We are lucky to have 2 large apple trees in our back garden which produce cooking and eating apples and each year we head off to harvest them directly from the tree and picking up the windfall so that the path doesn't become too slippy with the windfall apples rotting away. Many of the windfall apples especially this year are beyond use in the kitchen as they have been laying around for a couple of weeks whilst we were on vacation so many were added straight to the compost a few were good enough for some crumble and a couple were heavily bruised but still solid enough that they would provide an excellent opportunity for T to practice some Practical Life Skills.
After collecting our apple harvest this last week we separated and sorted the windfall and brought in a couple that weren't rotten but too soft, damaged for cooking and set up a life skills activity for T to complete on the kitchen table.
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Material for Windfall Apples Practical Life Skills
Windfall apples or ordinary apples if you don't have windfall
Child friendly knife - we use a Pampered Chef Knife but have heard great things about the Curious Chef Nylon Plastic Knife
If your chopping board is prone to slipping use a Non-slip baking mat underneath to prevent it moving around.
Windfall Apples Practical Life Skills
We are doing more and more cooking with the kids at home helping them to try new foods and rediscover old favourites that they have decided that they don't like any more and one of the skills that they need is of course knife skills - we're quite good for cutting soft fruit especially after use our playdough knife skills activity over the summer a few times. However, I don't like wasting food so haven't had the opportunity for some knife skills with some harder fruit and different shapes.
After collecting in the apples I set up the windfall apples on a solid chopping board placing a non-slip baking mat underneath so that it wouldn't shift whilst we were cutting and T set about cutting up the apples.
I started off by helping her position to cut open the apple to discover the apple star - when we cut up apples together I always cut down the centre from the stem, however by cutting in half a special little star can be found right in the middle of the apple.
Whilst we were cutting I helped her position her hands and move the apple around so that she had a secure hand hold on it as well as moving her fingers to go behind the knife well away. One of teh reasons we spent extra money on the knives is that they are safe for kids to use in the kitchen.
As she worked through chopping the apple smaller and smaller it was easy to see her knife skills improve from trying to press down on the knife to start to use a sawing action with the knife.
Once we had chopped up the apples we then added them to the compost and will be using the compost in the garden next year not wasting any food but using the produce to practice skills essential for life.