This apple counting activity is a simple, yet effective way to each one to one correspondence in a thematic manner, and it pairs perfectly with other apple themed preschool activities, as well as fall or autumn themes.
Apple themes are easily one of my favorites to teach. I don’t know if it is because it comes so early in the school year and I haven’t had a chance to start wishing for a break, or if there really is something about apples that are so intriguing.
Although, in full disclosure, who can resist sharing a fresh crispy apple that is just the right combination of sweet and tart? (Well, I can. I’m pretty selfish when it comes to a great fall apple).
But my point is this, we all love apples, and as such we all love doing apple activities in preschool because our enthusiasm penetrates our students, making them excited and curious about one of our very favorite things that fall offers us.
So this apple counting activity is always welcome in preschool, and no matter how I change my lesson plans, I always include this activity, in addition to some of our others. Partly because of the above, but also because I’ve made a FREE printable to go along with the original activity, which makes it ideal for differentiating class instruction.
I love to introduce this as a class, often during circle time or during small group math instruction, and then I leave the counting mats in our math center so children have the option to select them as they like.
Apple Seed Counting and Subtraction Activity
Let me start out by sharing that not all preschoolers are ready for subtraction activities, and that is absolutely ok! This apple printable doesn’t have number sentences to fill in. It just introduces the very basic concepts of “taking away” from a group. If your preschoolers are ready for it, they will most likely need some supervision.
But, it’s a great printable for kindergarteners!
***This post has recently been updated to include a free printable, if you are not inclined to make your own felt apples. You can download the printable at the end of this post.***
- 0-5 dice
- felt in red, white, brown, and green
- small black buttons or black beans
Directions for Making the Felt Apples
Use a template from the internet to cut out an apple shape from the red and white felt, making sure to make the white piece slightly smaller than the red. Use the brown to make a stem, and the green to make a leaf. Use hot glue to glue everything together as shown in the photo.
Paper apples will work just as well, which you can download and print off at the end of this post. If you plan to keep paper apples from being damaged by little hands, then I certainly recommend they be laminated. (I have the Scotch Thermal Laminator 2 Roller System and love it. It is perfect for the desk, and does a nice job laminating my preschool materials.)
The Apple Seed Counting Activity
To execute this activity, invite your preschooler to roll the die and identify the number. I purposely chose not to use a dot die because I wanted my preschoolers to become more familiar with numeral names. Once the numeral has been identified, your preschooler can then count out the corresponding amount onto the apple, thus counting the “apple seeds.”
For a more advanced version, challenge your preschooler to compare two sets of seeds. If working alone, he can compare two apples he has rolled for, or a partner can roll for the second apple. Once the seeds are set out on both apples, preschoolers can identify which apple has more seeds.
Another option is to use a die with a higher set of numbers, say 11-16, or use two dice and the total from both dice must be added to the apple.
Really, there are several possibilities. Even at its most basic form, this activity is a wonderful one to teach or reinforce one to one correspondence skills.
For more ideas on how to teach one to one correspondence, take a look at these posts:
Apple Drop Counting: a One to One Correspondence Math Game
One to One Correspondence Cards
Egg Carton Counting: Teaching One to One Correspondence
It’s a Zoo! A Preschool Counting Game
Dot Counting Cards
Apple Seed Subtraction Mats
This is a new addition to this post. As I stated earlier, not every preschooler will be ready for subtraction, even in its most basic form, such as that found here. If at any point your preschooler feels frustrated, or continuously makes mistakes, that’s a sign to come back to the subtraction mats when he’s had more practice with basic counting.
For the subtraction mats, select a set of numbers that will allow your preschool to experience success. Choose numbers 6-10, 11-15, or 16-20, depending on their skills level.
Invite your preschooler to identify the number at the top of the apple seed subtraction mat. Count out the corresponding number of black buttons or beans and place them on the mat. Then, roll the dice and take away that number. Have your preschooler count the number of apple seeds left over.
I like to work one-on-one with my preschoolers as they get the hang of all the steps. Once they get to the end, I will point to the beginning numeral on the mat, and say something like (example):
You started with 16 seeds. Then you took away four seeds, and now you have 12 seeds!”
Doing this will get your preschooler used to simple mathematical language used in subtraction.
Get your apple seed counting and subtraction mats here!
Apple Themed Picture Books
If you are considering this activity as part of an apple theme in preschool, consider the following books. They are some of our favorites.
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I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction