Create a simple apple washing bin for your toddler or preschooler with just a few household supplies. This part science, part sensory activity gives children the chance to explore the physical attributes of apples as they scrub away. The bonus: you end up with clean apples.
Related: Looking for other super easy activities for toddlers? Check out my favorite list.
Washing stations are a classic activity
There are just some activities that are staples.
This style of activity works well with kids: they have a task to complete and kids love a mission. If you have kids who love to work towards a goal, washing stations might be the right kind of activity for them too.
Busy Toddler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.
- Storage container: I love a 28 qt bin for all our sensory style activities
- Smaller storage container: think something shoe box sizes that will fit in the larger bin
- Sponges: This one is actually from this toy set
- Wash cloth
Notes: You can also use two separate bins for this activity (like two dishpans) set side by side. One bin can be for apples while the other is filled with clean water.
How to set up an apple washing bin
This activity is a simple set up and design, but it packs a whole lot of meaning, learning, and value.
In my 28 qt storage bin, I set a bag of apples. I’d just bought these from the grocery store so none had the quintessential “one toddler bite” out of them… yet.
I also added a second bin (shoe box sized) full of clean water. This would be our “washing” area. I also made sure each sponge and brush was clean, since we planned to actually eat these apples later.
Looking for more structure each day?
Check out Playing Preschool: Busy Toddler’s 190-day at-home activities program
Here’s how I explained the activity:
I didn’t set down some apples and tell my kids to get to work. Kids and activities can be a bit like asking a cat to participate in something. It must be their idea or on their terms. Hence, I really sold them on this idea!
“We NEED to wash the apples! They’re so dirty! We’ve got to get them clean, but I don’t have time. Can you do it?! Can you clean the apples?!”
What can kids learn by washing apples
The apple washing bin may look simple but this packs in quite the learning punch. In this activity, kids are getting up-close with apples in a way they may not have gotten to during snack time.
Holding the apple and investigating it, consider adding in some vocabulary terms to introduce to your child:
- Blossom end
At the end of the activity, cut open an apple to see the core, seeds, and flesh.
Books to pair with an apple activity
Consider pairing this activity with some apple-themed books. There are so many good ones to choose from.
Here are my favorite apple-themed books for toddlers and preschoolers.
- Apple Picking Day by Candace Ransom
- Apples by Gail Gibbons
- Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Frequently Asked Questions
They might – so here’s what I did to make sure my kids didn’t. We made a decision at the beginning of the activity that we would each select one apple at the end to be our eating apples. They each picked great ones.
Nope, and here’s why: Kids are great at understanding rules and boundaries. In the bathtub, kids know they can splash and pour water. They know they can’t do that at dinner. Set the rule at the start of the activity that dumping is a no-go during the activity…but a yes at the end.
Remember: this stages not ages. Kids have varying likes, dislikes, interests and concentration levels – but those don’t necessarily flow on a timeline. Look at the stage your child is at and think “would they enjoy this?” That’s all you need to know.