.
    4. Who can roll an apple the furthest?
    5. Guess if the apple will sink or float in a bowl of water (try with some other objects first, e.g. a ball, a spoon…).
    6. Use all the senses to describe it – colour, texture, temperature, hardness, smell…
    7. If your child can take a bite, how does it sound, if they can’t take a bite, can you take a bite and they listen to how it sounds?
    8. If they can take a bite, how does it taste – sweet or salty? If they need to they can spit it out into a napkin.
  1. Cut apple activities
    (An adult may need to set up and do the cutting)
    1. Find the secret star in the apple by chopping it in half.
    2. How is the inside of the apple different to the outside? Colour, texture, temperature, hardness, smell… 
    3. Chop apple into cubes – what can you build – tower, house… whose is the tallest/biggest?
    4. Use a spread as a ‘cement’ for sticking the cubes together when you are building a tower. Or more tricky… we have to lick the cubes to get them to stick together.
    5. Chop apple into sticks – can you make a letter, a face, can you build a bridge.
    6. Cut it into very thin slices and then use small cookie cutters to make shapes
    7. How does it sound when you bite it or break it with your hands…
    8. Grate the apple into tiny pieces, measure how big the pieces are and count how many there are.
    9. Peel an apple and see how long you can make the peel, make shapes or pictures with the peel.
    10. Try dried apple slices or frozen apple slices – how are they different to the fresh apple?
    11. Match some slices with a favourite sauce or spread e.g. peanut butter, honey, yoghurt, lick the sauce off the apple slice.
    12. Puree it (yourself or use a store bought) – dip fingers in and lick if they can, or do a finger painting.
    13. Cut a few pea sized pieces of apple, the adult can try tasting and eating it first and describing the taste, the child can do it if they are happy to. If they’re not, it’s no problem, they might be ready another time.
    14. If they can take a bite, how does it taste – sweet or salty? If they need to they can spit it out into a napkin.

I hope this helps some kids to have some fun with apples, please do let us know if some of these work for your family! Some of these activities would work well with other foods too, but if you’d like more ideas, you can try downloading our app which has food activities for over 50 different foods, and we’ll be adding more regularly!