Apple Theme Gross Motor Learning

I’ve heard a rumor that Fall is approaching.

I still feel like I’m melting in the heat, but this fun Apple activity may tide me over until the crisp weather arrives in Texas. It’s sure to get kids moving and learning!

Apple Themed Gross Motor Learning for preschool
Disclosure: Amazon links included below.

Proprioceptive Sensory Input

My son has special sensory needs. Because of this, I’ve done a lot of research into the connection between movement, learning, and the brain. Gross motor activities not only engage large muscle groups, they stimulate the brain to LEARN!

Apple Themed Gross Motor Learning

I like to especially focus on one particular area when we do gross motor activities: the proprioceptive sense. While not a well-known term, this sense is essential for everyday function. Proprioception is the sensory input people get from their joints and their ligaments. It is what gives us body control and body awareness.

There are loads of ways to get proprioceptive sensory input: jumping, climbing, carrying weighted objects, getting a bear hug–these ALL help the body feel regulated and ready to learn.

Apple Gross Motor balls

Apple Movement Game

We bought a dozen stress balls shaped like apples for our gross motor learning games. I wrote a number 1-12 on the bottom of them. (Though you could choose to do letters as well.)

Scatter the apples throughout the room and let the children crawl, jump, or slither to the nearest apple. The goal is to get their bodies working hard! Once they grab an apple, they have to call out the number or letter to you. I increased the difficulty for my son by asking him to find all the numbers and place them in order.

apple gross motor finding numbers

A simple add on to this activity is to instruct your child to squeeze the apple as many times as the number on the bottom of the apple. It’s an easy way to get proprioceptive input and strengthen little fingers, too! Count together (building math skills). Isn’t it great to multi-task!?!

apple gross motor squeezing ball

One final way to get gross motor sensory input while learning is to have the child toss the apples into a basket. There are a variety of ways to change the physical difficulty level. Distance, height, underhand or overhand. You could even challenge your students to bend at the waist and throw it backwards through their legs!

apple gross motor tossing balls

I like to add simple addition to this activity. When two apples are in the basket we discuss what the sum of the two numbered apples would be. Example: “Look, this apple says ‘3’ on the bottom and this apple says ‘1’. If you add one to three, it equals four!”

Remember, when you combine movement and learning, the results are amazing and the possibilities are limitless!

Apple gross motor ball

Profile JulieBIO: Julie writes at My Mundane and Miraculous Life, a resource for parents who take a hands on approach to their children’s education. She is the mother of two tornados (with another on the way). Her son’s Sensory Processing Disorder changes how they live daily life, but they’re better off for it! You can keep up with the blog on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

More Apple Ideas—
Apple Counting Book
Apple Print Number Line
Oatmeal Apple Sensory Play
Apple Tree Play Dough Activity

apple pinterest board
Follow my Apple Theme Pinterest Board for more great ideas!

Apple Print Number Line

Ten Apples Up on Top has been a favorite book in our house since we read the board book version when the girls were babies. It is one of the first books my nearly 4-year-old, Big M, memorized and started reading on her own, and ‘reads’ to her little sister, Lil’ M. And now, even my 2-year-old reads it to herself.

Ten Apples Up On Top Apple Print Number Line
Disclosure: Amazon links included below.

Early Math Skills

Ten Apples Up on Top is a great book to teach early math skills. I give Dr. Seuss full credit for teaching both girls how to count to 10 before their second birthdays!

We recently used this book as inspiration to create a life-size number line with apple prints. Creating a number line teaches preschoolers number sequencing and one-to-one correspondence as well as demonstrates written numerals are representative of groups of objects. The written numeral “3” is representative of three apples, for example.

Ten Apples Up On Top Apple Number Line

Apple Print Number Line Supplies

To make your number line, you only need a few basic supplies. It can also be easily created with a group of children, with children taking turns making apple prints.


  • Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss
  • Red and green tempera paint
  • Apple
  • Paper plates
  • Craft paper
  • Painters’ tape
  • Plastic forks (optional)

Ten Apples Up On Top Apple Prints

Preparing the Number Line

Using painters’ tape, tape up a length of craft paper on the wall. We are big fans of using builders’ paper for crafting. It tends to be less expensive, comes in bulk quantity, and is more durable to withstand lots of paint and glue. Write the numbers 1 – 10 across the top of your craft paper.

Next, cut your apple in half vertically. Squirt red and green paint on two separate paper plates, and swirl the apple halves around in it. After a little trial and error, we found it helpful to insert plastic forks in our apple halves to make it easier to lift out of the paint.

