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2020-11-16news-articleNews<p>Apples can be a simple and fun activity to bring connection to ourselves, families and friends. Hopefully, you will soon find yourself meandering about and picking apples in one of our beautiful orchards in New England.&nbsp;</p>

Feeding Tips - Apples

November 16,  2020


Life can be so challenging particularly now with COVID; a presidential election; and back to “home schooling” for families. How can we find joy in the simple things? I haven’t gone apple picking in years but after calling ahead for COVID procedures, I recently enjoyed an afternoon in the orchards getting away from it all. There are 2500 varieties of apples grown in the US and 100 varieties sold commercially! I recently discovered the Macoun and have deemed it my favorite. Traversing the orchard, I began to think about how apples could be used to lighten our burdens and to bring joy to our busy and stressed lives. So, here’s a few ideas…

Educational: Alphabetizing all the varieties with matching photos could surely keep a young elementary school child busy for hours while improving their early literacy skills. The names are even fun to say and will build an impressive vocabulary: Jazz, Gala, Ambrosia, Granny Smith, Northern Spy, Mutsu, cosmic crisp, Duchess of Oldenberg and King of the Pippins and so on! For history buffs and future organic farmers writing an expose on; “explorations of the apple in historical and popular culture” could be right up their alley. Young toddlers could help sort apples to gain skill in categorizing and grouping items with similar qualities. For our children on the spectrum who love numbers and letters, apple graphing, (what is your favorite apple?) and counting games that are done together could strengthen social connection between friends and family members.

Picky Eaters: For our picky eaters; apples can be modified in so many ways to help lessen sensory defensiveness and rigid tendencies by exploring them through touch, smell (think cinnamon), texture, taste, temperature and shapes. Try cutting out different shapes with small cookie cutters using apple slices. This can help a child explore a non- preferred food with touch. For our pretend play, I like peeling an apple in front of a child to make curly snakes or funny looking tongues hanging from our mouths. As a young child, my mom introduced me to a Foley Mill, a utensil that mashes and sieves soft apples into applesauce; a very satisfying experience to say the least! In general, many fine motor skills are generated with all sorts of utensils: kid’s chopsticks, potato masher, peeler, kid safe knives (curious chef kids), kebob sticks, colorful hors d’oeuvre toothpicks, corn cob holders, tongs, straw berry hullers and so on. Picky eaters will often interact with a non-preferred food using various kitchen utensils as a buffer for stressful triggers during food exploration. As far as food play/snack ideas, please visit Pinterest. The creative ideas for apple play/snacks abound this time of year and are sure to entice a picky eater. Other websites, such as and sell unique feeding items with many different themes to thrill the princess, construction worker, and animal lovers. Lastly, Chop Chop Family:  a subscription family cooking magazine infuses families with fun approaches to healthy cooking.

And finally,

For the budding comic: Try these jokes out!

What do you get when you cross an apple with a shellfish? Answer: a crab apple!

How do you make an apple turnover? Answer: Push it down the hill!

What lives in an apple and loves to read? Answer: A bookworm

Who is a favorite relative of an apple? Answer: Granny.

Apples can be a simple and fun activity to bring connection to ourselves, families and friends. Hopefully, you will soon find yourself meandering about and picking apples in one of our beautiful orchards in New England. 

For more information or to schedule an occupational therapy evaluation at Spaulding Lexington Outpatient Center, please contact our front desk at 781-860-1742.

Carol P. Oakes OTR/L