Sweet Apple Towers

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Sweet Apple Towers

September 10, 2014

‘Tis the season for lots and lots of apples. Whether you go apple picking with your family ,or just grab a few at the store, you likely celebrate the fall harvest in your home. My kids love helping us bake them into treats but sometimes we just want to enjoy the wonderful qualities of a fresh, crisp and juicy apple.

You can use apples in many crafts, but that often means you won’t be able to snack on them. I wanted a project to keep my kids busy for a while, but also let them snack on the fresh fruit. You know, to heed the advice of that old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Build and Snack with Apples

Inspired by a post at Fun at Home with Kids, I decided the boys and I would build apple towers and more, together. Kids love to build and create structures, so constructing with apple pieces and toothpicks seemed like a perfect idea.

The setup for this activity is easy. Chop up at least one large apple per participant into small pieces and place the pieces onto a large, clean platter. Supply everyone with toothpicks and sit back and watch.

Learning While Building

All three of my boys, that includes my husband, had a blast. My youngest focused on how to make a base that would allow his sculpture to stand up alone. My older son experimented with different shapes and connected them in the most stable way he could find. He had done the marshmallow version of this at camp and said this was much better because the apple pieces didn’t melt in his hands.

Challenges

• Who can build the tallest tower? What shape provides the most stable base?
• Can you construct a geodesic dome?
• Distribute a specific number of apple pieces and toothpicks to each person and see who can build the tallest structure within their limited supply of materials.
• Set a time limit for building to see how that impacts the end result.
• What figures, beyond abstract art and towers, can you sculpt using only the apples and the toothpicks?

Be sure to have more apples ready for another day. My kids have already asked to try this again and they want to see if one variety of apple is better than another. I happy to oblige, but I’m not sure if they’re concerned about apple’s taste or how they perform structurally!

For more apple fun on Bedtime Math, be sure to try these apple chips and don’t miss the Apple Swans daily math problem.

Photos courtesy of Beth Levine