Johnny Appleseed Crafts

By Jessica Ackerman

September 26th is celebrated as Johnny Appleseed Day in honor of the father of some of the first apple orchards in the United States. While this little known holiday is often passed by with little fanfare, it offers great learning opportunities for preschool and elementary age students. If you want to teach your child about things associated with apples, try some of the crafts below to get you started.

A is for Apple
Using a foam stamp shaped like the letter A, have children dip it into red or yellow paint and use it to create an outline of an apple on a large sheet of heavy art paper. Write the word "apple" inside the shape once it dries. This simple activity reinforces the letter, the short "a" sound, and the word apple. Children can also stamp the letter "A" in a random pattern using a variety of fall paint colors. A discussion about words that start with "A" can follow and reinforce the skills you are trying to teach.

Apple Cookie Bird Feeders
With your child, make a batch of sugar cookie dough that can be rolled out for use with cookie cutters. Use an apple shaped cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. With a straw, poke a hole at the top of the cut out so that you can hang string through it after it is baked. Place the shapes on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake them according to the recipe directions. When they have cooled, string a piece of yarn through the hole. On one side of the cookie, spread a thick layer of peanut butter. Sprinkle and press bird seed onto the peanut butter. Have children hang the feeders on the branches of a tree that they can see from inside. Keep track of the different types of birds that come to visit and enjoy the delighted squeals of the children as they see their cookie bird feeders being put to use.Article continued below.

Apple Placemats
Children love having their own placemats when eating, and this apple filled holiday makes for a great theme for such a craft. Have each child decorate an 11-inch by 18-inch piece of construction paper using apple stencils, stickers, and stamps. If you want to keep with a true apple theme, choose red or green paper for the background. Once the place mat has been decorated to the child's liking, have him write his name on the back. Laminate the paper using a professional laminating machine or clear contact paper that can be purchased at many large discount department stores. When you trim the covering, be sure to leave at least half of an inch around the edge to prevent it from coming apart.

While doing the crafts above, also check out age appropriate children's books to reinforce the story of the apple orchards in the United States. Focusing on short vowel sounds, colors and the alphabet also come naturally from an apple theme idea. This year, make September 26th a special tribute to the father of the apple orchard, Johnny Appleseed.

Jessica Ackerman is a freelance writer and works for She shares her wealth of knowledge on outdoor patio clocks and garden wall art.

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