Painting with apples is a classic process art activity for preschoolers. It’s perfect for your next preschool apple theme, fruit theme, or harvest theme.
Related: Fall Activities for Preschoolers
Of course, you don’t really need a specific theme to paint and stamp with apples! You can set it up when your students express an interest in apples or when you have a few not-quite-edible apples on-hand.
Painting with Apples
Apple stamping is a pretty common activity for early childhood classrooms, I know. But it’s common for a reason . . . the children love painting with apples!
Materials We Used
You really only need apples and some type of paint for your apple stamping art. You can always add a few more tidbits if you’d like.
Below are the various materials we’ve used when painting with apples over the past few years (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post). I like switching things up a bit depending on the kids’ interests and abilities, as well as the materials we already have on-hand.
- Tempera paint (red, yellow, and green)
- Paper plates or trays
- Corn cob holders
- Lollipop sticks
- Apple pie spice
- Ground cloves
- Ground Cinnamon
- Construction paper
Keep in mind, we didn’t use all of these materials at any one time. We picked and chose each time we painted with apples.
Related: Scented Apple Sensory Bin
How Do You Cut Apples for Apple Stamping?
Once you’ve gathered the materials you’d like to use, it’s time to cut the apples! I suggest cutting the apples in half for the best outcome. When the kids are painting with apples that are cut in half, their resulting prints are more likely to look like apples.
Cut the apples down the middle vertically or horizontally, and you’re good to go!
Which Way Do You Cut an Apple to See the Star?
Of course, if you really want to wow the kids, you should cut the apples horizontally. This will give you a top half and a bottom half of the apple you’ve cut. Then pull the halves apart and reveal the star hiding inside the apple! This star is, of course, made up of the seeds and seed cavity inside the apple.
Of course, you can cut the apples however you’d like before the process art fun starts. It’s fun to cut the apple in a variety of ways. Then let the children compare and contrast what their paintings end up looking like.
Tips for Painting with Apples
You have your materials and you know how you want to cut your apples. It’s almost time for the apple stamping bonanza.
Before you jump into it, here are a few more tips to keep in mind:
Little hands might need some help to grip the apples. I’ve had an apple or two go flying during an apple art activity, let me tell you! Here are a few ways to make the process easier:
- Stick a fork into the apple.
- Place a large wooden craft stick in the apple.
- Lollipop sticks work great as apple handles.
- We have had great success putting corn cob holders into the apple halves
- Cut a little grip into the apple.
Related: Fall Messy Play Ideas
In addition to thinking about apple grasping techniques, you need to consider the paint situation. I find it easiest to squirt some tempera paint into a shallow dish or onto a paper plate. This lets the children stamp the apples into the paint easily. If you can use a tray or plate with a little lip, even better. Then the kids can wipe off excess paint if they want.
I also highly recommend covering your tables and having the children wear smocks. My students in the past have REALLY gotten into this! Which results in a bit of a mess. I’m not one to shy away from a mess, but it’s nice to have easy cleanup plans in place.
How to Paint with Apples
Now it’s time to start painting with apples! Since this is inherently a process art activity, you need to trust the children’s processes. There are multiple ways to paint with an apple, and each child will have a different preference and focus.
Some children will want to meticulously focus on apple stamping. They’ll carefully press the apple onto the paper over and over again. I find these children love seeing the apple shape painted on their papers.
Other children are going to want to slide the apple around the paper. They love the movement of the art process, as well as the color mixing fun.
Still others will try their hands at rolling the apples side to side on the paper. Or stamp with extra paint that splats out all over their page. They’re experimenting with different angles and paint trajectories!
There are even more ways children can paint! Maybe your students will introduce you to a new way of painting with apples.
What Do Kids Learn While Painting with Apples?
There’s a lot of learning taking place as the children paint and paint with their apples. Here are some of the concepts it explores:
- Sensory (seeing, touching, smelling)
- Thinking outside the box
- Color identification
- Color mixing
- Descriptive vocabulary
As your students are painting, they might have some questions about apples. This is a great time to chat about the apple life cycle, facts you’ve learned during your apple theme, favorite apple dishes, and so much more.
Have you ever tried painting with apples in your preschool classroom? What did your students enjoy the most?
More Apple Stamping Ideas
I mentioned that this is a pretty classic apple activity, right? Because of that, there are many different versions of it. Here are a few more ideas you might want to try . . .
Try painting with apples AND spices! We love adding apple pie spice, ground cloves, or ground cinnamon to the paint before it dries.
Stamp the apples in the shape of letters or numbers. You can write the kids’ first initials on a piece of paper. Then let them stamp over the letter using the apples.
Incorporate the apple prints into a hands-on apple graphing activity with your students.
Stamp the apples over an apple outline. Once it’s dry, you and the children can cut the apple shape out.
Add some faces to the apple prints! The kids will love giving their apples some googly eyes and hand-drawn mouths.
Use the apples to make brightly-colored pop art.
Make a colorful fall tree with your painted apples.
Or make your own pumpkin patch using the apple prints.
No matter what you end up doing, your students are definitely going to have a blast painting with apples!
Apple Lesson Plans
Planning meaningful lessons for students week after week while balancing other teaching responsibilities and your personal life can be a daunting task. That’s where Preschool Teacher 101 comes in . . . to save you time!
Grab a fully-developed, done-for-you set of apple lesson plans for your preschool classroom. It comes complete with book suggestions, weekly plans, detailed daily plans, related printables, and more. Tons of apple-y goodness in a little over 250 pages!
Here are a few more apple-themed resources to add to your repertoire! Click on the images below for more information. You can also find us on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Make sure you stop by and join The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101‘s waiting list. You’ll be the first to know when we open enrollment for new members!
Originally published October 2012.