Young children will learn that apples grow on trees.
Time: 15 - 30 minutes
Ask children these questions:
- Where do apples come from? (from trees)
- Where do apple trees come from? (from seeds)
- What happens when we put apple seeds in the ground? (an apple tree grows)
Introduce story about “a man who planted lots and lots of apple trees...who had a very funny name...”
Explain how the children can help tell the story: Whenever they hear the words “apple seeds” they should curl up in a little ball with their arms wrapped around their scrunched up legs; whenever they hear “apple trees” they should stand up tall with their arms spread over their heads in a circle.
Tell this story and encourage the children to participate:
“A long long time ago a baby boy named Johnny was born in Massachusetts. He was a gentle boy who loved nature. He loved baby chickens, and cows in the pastures and he loved apple trees. He loved to walk in his father’s orchard any time of the day. The apple trees were so lovely and peaceful in the warm sunshine. And when a storm came the wind would blow and the rain would come down! The apple trees swayed in the wind. Then the storm would pass and the sun would come out and the apple trees would soak up the warm sun and the apples would grow red and ripe and juicy.
Inside every apple were four or five apple seeds. The boy Johnny knew that if you planted apple seeds, apple trees would grow. Johnny began to collect apple seeds. Then when he was a grown up, he packed up his bag and gathered up all the apple seeds he had saved and he traveled far from home to places where there were no apple trees growing in pretty orchards.
He went to Pennsylvania and Ohio and Indiana, always walking and walking and walking from one farm to another. Everywhere he went he gave away apple seeds and tiny brand new apple trees. People took the seeds and planted them and made orchards full of beautiful apple trees. Everyone looked forward to a visit from the apple seed man -- the funny man who always went barefoot even in winter, the man who never ate meat, the man who carried great sacks of apple seeds wherever he went, the man who loved apple trees.
The farmers began to call him Johnny Appleseed and that is the name we know him by to this day.”