It's back-to-school time, and for older kids that means backpacks, books and buses. But for toddlers, here are some other ways to ring in the fall season.
Celebrate the end of summer and dawning of autumn by making some easy apple-inspired crafts (perfect to hang on the fridge or your toddler's bedroom door).
Through these fun, age-appropriate crafts you can help your little one focus, recognize colors, count, develop hand-eye coordination and practice simple skills. And don't forget the one-on-one quality time you get to spend doing these special activities with your toddler. Try one of these apple crafts after visiting an apple orchard or farmer's market:
1. Fill-in textured apples
Draw simple apple shapes on a white piece of paper. Lightly color each apple with red, green or yellow. Provide your toddler with colored beads, puff-balls or other colorful craft items to fill in the apples with the matching colored objects.
Reinforce learning of color names as your toddler picks out a green, yellow or red bead. Place a drop of glue on the matching apple, and help your little one place the bead on the glue. When the apples are filled in and the objects dry, you can run your toddler's fingers along the apples and explain the concept of texture.
2. Paint an apple
Provide construction paper and washable paint on a prepared surface. Either draw a large apple shape on a piece of paper and let your toddler fill in the shape, or let them paint a plain piece of paper with apple colors. When the paint is dry, cut an apple shape from the painted paper.
3. Melted wax apples
Grate apple-colored crayon pieces into shavings. Fold a large piece of wax paper in half, and let your toddler sprinkle crayon shavings all over the inside of the wax paper. Re-fold, and place the wax paper between sheets of newspaper. Iron over the surface until the crayons have melted.
Remove the wax paper, and draw large apple shapes. Cut out apples, and hang by a string in your toddler's window.
4. Print with apple halves
Did you know that if you cut an apple in half -- from the side/middle, not from top to bottom -- you will find a star hiding inside? Astound your toddler with this simple, but exciting, find. Then let them create easy prints by dipping the apple half in paint and printing onto plain paper.
5. Handprint apple trees
This craft works best when you have a soapy dishcloth or baby wipes nearby. First, dip one of your child's fingers in washable brown paint and draw a tall brown tree trunk in the middle of a piece of construction paper. Clean the paint off their finger, then dip one of their hands in green washable paint. Help your toddler make green handprints all around the top of the tree trunk to make branches and leaves.
After cleaning their hand, dip one of your toddler's fingers in red paint. Have them make fingerprints in the top of the tree branches to make apples. Try counting the apples as your child creates them in paint.
Know any other fun, easy apple crafts for toddlers or preschoolers? Comment below and leave your artsy ideas.