One of my favorite parts of fall is going apple picking with my family. It provides so much input for our son’s sensory diet – the proprioceptive work of climbing ladders to pick apples, the tactile input of hay rides and holding smooth, shiny apples, the auditory and oral sensory experience of crunching into a freshly picked apple, the olfactory and gustatory delight of just-brewed cider… And, did I mention, the plain old fun?
With all this in mind, and since this month is National Apple Month, let’s take a look at some wholesome ideas for adding apples to a home or school sensory diet.
This Month’s Challenge: Apples
Original Purpose: A fine autumn fruit to eat
With Sensory Savvy Lenses: a tool for –
- proprioceptive input
- tactile input
- auditory input
- vestibular input
- olfactory input
1. Auditory, Vestibular and Proprioceptive Fun with an Apple Song
Hold hands and play a circle game to the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.” Skip in a circle in one direction while singing the first verse. Then, act out the second verse. Return to the first verse to skip in the opposite direction than you did before. Then, go on to the next verse. Continue until you’ve hit the entire life cycle of an apple. The verses go:
Here we go round the apple tree, the apple tree, the apple tree. Here we go round the apple tree on an early autumn morning.
This is the way the seeds were planted…so early one morning.
This is the way the seed sprouted…on an early spring morning.
This is the way the sapling grew…on many summer mornings.
This is the way the tree grew strong…through many early mornings.
This is the way the flowers blossomed…on an early spring morning.
This is the way the apple grew…through many summer mornings.
This is the way we picked the apple…on an early autumn morning.
2. Vestibular Laughs with Apple Tumbling
Roll an apple across a floor or down a hill. Then, roll or somersault to try to get it. To add to the challenge, try to shape your body like a real apple by holding knees into chest under chin.
3. Proprioceptive, Tactile and Possibly Gustatory Challenge with an Apple Obstacle Course
Set up a typical obstacle course, but at the beginning of it put a bowl of apples (in water if you wish.) Have child try to pick up an apple without using hands (under chin, between knees, with elbows, or for gustatory input, with mouth). Then, have child try to navigate as much of the obstacle course as possible holding the apple in the way it was picked up or in hands.
4. Balance Apple Tree
Have child stand on one leg and hold out arms, pretending to be an apple tree. Then, offer child apples to balance/hold in hands, on arms, under chin, on top of head, etc. while still standing on one leg. See how many apples the tree can bear.
5. Olfactory and Tactile Exploration with Apple Pie Scented Playdough
Whip up a batch of your favorite homemade playdough, adding a generous portion of cinnamon and nutmeg to it. If not allergic, dye some red and leave some plain. Then, let your child fashion pies, trees, apples, etc. out of it.
6. Proprioceptive Apple Picking Races
Put a basket of apples on one side of a playing space and an empty basket on the other. Running, skipping, using various animal walks or using a scooter board, try to pick the apples from one basket and get them into the other.