It’s fall, and I needed an excellent activity for the boys that was fun, easy, and helped them learn! Keeping my toddler’s toys and activities at home simple is key to his exploration and making learning through play possible.
Then it hit me…apples. They’re cheap and an amazing supply for children’s development! This fall activity for toddlers and preschoolers will strengthen arm muscles and improve hand-eye coordination. Grab your apples! It is time to get color sorting with apple scoop and sort.
RELATED: We added this color-scooping game to our long list of color-sorting activities!
- Green and red construction paper – I love using this as the color mats for the kids to sort the right color apples.
- Large bowl – You want a bowl big enough so kids can get their scoop in.
- Red apples and green apples – You can grab these from the grocery store to eat later! And if you have some in the garden, even better!
- Scooper – This is what your toddler or preschooler will use to pick up the apples and move them out of the water.
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How to Set Up Apple Sorting
Step 1. Grab those apples
I have one boy that loves green apples, and the other loves red. So stocking up was already on our grocery list.
So, for once, I was ahead of the game. Bonus? Adding apples to water helps wash them for future snacks. – #itsthelittlethings.
Step 2. Put your apples in the water
I filled my large white bowl with water and placed the red and green apples inside. I made sure not to fill it too high, but some water is bound to splash over!
Step 3. Put down color sorting mats.
Your kids want to put the green apples on the green mat and the red apples on the red mat. I used our LEGO baseplates as color sorting mats. You can also use construction paper or felt squares!
RELATED: Do you see the leaves changing color? Check out these 50 activities for fall.
Why Play This Fall Preschool Activity?
Remember, what may sound ultra-simple for us adults, is pretty complicated for your toddler. Sorting activities help young minds acknowledge the characteristics of the everyday world and much more:
- Builds knowledge – We know that children learn through repetition and simple play activities are perfect for just that. This fall activity pairs well with this nature sensory activity!
- Classifies color – As my toddler begins to sort and classify by color, I need to remember he does not need to start by organizing the entire rainbow. He can begin with two colors and first explore apple scoop and sort.
- Encourages learning – My toddler knows that his brothers love apples. He watched his older brother sort and glue apples here. My two-year-old is now thinking about the differentiation between the red apple and the green apple. Before this, he saw the apples but may not have made the connection that they were two different colors.
- Hand-eye coordination – As children scoop each apple, they must hold a steady hand and align their large spoon with the apple.
- Improves conversation – When we work alongside our children, our conversations may sound a little more like this: ‘Remember that time we sorted the apples?’ ‘That’s right! Some of the apples were red, and the others were green!’ ‘Next time we go to the store, let’s see if we can find apples in another color. Do you think we will find any?’
- Sorting – Color sorting is practiced by eliminating the number of colors and making the quality of the activity meaningful. As children move apples outside the bin, they color sort as they work. Sorting is a math skill that sets the foundation for future learning. Math activities for toddlers should be kept simple and hands-on for ultimate engagement.
- Strengthens gross motor muscles – See how the apples are in a giant water bowl. This setup is because I also want to strengthen my two-year-old’s arms as he uses the spoon to scoop up the apples. This practice will help a child with large muscle skills such as climbing, catching, lifting, and throwing.
The NAEYC encourages parents to play more with their toddlers and preschoolers. Read how to support Children’s Approaches to Learning here.
RELATED: Like most of our toddler activities, this fun idea invites my child to take the lead.
Toddlers Love Apple Scoop and Sort!
My little boy could not get enough of this fall activity. It’s one we use time and time again! With something so simple yet with so many learning benefits, it’s quickly become a go-to when the seasons change. When will you try apple scoop and sort?
RELATED: Toddlers can be a lot to keep up with. Use this list of 40+ toddler activities to help!
More Fall Activities for Preschoolers
RELATED: Almost two, but not quite there? You will find lots of ideas for your one-year-old HERE.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pick the time of the day that feels like it is not working. In our home, this was mornings. I wanted to begin the day with play and found easy ideas like this set the tone for the day. Another great time for toddler activities is after a nap.
I like to think more about stages over a child’s age. Can your child hold a large spoon? If yes, this is a great activity to try. Keep in mind your child will scoop more apples the more they play. Celebrate the number of apples your child color sorts, and they will most likely be back for more. Remember to supervise your child and keep the water level low.
It sure is! Sensory activities stimulate the brain and learning through play. Here, our child is touching the water and improving hand-eye coordination. This fall activity makes a great water bin.