Thursday, September 20, 2018

September - The Apple Elves

A few notes from our week of Apple Fun!

Songs, Verses & Movement

    cleaning up after indoor play
    "This Is the Way We Tidy Up"
    to the the tune of "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush"

    laying out the sunflower quilt for circle time
    "A Ram Sam Sam" song
    from the Seven Times the Sun CD, track 17

    Circle Time

    at the end of the story
    "Snip, Snap, Snout" verse

    washing hands
    "This Is the Way We Wash/Dry Our Hands"
    to the the tune of "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush"

    grace before snack time
    "Blessings on the Blossom"
    from The Singing Day, track 23

    getting ready to go outside
    "This Is the Way We Put On Shoes"
    to the the tune of "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush"

    lining up to go outside/inside
    "All in a Row"
    from The Singing Day, track 11

    goodbye verse
    from A Child's Seasonal Treasury, page 14


This week I incorporated some new apple verses, listed above, in our Circle Time roster of movement activities.

Our story was "The Apple Elves" from the original volume of Autumn Tales by the inimitable Suzanne Down, my puppetry teacher. This is a sweet story with several strong images which we followed up on throughout the week (making applesauce, the smell of the spices, the pair of apple trees growing side by side, the flickering of elfin lanterns).

Our initial activity was to wash apples and make Crockpot Applesauce. I first asked the children if they thought the apples would sink or float -- the class was evenly divided -- and later asked them what they thought the ingredients in applesauce might be. It's always fun to hear their predictions before we cook together! This is a very simple unsweetened applesauce recipe and it tastes so juicy and fresh. Just apples, water, and cinnamon.

Suzanne Down is offering a new online course called Writing Autumn Mood Poems for Young Children - A Work at Your Own Pace Online Workshop for Teachers and Parents and it is half price right now ($25.00). I'm doing it and would love to have other parents join me!


  • "The Apple Elves" from Suzanne Down's original Autumn Tales book
  • Applesauce Oobleck sensory play

I retold "The Apple Elves" and we tasted our homemade crockpot applesauce. Today we had some sensory play! I saved all of our homemade applesauce for eating and purchased store bought for the oobleck. If you've never made oobleck before, you're in for a treat. It's an awesome non-Newtonian substance (meaning it doesn't follow the rules of Physics... it goes back and forth between being solid and liquid depending on whether you are pressing hard on it or releasing the pressure) but you must get the ratio exactly right for it to work. Two parts cornstarch to one part water for regular oobleck; two parts cornstarch to one part applesauce for Applesauce Oobleck. Of course we added in plenty of ground cinnamon for further sensory fun, and had a bunch of long cinnamon sticks to stir it up with.

To make oobleck, measure the cornstarch and applesauce into a bowl, then mix until you no longer see white. If your oobleck isn't acting ooblecky enough decide if it needs a bit more cornstarch or a bit more applesauce. That's it! The entire group of homeschool kids came to check out the fun and I had people at this station all day long. Several of the girls didn't even go outside for recess today. They spent their entire time doing indoor recess at the Applesauce Oobleck bin! And Zac was still playing with it late into the afternoon along with his sisters.


Today was Stone Soup day! I also had an art project set up to accompany day three of "The Apple Elves." It was an option during morning indoor play time to help with the soup making, or the art project, or both. In the story the old woman plants two apple trees side by side, one with rosy red apples and one with golden apples. I drew the trunks and branches of two apple trees side by side on a large piece of paper with marker and filled the shapes in with oil pastel to have the texture of bark. We used a large 22 x 30 inch piece of Arches cold press watercolor paper from France. Then the children used wine corks to stamp the rosy red apples on one and the golden apples on the other. Thank you to the parent who donated a large collection of corks for crafts! This activity was so simple but so fun and our finished apple trees were just brimming with apple goodness.

Today, to add a new element to our story, we sang "Glimmer, Lantern, Glimmer" at the point where the elfin lanterns are flickering in the tops of the trees. This is a lovely song for an evening Autumn lantern walk as well, something Waldorf schools traditionally do in November.

Here was our list of veggies in the Stone Soup this week:

red bell pepper

There are lots of wonderful things happening in the free play time as well. This week I added one pound of red beans to the nineteen pounds of black beans in the bean bin, inspiring a lot of sorting work. Building with colorful blocks and making pens for the collection of wooden animals is always a popular activity, as is cooking with the wool felt play kitchen foods. I noticed the little suitcases for the doll clothes being repurposed into "lunch boxes" as children use the play kitchen foods to "pack a lunch" and "head off to work," then come home and have dinner together. Waldorf toys are deliberately as open ended as possible, so that they spark plenty of creative play!

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