Ten Apples Up on Top Play Dough

Fall and apples  go hand and hand for us, so we always like to find some new ways to play and learn with apples this time of year. Recently my youngest child learned to read Ten Apples Up on Top all by herself, and she’s very proud. She’s been reading it over and over again, so I thought we’d do some follow up activities to go along with her enthusiasm.

This is also a terrific book to use at home or in the classroom for a letter A week, apples theme, or book-based study like we have in our lesson plan set.

Ten Apples Up on Top Play Dough Invitation


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  • Brown play dough (We scented ours with apple pie spice to give it an extra sensory touch.)
  • Small artificial apples-You can use real apples, but you may not be able to stack quite as many apples. Our apples are from Walmart, and they are about 1.5 inches in diameter. I found these apples on Amazon. They are a bit bigger but still lightweight, so they should work well if you are not able to find any locally.
  • Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss

Apples and play dough

Once you have your materials on hand, set up is very easy! Just place the apples out next to your play dough and leave them out for kids to explore freely at first. Give them time to play with the items as they’d like and observe as they make their own discoveries about the materials.

Math and Science with the Ten Apples Up on Top Play Dough

Introducing the STEM Challenge

In addition to free play, this play dough invitation can be used for a variety of math and science activities. Once kids have explored the materials I’d suggest sitting down together to read Ten Apples Up on Top.  Then introduce the STEM challenge and encourage kids to try stacking as many apples as they can using the apples and the play dough. They’ll have fun trying to see if they can make it all the way to ten before their apples come toppling over.

Ten Apples Up on Top STEM Challenge Book-Based Activity

Practice Sorting

You can also use the apples and play dough to practice sorting the apples by color.

Sorting Apples by Color -Apple Play Dough

Making Patterns

Try using the apples to make different kinds of patterns. For beginners you can make a pattern and ask kids to try and copy it. Older children can create their own patterns. Encourage them to try different types of patterns beyond the typical ABAB pattern.

Apple Patterns

Count and Compare

Another way to use this play dough set is to practice making towers of different sizes. Kids can start at one and add a new apple each time to build a set of increasing towers. As they do take time to discuss how many apples are in each tower and compare the amounts using words like more/greater than and less/fewer than.

Apple Counting Towers

Don’t feel the need to do all of these activities in one sitting. Revisit the play dough set multiple times over the course of a week or so to slowly introduce each concept with kids or they might lose interest.

What other activities do you think would work well with this set? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.

More Apple Resources

Are you teaching an apple-inspired theme soon?

Check out our apple theme lesson plans. We have a general apples theme and a book-based Ten Apples Up on Top theme that goes perfectly with this activity. Both are full of hands-on learning activities that include reading, math, science, fine motor activities, sensory play, and more.

Apples Home Preschool Activities        Ten Apples Up on Top activities-home preschool lesson plans

These sets are designed for home preschool, but we’re thinking of you too classroom teachers. We’ll have classroom versions available for your use soon!

Ten Apples Up on Top Play Dough Activities

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