It’s apple picking time so bring that fun, fall experience into the classroom by changing the dramatic play center into an Apple Orchard! Paint your orchard, use pom poms for apples, make a few DIY props, and you will be ready to go. Plus, it’s super easy to embed a ton of math, literacy, and fine motor into their play at the Apple Orchard. Keep reading, and I’ll share all my secrets with you on how you can make an Apple Orchard in your classroom!
Our Apple Orchard has three different places: orchard (trees at back), apple market (shelf on the right), and the snack shop (on the left side).
To create the apple orchard, all I did was staple blue butcher paper to the wall, then I painted tree outlines on the paper. The students painted in the trees. Once the trees were dry, I stuck Velcro dots to the trees and used pom poms for apples! The red baskets are from the Dollar Tree.
Students can “pick the apples” from the trees which is great for developing their pincer grasp. You can also choose to have a red, yellow, and green tree so students are sorting the apples by color when they put them back on the trees.
Apple Market! The top shelf has small and large apples with a scale for students to sort and weigh their apples. The apples are from Michaels (I had to spray paint some of the green apples yellow). There are also small and large pies. This is yet another time when students are exploring size and measurement. I’ll tell you how I made the pies later in this post.
I used leftover plastic jars from when I made apple food props. Put paint on the inside of the jars to make the props look more realistic. You can find the apple food labels HERE.
Buy some fall flowers from the Dollar Tree and cut them into individual stems. Place each color or type of flower in a pot. Now students are sorting by color or type of flower during play!
Apple Orchard Snack Shop! Students love cooking so add a snack shop to the orchard. I added a drink machine (shoebox with a cup glued to the top), kettle corm machine (a small box with one side attached at the bottom), apple treats, and a place to make pies.
The apple donuts are simply circles I cut from light brown felt with red paint for icing. The apple sauce cups are just cups with the inside painted yellow and a label taped to the top. If you want spiced hot drinks, use pom poms and cut up pipe cleaners for the hot drink spices. Kindly ask your favorite coffee shop, and I’m sure they will donate a few extra cups to your classroom. To make the caramel apples, cut a felt square with rounded corners and hot glue it to a fake apple!
Make sure you add signs, orders, receipt paper, and labels to get students reading and writing during play. Remember reading pictures is reading and scribbling is writing!
Now my favorite part: the pies! Find some small and large pie pans and pom poms. The pom poms will be the pie filling. Use the pie pans to trace circles out of brown felt and remember to make a few of each size. Then measure and cut felt strips for the lattice on the pie. Cut some for each size.
Create a How to Make Pies visual recipe to help students know the sequence to make a pie or grab one HERE!
By putting out large and small pie making supplies, students will have to measure and sort as they make pies at the Apple Orchard. For example, if they are making a small apple pie, the would grab a small pie pan, small dough circle, small red pom-poms for filling, and small lattice strips. If they try to use the large dough or large lattice strips on the small pie, it will be too big and they will have to find the small ones to match the pan.
Check out the Apple Orchard Snack Shop in action! Students are talking with each other as they pretend which is developing their oral language and theme vocabulary!
I know transforming the dramatic play center can be time-consuming, but you can do it all using your own DIY props so you don’t break the bank. Students can learn and practice so many math and literacy skills when you purposely offer props and supplies during pretend play!
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