Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Preschool Science Activity - Making Apple Butter

The beautiful fall view out my living room window.
 Fall is such a beautiful time here in the Midwest!  It may be a little chilly and a little wet, but the stunning colors and the plentiful harvest more than make up for it.  Around here, you can't think about fall without thinking APPLES, so I figured making some apple butter with Trevor would be a great activity!

This activity is suggested in The Kids' Nature Book that we are using and the concept is also used in one of the Sid the Science Kid experiments, so I put the two together, added a little of my own flare, and came up with a great little activity for this fall morning.

First we gathered all of our materials.  I know this is not a precise kind of recipe, but we took the opportunity to get out the food scale and weigh the apples.  We talked about what a scale does and then Trevor watched the numbers as Mackenzie added apples to the bowl on the scale.

I let the kids watch some TV while I sat and cut up the apples.  This is what we were left with after Mackenzie ate about every other one that I put in the pot =)  The lesson learned is to feed your little girl breakfast before you start this activity!  (You may have noticed the kids are still in their PJ's...we started this activity first thing in the morning since it's supposed to cook all day!)

This is where the science part came in.  As soon as I finished cutting the apples up, I told Trevor to come over and mash them up into apple sauce for me.  He tried and the first thing he said was "They're too hard!"  I asked Trevor to tell me what else he observed about the apples that were in the pot.  He needed a little prompting about what to look for, but he came up with that they apples were kind of yellow, cold, and crunchy.  I told him that we would observe the apples again after they had been cooked.

So we set the slow cooker to cook for a few hours.  After about two hours we observed the apples again.  Very carefully I had Trevor try to mash the apples.  This time they were soft!  Now they were also hot (instead of cold), turning brown (instead of yellow), and mushy (instead of crunchy...but of course he didn't taste them at this point....too hot!)  Then we added some honey and our spices and left the apples to continue cooking.

Then I made up this copywork sheet for him to practice reading and writing the words that he had used to describe this apples.   Fell free to download this to use with your children!

Do you love using copywork with your children? Find more at Classical Copywork!

Thousands of Copywork Pages, Ready-Made for You!

Here is the recipe that I ended up using:

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

5 lbs  Apples, peeled and cored
2T     maple syrup
1/2 c  honey (adjust to your liking depending on the type of apples you use)
1T     cinnamon
1t       cloves
pinch  nutmeg

  • Cut apples into chunks and place into slow cooker.  Add maple syrup and cook on low for 2 hours (or until apples can be mashed).
  • Add honey and spices and mash to combine.
  • Stir/mash every hour until desired consistency is obtained (it may take several hours).  Let cook with the lid off if you have excess moisture.
  • Use immediately, refrigerate leftovers to be used within a few days, or save in a jar to be frozen or canned for future use or to be given as gifts.

Looking for more preschool information?  Visit my All Things Preschool page to find a list of all the preschool posts here at Living and Learning at Home, plus some of my favorite preschool resources!


  1. Ok for some reason my Blog reading list wasn't updating your posts. Now I have a lot to catch up on. I'm so glad you are posting! I can't wait to read all these.

  2. Amy, You are so practical, and these will be a real help to moms new to home-schooling at the young ages!! Children will be so much more ready and happy to do what you have planned each day if they are started out with consistent direction. We had almost no problems w/ willingness b/c they were used to being creatively busy (and I don't mean going to lots of classes outside of the home)at home w/o the distraction of many peers.
    Thanks for linking up these great examples of the young years!

  3. Jacqueline, thank you so much for your kind words! Also, I noticed you just followed my blog. I always get excited when I see a new follower, especially someone whose blog I admire, so thank you!

  4. Great hands on activity! I love that you then made copy work out of the words!

  5. What a great and creative activity. I love the observation part. Would you consider linking this up at my Home School Writing Prompt link up? Here are the details if you want to check it out -

  6. Savannah, thanks so much for stopping by! Sure I'll link up to your site, thanks for the invite!

  7. What a great idea! I'm saving this page for when we have children. Also, I am super excited about the apple butter recipe! I received a canning set as a wedding present & my husband is finishing up shelves for all my mason jars! I haven't made anything yet but I am super excited to start!

    Have a blessed day!

  8. I was just thinking about making apple butter! When we lived in the midwest (Indianapolis) we had apple butter for the first time. I don't think it's a New England "staple". It's yummy though! Thanks for sharing! Stopping by from the HHH!

  9. Thank you, Lori. I try not to take it for granted! It's not so beautiful in every season, but these fall colors are sure something!

  10. Our Side of the Mountain and Heather, thanks so much for stopping by!

  11. This is a wonderful science activity. I am going to book mark this for future use. Thanks you for sharing.

  12. You do have a wondeful view from your window! I think the beautiful red brick enhances the color of the leaves!! We made apple butter too & canned it to use on toast in the winter =-) I love apple butter - yum!
    Thanks for linking up to Living Life Intentionally Linky Party!

  13. The view from your window is absolutely nostalgic. Love so many things about winter, but my favorite time is Spring. ;-) xox

    Thanks for linking up.


  14. What a wonderful activity to do with kids. I love how you let them explore the irreversible changes in apples. I will have to try it one day ;-)

    Big hugs from Poland

  15. Gotta try the apple butter recipe. My husband loves apple butter! Thanks for sharing

  16. oh, what a great recipe! Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase. Hope to see you this week -


  17. Ladies, thanks so much for your lovely comments!

  18. I love apple butter! I had no idea I could make it in a crock pot. I'm so excited. Thanks for sharing!

  19. You are welcome, Julie! Thank you so much for the kind comment =)


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