That’s this activity’s ranking in the list of experiences called Activity Days. So even though you will see from the background of some of my pictures that this activity was done during Christmastime, I have decided to still share it with you. Seriously, apple pies can be made any time of the year! So put this activity on your calendar soon and then you’ll see for yourself that it belongs in the “favorite” column, too.
Honestly, if you could see 12 little 10-year-olds busily moving from station to station in my kitchen, peeling this, pouring that, sprinkling those, rolling more….then it would be your favorite, too. Here’s how it went down:
1. Find someone who knows how to bake a lovely pie and would be willing to teach a bunch of girls (Nancy was our pick and she is even lovelier than her apple pies).
2. Pre-mix pie crusts for how many pies are needed, roll them into balls, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate (Nancy did this part – see, I told you she was even lovelier than the pies). It’s not ideal to pre-make the crust dough like this but it’s reality when you have a dozen pies to crank out in 90 minutes.
3. Have each girl bring their own pie dish and 5-6 Granny Smith apples (be prepared for softer apples, too). We just told them to being 5-6 apples and I wish I had just said Granny Smith up front. It would have been easier – even if someone forgot and brought something different. Granny Smiths are more firm and work on the peeler/corer/slicer the best.
4. Ask a bunch of mothers or fathers to help with the activity. This was an all-hands-on-deck kind of thing and went so smoothly because we were prepared with people to help.
5. Gather some supplies in multiples: apple peeler/corer/slicer machines like this one, rolling pins, one bowl for each girl, large spoons for stirring, measuring cups and spoons according to recipe (Jana was our ingredient queen!), and knives for peeling (when the apple is too soft to work with the machine…or the machine gets jammed….or the apple gets stuck…trust me, you need some paring knives).
We ended up with about 5 peeler/corer/slicer machines for 12 girls. You’d think that was plenty – and it was. But we realized quickly that one adult had to stay in charge of helping each girl with the various machines and fixing them when they jammed or the apples were too soft. We had two fabulous moms with paring knives in hand, ready to take the apple off the machine once it got jammed and peel/slice it by hand (Patty was there to help but Monica saw a need and decided to stay as well – love her for that!). I had also tried clamping all of the slicers to my countertop beforehand and some of them wouldn’t fit the depth of my granite. So, we used a board and the edge of cutting boards to clamp the slicers. It required someone helping to hold the board down but I like when they have to work together so it was great by me to do it this way.
Each girl had a mixing bowl from my cupboard that they used to transport and mix all the filling ingredients and apple slices.
There were three stations:
- apple peeling/slicing (3 adults)
- measuring sugar and other ingredients (1 adult)
- rolling out the crust (2 adults)
After a 10 minute lesson from Nancy about pastry handling (less is better!) and how to build their pies, the organized chaos began!
The girls moved from station to station according to what they needed. The timing wasn’t exactly equal for each station so we just had them go to the next station when they were ready. Amazingly enough, it actually worked this way! By the time the 90 minutes was up, we had 12 beautiful girls with 12 beautiful pies – edges pinched, centers cut for steam and some of them with a leafy decoration or two from extra dough (thank you, Staci)! It was one of the most gorgeous sites I have ever seen. The proud looks of each of those girls who knew that THEY had created something from scratch was quite the image. And as everyone pitched in to help clean up (especially the saintly mothers who worked their tails off), the place was spic-and-span by the time the clock chimed 90 minutes.
Let me tell you something. I have never baked a pie (I was the jammed slicer/corer fixer). But a whole bunch of 10-year-olds have. And I’m so happy to have been a part of giving these girls this experience. Chalk it up as one of the best activities ever – but a word of caution….I believe that it worked so well because we were organized and prepared – with tools and capable people. This is not an activity for the feint in heart! But well worth the effort if you just take a little time to think it through and stay organized. I would also recommend saving this activity for the 10-11 year-olds instead of the 8-9 year-olds.
The grins stretched ear to ear as each girl proudly held their pie high and carried it home to bake. Yum. Pie is always better when made with love and by the end of this activity we had 12 dishes overflowing with plenty of sugary, apple love!
Coming Next: a goal-setting activity for Activity Days and Cole’s Third Birthday Party! Stay tuned.