Shake Painted Apples and Pumpkins

Paint some styrofoam balls and turn them into pumpkins and apples, perfect for fall decorating.

Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell is a wonderful story for preschoolers that describes a family's trip to the farm to pick apples and choose the perfect pumpkin.  When they get home they carve the pumpkin and pass out apples to trick-or-treaters.  This simple book captures the feeling and fun of fall perfectly.

This story is great to read before or after a trip to the apple orchard or pumpkin patch and provides the perfect opportunity for text to self connections.  But my kids also wanted to do a project for the book.  It was last minute so we made it up as we went along, and didn't go quite as I'd hoped.

I found some small styrofoam balls that I had gotten from the dollar store. I decided some shake painting was in order, so the kids each put a ball and some paint in an empty container with a lid. (We used an ice cream bucket and a coffee can.)  I had no idea if the washable poster paint we were using was actually going to adhere to the styrofoam or not.  It did.  However...

They put the lids on and shook.  And shook.  And shook.  But there was nothing moving in there.  We took the lids off and discovered that the balls were so light, they just stuck to the paint in one spot and didn't move.  I thinned the paint with some water and we tried again.

Their little arms were shaking those containers like crazy, but we still didn't hear any rattling.  Finally, I just reached in and coated them with more paint and then they started to roll around a little.  (I wish I'd have thought of putting something heavy like a golf ball in there to knock the styrofoam ball around, but lots of my great ideas occur to me way too late.)

By this point, the kids had lost all enthusiasm for the project.

They look like little planets, don't they?
Even the next day when the balls were dry, they weren't interested in turning them into apples and pumpkins.  But I'm stubborn determined, so I just finished them myself.  I used permanent marker, green pipe cleaners, and google eyes.

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  1. Love that book! And your apples and pumpkins are cute too! Styrofoam can def be a pain to paint sometimes. But when they want to do planets you'll already have a head start!

  2. We made spiders one year out of the stryofoam balls, used larger toothpicks, so the kids were able to hold the balls, and still paint them. They loved it!

    1. What a great idea! We'll have to try that next time.

  3. I saw this pinned on Pinterest and from the photo, I actually thought these were plastic clear Christmas ornament balls. And that you put the paint inside and swirled it around. And then stuck the pipe cleaners in the hole in the top. ;-) I think I might a few extra this Christmas and keep them until next fall and try the paint swirl that way. This is super cute though!! LOVE the idea even if it didn't turn out as you planned as an activity.

  4. This book by Anne Rockwell has been a staple of ours for many, many autumns. Thanks for linking up to The Children's Bookshelf.


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