It’s Johnny Appleseed’s birthday today, but you can use this finger play and story any day. Johnny (John Chapman) is remembered for planting apple trees throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He was well known and liked for his kindness and generosity, so say “cheers” to him today by eating an apple.
You can also give him a “cheer” with this finger play.
Apple Tree (You can say it or sing it to the tune of “This Old Man.”)
Way up high in the tree, (Point up.)
One red apple smiled down at me. (Hold up 1 finger and then smile.)
I shook that tree as hard as I could. (Pretend to shake a tree.)
Down came an apple, (Bring down one hand.)
Mmm! Mmm! Good! (Pat tummy.)
Adapt the number of apples, or use other fruits:
Two yellow pears… (Hold up 2 fingers.)
Three purple plums… (Hold up 3 fingers.)
4 orange peaches… (Hold up 4 fingers.)
5 green limes… (Hold up 5 fingers.)
Make a flannel board from a file folder to use as a follow up for this rhyme.
And, here’s a story that I bet Johnny would have loved.
Materials: shopping bag or grocery sack
Apple (red delicious works best), knife
Directions: Put the apple and knife in the bag and have it on your lap as you begin to tell the story below. Insert children’s names in your classroom to capture their interest.
One day first child’s name went to visit grandmother. Grandmother said, “How would you like to go on a secret mission?” “Oh, I’d love that,” replied first child. So grandmother said, “I want you to find a little red house with no doors and no windows. There should be a chimney on top and a star in the middle.”
First child was so excited as he set off on his mission. As first child was thinking about what it could be, he ran into second child. “Do you know where I can find a little red house with no doors and no windows. There should be a chimney on top and a star in the middle.” Second child said, “I’ve never heard of anything like that, but would you like me to help you?” “Sure,” replied first child and off they went.
They walked on a little further until they saw third child. “Have you seen a little red house with no doors and no windows? There’s a chimney on top and a star in the middle.” “Gosh. I don’t know what that could be, but would you like me to help you?” replied third child. So off they went on their mission.
The story continues as more children join in the search.
Finally, the children had about given up when they ran into grandpa. He was on his way home from the store with something he had bought. “Grandpa,” the children said. “Grandma sent us on a mission. She told us to find a little red house with no doors and no windows. There’s a chimney on top and a star in the middle. What could it be?”
Grandpa laughed, “Well, I have the answer to your riddle right here in my sack.” And he pulled out an apple. (Pull the apple from your sack.) The children said, “How does that solve our riddle?” Grandpa said, “This apple is like a little red house. See, it’s round and the stem is like a chimney.” “But where’s the star?” wondered the children. Grandpa took a knife and sliced the apple in half. (Take the knife and slice the apple in half diagonally.) “And here’s the star!” The children were amazed to see that sure enough, there was a star in the middle.
Grandpa said, “You know people are like this star. We’re different sizes, colors, and shapes on the outside. But if you look inside, you’ll find a special star inside each person you meet!”