African woman and her son picking up apples in orchard in autumn. in an apple orchard during apple p...
filmstudio/E+/Getty Images

Tips For Apple Picking With Kids

Grab your wagon and your wellies — it’s time to hit the orchard.

dvdwinters/E+/Getty Images
Pick the right apple orchard.

Look for an established farm with a diversity of varieties. Consider farming practices — is it organic? — as well as proximity, pricing, and whether they have other offerings available, like a café, a pumpkin patch or hay rides.

Mark van Dam/Moment/Getty Images
Know your varieties.

Every apple season is a little different, and most orchards grow many different varieties, so check the apple orchard's website or social media page for up-to-date info about which varieties will be ripe when you plan to go apple picking.

Kristyna Davidova/Moment/Getty Images
Check the forecast.

Whether you’re a family that gets outside rain or shine, or you’re more of a follow-the-sun kind of crew, it’s good to know what to expect on a day that’s sure to include a long drive on country roads and a lot of time outdoors.

Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images
Gear up.

Resist the urge to dress for the ‘gram. Even if the sun is shining, apple orchards are uneven and often muddy. Think burley shoes and comfortable layers — the day might start chilly, but the kids will work up a sweat running between the trees picking apples.

Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images
Bring a wagon.

Your kid will get tired of walking at some point during the apple picking fun. Just plan for that. Wagons are also useful for hauling your harvest if you plan to pick a lot of apples.

Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images
Bring your own bags.

Crates, canvas bags, and even old grocery bags work well for holding the apples you’ve picked. Backpacks are especially nice, because they’ll keep your hands free to wrangle kids and keep picking apples.

ZeynepKaya/E+/Getty Images
Explain apple picking to your kids.

Like Mr. Rogers famously said, kids like to know what to expect. Apple picking is fun, but it's also a big day — usually a big car ride, and then a lot of walking. A little explanation ahead of time goes a long way in making the day enjoyable for everyone.

Alexandr Sherstobitov/Moment/Getty Images
Know how to pick the best apples.

Unlike pears, apples stop ripening the moment you pick them, so it's important to choose ones that are ready to be picked. Ask for tips about how to pick ripe apples. Color and how easily the fruit lets go of the tree are usually good indicators.

Yana Tatevosian / 500px/500Px Plus/Getty Images
Treat the apples with care.

Be a little gentle — hard for the littlest apple pickers, we know — with the fruit after you've picked it so that you don't end up with a wagon (or basket or bag) full of bruised apples.

martinedoucet/E+/Getty Images
Lay some ground rules.

Before you hit the orchards, lay some ground rules. The “rules” can be as simple as asking questions at the farm stand — like if it is OK to snack on the apples you’ve picked before you pay — and letting the kids know to follow the farm’s rules.

Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images
Make all the apple recipes.

With a bountiful harvest comes so much baking. Make all the apple cakes, apple pies and applesauce your heart — and family — desires. Don’t forget to invite the kids into the kitchen to bake with the harvest they helped score.

xu wu/Moment/Getty Images
Store your apples.

Apples you plan to eat immediately can be stored on the countertop. But, apples also store beautifully, so simply place any extras in the crisper drawers of your refrigerator and they’ll last for several weeks at least.

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!