Ten Apples Up On Top Apple Print Stamp

Making an Apple Print Number Line

Once it was set up, I let Big M start making prints. Encourage children to press the apple firmly to the paper, and reapply paint each time to get the best prints.

Apple Print Number Line

We alternated colors for each number to help make the groups of apples stand out. As she made her prints, we counted each one aloud and talked about how many MORE we needed. (This will build more number sense and introduce math vocabulary.)

Ten Apples Up On Top Number Line

At our house, one of the biggest challenges is always keeping Lil’ M entertained with her own version of a project. I set her up with her own paper, paint, brush, and apples. Big M thought her little sister’s creation looked like the apple explosion at the end of the book!

Ten Apples Up On Top Apple Prints  for preschool

Hang your completed Apple Print Number Line in your classroom or home for continued learning and fun!

Playground ParkbenchBIO: Meghan is a former hedge fund professional turned SAHM to Big M (nearly 4), Lil’ M (2), and a baby boy due next month! She writes at Playground Parkbench, where she shares at-home activities for kids, parenting tips and financial savvy for the household CEO. Find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!

More Apple Posts—
Ten Red Apples: Counting Trees
Apple Hedgehogs: Fine Motor Activity
Apple Science Experiment
Apple Pizza Snack Activity

apple pinterest board
Follow my Apple Theme Pinterest Board for more great ideas!

Apple Hedgehogs: Fine Motor Activity

These hedgehog apples are the perfect way to keep kids entertained while they practice their fine motor skills. Fine motor skill development is important for later writing skills and hand work. Use this activity for a fall theme, apple theme, or animal theme.

Apple Hedgehogs Fine Motor Activity for preschool
Disclosure: Amazon links included below.

Fine Motor Skills Practice

In this activity children place toothpicks, or spaghetti, into an apple half to practice their fine motor skills.

Fine motor activities—

  • Help develop the fine motor control muscles in the hands.
  • Prepare the hand to learn to write.
  • Make it easier to learn handwork skills.

Apple Fine Motor Activity


Apple Hedgehog Supplies

  • Apples
  • Safety toothpicks with one blunt edge (or pieces of spaghetti)
  • Raisins (optional)

Make the Hedgehog

Cut an apple in half and place on work surface. Set aside.

To make hedgehog head:

  • Cut a small slice of apple in half.
  • Carve apple with knife to make a head.
  • Carve eyes out with knife or thumbnail.
  • Place raisins in the eye sockets.

Attach head to the body using a toothpick. Pierce toothpick through the nose all the way into the body.

Place a raisin on the blunt edge of the toothpick to make the nose.

make apple hedgehog

Invite the Child to Make the Apple Hedgehog

Place hedgehog head and body on a work surface. Invite your child to place toothpicks into the half apple body. Fill up the surface of the half apple with toothpicks to make a hedgehog.

Apple Hedgehogs Fine Motor Activity

Hedgehog Facts

You can extend the activity by learning about hedgehogs.

  • The hedgehog got its name because the animal roots through hedges and other undergrowth in search of its favorite food, making all sorts of grunts and noises.
  • They eat small creatures such as insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs, and snakes.
  • Hedgehogs are easily recognized by their spines, which are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin.
  • They have about 5000 spines. Each spine lasts about a year then drops out and a replacement grows.
  • The hedgehog is nocturnal, coming out at night and spending the day sleeping in a nest under bushes or thick shrubs.
  • A hedgehog measures around 23 centimeters (9 inches) in length and has a 4 centimeter (1.5 inch) tail.
  • They can weigh up to 2 kilograms (about 4.5 pounds).
  • The hedgehog has a powerful forefoot and claws for digging.
  • They have a particularly long, extending snout beyond the front of their mouth which they use to help them forage for food.
  • There are 15 species of hedgehog.

Making hedgehog apples is a great way to practice fine motor skills. Developing the fine muscles in the hand is necessary for later writing and handwork. While making a hedgehog adds a fun element to the activity, you don’t have to make a hedgehog for this to be an effective way to practice fine motor skills.

Here are some books about hedgehogs that are perfect for preschoolers:

BIO: Nell believes in the magic of childhood, spending more time outdoors than indoors, and making this world a greener place to live. She is the creator of Rhythms of Play — where parents can find simple tips, crafts and activities to keep the kids busy all day. Check out her amazing All Season Hand and Fingerprint Tree. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

More Apple Posts—
Apple Tree Alphabet Game
Oatmeal Apple Sensory Play
Apple Orchard Dramatic Play
Apple Pizza Snack Activity

apple pinterest board
Follow my Apple Theme Pinterest Board for more great ideas!

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