Apples in the classroom

A delightful way to introduce the letter “A” to children is through the story of Johnny Appleseed and apples. Johnny Appleseed is a legendary figure who roamed the frontier regions of North America in the late 1700s and early 1800s, planting apple trees along the way.

Through his story, children learn about the importance of apple trees and how they provide food, cider, and even shelter for wildlife. The story also teaches children about the value of hard work, persistence, and kindness.

Johnny Appleseed’s real name was John Chapman, and he was born in Massachusetts in 1774. He traveled westward and planted apple trees in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. His love for nature and desire to spread joy and goodness inspired him to plant apple orchards everywhere he went. He also shared his apples and seeds with anyone he met, including Native Americans and settlers.

In addition to his love for apples and nature, Johnny Appleseed was known for his eccentric clothing and lifestyle. He wore a tin pot as a hat, and he never wore shoes because he believed that going barefoot was healthier.

When we learn about the letter A, we talk about apples. I have an apple peeler/corer/slicer that I usually bring to school. Each child brings an apple and we do lots of activities about apples. I decided this year I needed a cute outfit to go with our theme. I was able to explain to my children what Johnny Appleseed Day was. We made an apple craft, did some apple math and graphing and I read some apple books.

Johnny Appleseed Day is September 26, to celebrate his birthday. When I googled Johnny Appleseed Day I found some great information at, you can read more about him here:

Directions to make your own Johnny Appleseed costume

You know when you search for a really good apple pie recipe on Pinterest, you click on the best-looking picture to get the recipe and they leave out a bunch of steps? Yeah, that’s how I cook and also how I paint. I view painting as messy and fun, it is my creative outlet. So here are your really crappy directions:

  1. You need a flannel shirt. Preferably in the red tones. I found mine at the local thrift shop in the men’s department. Mine was a little snug and it was 80 degrees outside so I wore a tank top and left it unbuttoned and rolled up the sleeves. I rolled up my jeans as well.
  2. You need a pot on your head. My lovely red set of pots did not provide me with what I needed. My rather large head (thanks Dad!) did not fit in the pots with one side handle and I thought the stockpot would look a little silly. I looked at the pots at the thrift shop. However, I didn’t think it was in my best interest to try them on in the store. People might stare. So I made one out of paper, aluminum foil, and a toilet paper roll. I stapled it all together at about 10:00 the night before I needed it.
  3. You need dirt on your face. You can be authentic and head out to your yard. I went into my make-up bag and pulled out my old bronzer from when I thought I would spend the morning contouring my face even though I usually put my lipstick and eyebrows on in the car on the way to work.
  4. And finally, you need a seed sack. I had a paper grocery sack that I cut into pieces and stapled together. My mom offered to sew me one, maybe we will work on that for next year. I used a Sharpie to write the word “seeds” and I painted some apples on the bag.

Have Fun making your own preschool teacher-style Johnny Appleseed outfit! Overall, Johnny Appleseed’s story is an excellent way to teach children about the letter “A” and the importance of nature, hard work, and kindness. By sharing his legacy, we can inspire a new generation to appreciate the wonders of nature and to become good stewards of the earth.

Pray as you can; not as you can’t.”

-Johnny Appleseed

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I enjoy doing God's work from the church basement where I have been a preschool teacher for the last 18 years. My husband and I have two newly grown and flown children. Our son just graduated college and is working his dream job and my daughter just got married and is in her first year teaching preschool at our church. It is a joy to see her everyday at work.


Beth · September 28, 2022 at 3:54 pm

Just wanted you to know that I found your post searching desperately for simple ideas for my two year old’s Johnny Appleseed dress-up day…ahem…tomorrow. Thank you for the great ideas!

    joyandsunshinecollective · September 29, 2022 at 10:57 am

    Thank you so much for sharing. I never know who reads my posts. I am sure that he made an adorable Johnny Appleseed!

October · March 3, 2023 at 6:54 am

[…] National Apple Month: October is National Apple Month, so why not go apple picking as a family? You could also make apple cider or apple pie at home. Do you celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day in class? Read my Johnny Appleseed blog post here. […]

National US Holidays for September · March 4, 2023 at 6:16 pm

[…] Johnny Appleseed Day (September 26th): It is always fun to teach the children in your classroom about Johnny Appleseed. I like to dress up, you can see my outfit here. […]

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