5 Ways to Make Your Apple Unit Fun!

We just love this time of year! Apples, leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows, Halloween and Thanksgiving give us TONS of vocabulary. Here are 5 ideas to make learning apple vocabulary interactive and fun:

1. Presentation 
It’s amazing how excited the kids can be to learn just by creatively arranging materials.  When little ones came in and saw this basket filled with apple books, play doh, baking props, cookie cutters and apples, they were engaged to follow directions and participate right from the get go. When we push in classrooms, we just picked up the basket and bring it with us!

2. Make Photo Vocabulary 
We are firm believers in embedding thematic and curricular vocabulary in our therapy. While we love cute clip art, we also enjoy bringing actual photos in to our sessions.  Cell phones with cameras make it easy to snap some pictures of vocabulary targets! We either send them to print at the local photo shop or just print them on card stock on a color printer. We try to laminate as well so they last longer. While out at the orchard with my family, I just snapped individual pictures of apple vocabulary! I included things like bushel basket, orchard, tree, branch, stem, hayride, crates, farmer, cider, pie etc.  It helps to make the vocabulary a little more meaningful especially for the kiddos that have never been to an orchard.

3. Use Object Specific Reinforcers 
Since the theme is apples, we have a lot of real and pretend apples to use in therapy.  The goal for the child in the picture above was to label common objects and state the function of the item. The child was able to cover the object with an apple each time he completed a task. It made the task even more fun when the apples were attached to a tree with velcro and they got to ‘pick’ the apple before competing the task. If you are using a token system, consider using apples as the tokens. These pretend apples are really Christmas ornaments with the strings cut off 🙂

4. Make it Multi-Sensory 
One of our favorite things to add to our thematic units is homemade scented play doh.  For the apple unit, we make Apple Pie play doh that smells just like apple pie! Scented play doh and props engages sight, smell and touch. It allows you to more naturally work on skills like vocabulary, actions, auditory directions, sequencing, problem solving and so much more!

5.  Pretend! 
Make your lessons come to life with props!! We cut up pretend apple slices out of brown and white foam and added them with baking supplies and apple pie play doh. Pretend to make the dough, mix the apples and add spices. Use the play doh to roll out and make a crust. Scoop in the pretend pie filling in a large pie pan or individual pie pans then cover with the play doh crust. We even pretend to bake it in a play kitchen but when the kitchen set isn’t out we use a box!

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