Summer is starting to break a bit (gasp) and sooner rather than later it will be time to break out the turtlenecks and toques. The big sign for me that my favourite time of year is nearly upon us is the arrival of local apples at the market.
I am, thankfully, on the early end of my apple-related enthusiasm right now. The early yumminess is just starting to make its way off of the tree and into things like pies, apple sauce and more.
The Comox Valley is packed full of apple goodness and, while the sun is still baking a bit and I’m not quite ready to spend an afternoon, oven on, baking apple crisp, we are more in the mood for some apple-related science.
Our transparents in the backyard have been ready for a bit and the ones that get munched on by our early-morning backyard friends and then left for the compost bin are good pickings for some scientific exploration. (no waste since we wouldn’t eat them anyway)
Here are a few things we’ve tried lately:
1. Crushing these juicy apples (or throwing them in the blender) and leaving them in a jar on the counter for a few days makes for some serious coolness as, when you do that it starts to get gas bubbles inside the glass (“We made fizzie water” was the proclaimation from the 4-year-old crowd). That’s the yeast getting busy making some “hard” cider.
OK, so, since the raccoons took an early bite out of the apple and “hard” isn’t really kid-friendly, I don’t recommend taste testing this one. But, it was super cool to see bacteria in action.
2. An apple taste tester. Lists and comparrisons are big with our kiddo right now. She’s very interested in making sure she can remember her favourite foods, and which ones totally stink in her book. So, we started an apple chart.
Like a BINGO card, we’ve got a spot for all of the cool apples she tries and she’s got her own system for where they go on the card depending on how much she likes them.
The card is apple light right now until more varities come into season. But, she is liking the process.
This would be a great one for doing sit-down taste testings too, ranking them by sweetness, sour, juiciness, those kinds of things that make sense to kids.
3. Decomposition and bug houses. The last one we did that was super fun for the kiddo was super simple and produced the coolest long-term results – letting an apple core rot.
We took the apple parts we’d normally throw in the compost and found a little spot in the garden where we could put them (grandma would SOOOO not have appreciated us leaving them on the table in the greenhouse) to watch the bugs go to town.
She was completely fascinated by the creatures these cores attracted – from pestering fruit flies to slugs, beetles and other gooey creatures. We watched the cores disappear and had some funny stories going about fertilizing the gardens with apple sauce.
We had at least three good days of backyard science fun with these fruity experiments and it got us out of the doldrums that had set in from the heat.
Depending on what your kiddos are into, there are all kinds of fun apple science projects like:
- Checking out the seeds
- Stamping with apples (we cut the core into small stamps)
- Watching an apple brown and finding ways to keep it from doing so
So, if you are feeling a bit Fall-ish (or at least wishing for it), the kids are bored and apples are on your radar, give a few of these funky apple adventures a try.
Do you have any fun apple science projects? Add them to the list here!