Fall is apple season! Learn about different apple varieties and create delicious family memories with this fun apple tasting activity for kids.
Did you know there are over seven THOUSAND varieties of apples in the world?! Crazy, right? And even if you don’t count all the obscure ones that aren’t widely available, there are over 100 varieties that are grown commercially in the United States alone.
Growing up, we mostly ate Red Delicious (which are actually one of my least favorite kinds) and Granny Smith, but that’s just the beginning! My own family definitely has their favorites (honeycrisp), but I thought it would be fun to get a bunch of different varieties and put them to the test!
And that’s how this apple tasting activity was born. I hoped it would be a fun family activity, and I got really excited about it as I designed the official “taste test” sheets. But then I started to doubt if my kids would actually think it was fun…or if it would totally flop.
Do you know what happened when I gathered everyone around on a random Monday evening?
They absolutely LOVED it. We spent an entire hour sitting around the kitchen table tasting apples, choosing our favorites, laughing, and making memories. It was one of the best evenings we have enjoyed together in a long time. And it was so simple!
Want to host your own apple tasting activity? Here’s how:
You can make this activity more formal if you’re using it in a classroom or as a homeschool activity, or you can keep it super simple and free-form if you just want it to be a fun family activity on a Friday night. Here’s what you’ll need if you want to do the FULL version:
- Several varieties of apples: I recommend 5-7, but feel free to get a little crazy and use more.
- Apple Taste Test printable: Print enough of these (below) for each person.
- Apple label cards: Cut and fold these cute tent cards to label your apples.
- Cuttingboard & knife (or apple slicer)
What are the most common varieties of apples?
- Red Delicious
- Golden Delicious
- Granny Smith
But don’t limit yourself to the popular varieties. If you can find them, try out cosmic crisp, cortland, cameo, empire, pink lady, ambrosia, opal, or any others that look interesting to you. The whole idea is to find new and interesting flavors!
Ready to get tasting?
- Prepare the apples: Slice your apples and place them on separate plates with labels where everyone can access them.
- Hand out the taste test materials. Give each person an “Apple Taste Test” sheet and a pencil to keep track of their thoughts and observations during the activity.
- Explain the activity: Build excitement by explaining that you are going to be both scientists and food critics as you explore and analyze the unique flavors of different apple varieties. Encourage everyone to use their senses to describe the apples.
- Start Tasting: Choose an apple to start with. Discuss the apple’s appearance, smell, taste, and texture. Use the taste testing sheet to write the apple’s name, draw its coloring, and record your observations.
- Repeat with all the apples: Continue this process until you have sampled all the apple varieties. Discuss the differences between them and see if you can identify which apples are sweet, tart, or have a unique flavor profile.
- Vote for your fave: Have each person vote on their favorite variety of apple. See which ones are most popular with your group. In our house, Fuji and Honeycrisp were the favorites.
- Blind taste-test: Can you tell the difference between a Granny Smith and a Gala just by tasting them. Maybe so, but what about a Fuji and a Braeburn? Try blindfolding your family members and see who can guess the most apples correctly! Even after having just tasted all of them, you may be surprised at how hard some of them are to identify. This was my boys’ favorite part of the activity!
Want more apple fun?
To extend the apple-themed family fun, consider these additional activities:
- Apple stamping: Use the leftover apple slices for apple stamping art projects, especially if you cut the apple horizontally and show kids the “star” inside.
- Make applesauce: Use leftover apples (or buy extra) to make some homemade applesauce. It’s SO easy! Here’s my favorite pear-applesauce recipe you can make in the Instant Pot.
- Apple Nachos: This is a tried-and-true after school snack at our house. Give it a try!
- Build apple towers. It’s a super simple STEM activity that kids will love.
- Pick your own: Find out if there is an apple orchard near you and plan a family outing so kids can see where their food comes from!