Vibrant colors, crisp air, pumpkin spice everything – fall is here. After a hot, humid summer, the change of the seasons is nourishment for the soul. While Halloween festivities and hayrides are on your mind, October is also National Apple Month. Be sure to pick up a few bushels of apples for your group, and read on to discover why “October is the Apple of My Eye.”
APPLE SAMPLING – Most produce sections in grocery stores are brimming with apples this time of year. Select an assortment for your group to sample. Slice the apples, then give each participant an apple slice, one variety at a time. Talk about the texture and taste – does this particular variety taste tart or sweet? After each member has sampled each variety, take a poll for the best-tasting apple. Reveal the apple varieties at the end of the activity.
HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE & APPLE BUTTER – Many of your members can probably recall making homemade applesauce and apple butter with their parents and grandparents. Bring back those memories by making a batch with your group. Find a crockpot applesauce and/or apple butter recipe online for an easy kitchen activity. The aroma will fill the room as it cooks throughout the day. Once it cools, be sure to serve it to your group, on fresh-baked bread if possible.
STAMPING WITH APPLES – Turn apples into art by stamping with apples. Prepare the apple stamps ahead of time by slicing apples in half and firmly inserting a fork into the outside of the apple. The fork will serve as a handle for the stamp. Give each participant a piece of white paper. (Art paper would be best.) Instruct participants to dip the apples into paper plates filled with red, yellow, and green acrylic paint. (You can also use tempera paint or finger paint.) Then, they can stamp the apple onto their paper, however they desire. Try stamping with other fruits and vegetables too, such as a starfruit, potato, or mini pumpkin.
BOARD GAME TUESDAYS – Introduce your group to the game, “Apples to Apples” this month. Purchase the game online or at a local bookstore. If the normal play of the game is too difficult for your group, try adapting the game. Remove phrase cards with pop culture references that your group may not know or understand. Give participants fewer phrase cards to choose from. Play as a group; give each participant two phrase cards while you select one adjective card. Then, read aloud the adjective card, and as a group, choose which member has the best phrase card that matches the adjective.
VISIT THE APPLE STORE – Take a trip to the nearest Apple Store and show your group the latest technology. The Apple Store gives customers the hands-on experience, allowing them to play with iPads, iPhones, and more. Call ahead of time to arrange a special tour with an employee.
iHELP VOLUNTEERS – Speaking of technology, recruit tech-savvy high school students this month and start a weekly or biweekly iHelp program. Members who have smart phones, tablets, or laptops can bring their questions and devices to the volunteers and learn more about how to operate them or troubleshoot problems.
FALL FOLIAGE & APPLE ORCHARD TOUR – Don’t miss the opportunity to take in the beautiful fall foliage colors in your area this month. Add a detour on your way to or from an apple orchard, or simply take members out for an afternoon drive. If you do head out to the apple orchard, arrange for a special tour or tasting for your group. If you choose to do a drive, make a stop to pick up apple donuts for your group.
APPLE TREE REMINISCENCE – October 20 is the Sweetest Day. Celebrate with “Apple Tree” reminiscences. Your group is sure to remember the song, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” made popular by Glenn Miller and the Andrew Sisters. Gather your group outdoors and reminisce about their sweethearts. Who would they choose to sit under the apple tree with? Did any of your members have a wartime sweetheart? Ask about first dates, marriage proposals, and honeymoon destinations. Because it’s the Sweetest Day, serve apple pie and coffee. Sing the apple tree song with your group.
BOBBING FOR APPLES – For a fun gross-motor game, try this twist on bobbing for apples: Place a small tub or large bowl on a table, fill it with small apples, and then fill the tub or bowl with water. Place another small tub or large bowl about a foot away from the first container. Instruct participants, one at a time, to use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer as many apples into the empty container as they can, in sixty seconds. For a challenge, ask participants to use one hand or their non-dominant hand.
APPLE SENSORY SORT – Make two trees out of an empty paper towel rolls. Cut the paper towel roll in half, width-wise. Next, cut out two six-inch circles from construction paper, one red and one green. Glue one circle to each half of the paper towel roll, then tape the paper towel rolls to the bottom of a small, flat container. Fill the small container with red and green pom-poms, purchased from a local craft store. Using small tongs, instruct the participant to sort the pom-poms by color; the red pom-poms get placed in the paper towel tube that has the red circle attached and likewise the green pom-poms in the green paper towel tube. Reminisce with participants about apple picking, making apple pie, and other fall activities.
APPLE PIE PLAY DOUGH – Here’s another fun sensory activity. Make a batch of apple pie play dough with your group. Use it for one-on-one or other sensory activities. Roll it out and use an apple cookie cutter to make fun shapes.
BONFIRE & HOT APPLE CIDER – Gather your group around an outdoor bonfire for a fun fall evening. Serve hot apple cider and make s’mores. Reminisce about Halloween, football games, carving pumpkins, and making caramel apples.
APPLE PHRASES – There are many phrases and songs about apples. How many can your group come up with? Here are a few to get you started, then head over to Oxford Dictionaries for an explanation regarding these apple idioms.
- The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
- How do you like them apples?
- Don’t upset the apple cart.
OCTOBER IS THE APPLE OF MY EYE TRIVIA
- Which fairy tale features an evil queen, seven dwarfs, and a poisoned apple? Snow White
- Which U.S. state is the number-one producer of apples in America? Washington
- How many apples does the average American eat per week – one, three, or five? One
- What game involving apples and a tub of water was once a Celtic New Year tradition that helped a young lady determine her future spouse? Bobbing for apples
- Apples are a member of which plant family? The rose family
- Name popular apple varieties grown in the U.S. Red Delicious, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji (and others)
- Which apple tree is the only apple native to North America? Crabapple
- John Chapman introduced apple trees to large parts of the Midwest in the 1790s. What was his nickname? Johnny Appleseed
- Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne were the founders of which company that uses an apple as its logo? Apple Inc.
- Apples are the second most-valuable fruit grown in the U.S. Can you name the first most-valuable fruit? Oranges
OCTOBER IS THE APPLE OF MY EYE THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ~ Martin Luther
“October Is the Apple of My Eye” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2018 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reprint Policy: To reprint or republish all or portions of this entry, you must acquire written permission and agree to link back to the original source. Please contact us at [email protected] to obtain permission.