The book The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons is a beautifully illustrated book detailing the life cycle of an apple tree. It takes children through the seasonal antics of Arnold and his dog, showing children what activities take place around an apple tree during each season.
This activity is a book tie-in (or extension) activity, meaning it works best to do the activity after reading the book with your child.
Goal of Activity: To identify and illustrate the life cycle of an apple tree using information learned from a book.
Skills Targeted: reading comprehension, presentation of learned information
- The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
- glue or glue stick
- A large piece of paper (16 inches x 22 inches is recommended)
- 2 pieces of brown construction paper
- 2 pieces of green construction paper
- scraps of autumn-colored paper or tissue paper (yellow, orange, brown, red)
- cotton balls
- a coffee filter or white tissue paper
Seasons of an Apple Tree Activity
1. Discuss the book with your child. Tell your child he is going to use what they have learned in the book to make a "Seasons of an Apple Tree" picture. Ask:
What are the four seasons of the year? What happened to Arnold’s tree during each season? How can you tell which season it is when you read the book? What does the tree look like in fall? In winter? Spring? Summer?
2. Fold the large piece of paper in half and then in half again. When you unfold the paper, there should be four boxes. Use a marker and a ruler to trace the lines between the boxes.
3. Have your child label each box with the name of one of the four seasons. It doesn’t matter what season he starts with as long as once he starts, he keeps the seasons in order.
4. Stack the the two pieces of brown construction paper together. Fold them in half from side to side. Have your child use a pencil or a marker to draw a tree .
5. Cut along the outline. When your child is done, he should have four tree trunks. Glue one in each box.
6. Give your child the rest of the supplies. Tell him that the cotton balls represent snow, the green paper is for leaves, the colored scraps are also for leaves, the coffee filter is to make blossoms and the red marker can be used to draw apples.
7. Ask him which supplies would go with which season. Once he’s got it figured out, ask him to make each apple tree on his paper look like it would during that season. (Let him have the book for reference if he needs it.)
If your child needs more help, here are some hints:
- The scraps of colored paper can be torn into pieces that look like falling leaves or simply crumpled up into balls and then glued on the tree branches.
- Pulling the cotton balls apart and gluing on the wisps can make snow look more realistic.
- If your child is tired of making leaves, he can simply cut a circle or semicircle of green construction paper to represent the spring and summer trees.
- Your child can either draw small blossom on the coffee filter and then cut them out to use or tear off pieces to roll and glue onto the tree.