A Fun Family Tradition: Bobbing for Apples

October 26, 2019
kid with an apple

My kids love traditions and so do I.  Family traditions are one of the things that help build a strong family.  And traditions don’t need to be anything elaborate or big.  They can be small things that you do over and over again that you and your kids look forward to.  On the simplest level our daily routines are traditions – reading together at bedtime, watching a certain show together every night – My husband is a big game show fanatic so my kids have been watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy with their dad since they were babies.


But sometimes traditions are a bit more – they can be a step away from the ordinary.  Something we can all look forward to.  I like to surprise my kids.  There are certain things that they anticipate – like Christmas in July, planting a jelly bean garden and our fall tradition of Apple Bobbing.  The fun part is they don’t know when these activities are going to happen.  I think that adds a bit to the excitement.  As a mom it also gives me a little flexibility.  If we are having a bad day or something comes up we can easily reschedule the activity. However, if the kids are expecting something – the activity needs to happen or else the kids will be disappointed.

Apple Bobbing

Today I am going to share a small autumn tradition that my kids love – Bobbing for apples and then devouring them drenched in caramel!

I don’t remember why I started this tradition. A few years ago when my son came home from school one random fall afternoon I set out a big bucket of water and threw some apples in it. 

Do you remember bobbing for apples as a kid? – I loved it.  It was such a fun fall activity.  But looking back, pretty disgusting that a whole class of second graders exchanged spit in a bucket of half bitten apples.  But, in my own home with my kids its ok.  They share their germs in so many other ways that it really doesn’t matter at all.

Adding Goggles to Apple Bobbing

Until it was my turn I had forgotten how challenging it actually is to bob for apples.  The kids were occupied for almost an hour the first year.  They even ran upstairs and found their goggles so they could really immerse themselves in the water.  It was hysterical!

It is interesting to see each of their personalities as they struggled to bite an apple.  My oldest was determined to do it the “right way” and would have kept his head in the bucket all night if that’s what it took.  My daughter was sneaky and I saw those hands in the bucket – she’s also the one who figured out to bite the stem.  And my younger son – He got frustrated and gave up.  Thankfully his sister told him to bite a stem!

How we set up for Apple Bobbing

It’s often chilly in October so I set up our apple bobbing station on the tile in my kitchen.  I put out a whole bunch of old towels and then simply fill a large drink bucket with water and apples.

towels on floor

 This year we were fortunate that we had a warm day so we were able to bob for apples outside!  Even if you are inside cleanup is pretty easy.  It’s just water.  And you already have towels on the floor!

The Yummy Part – Eating the Apples

My kids love apples and would be happy eating them plain or with a little bit of peanut butter. But since we are already having so much fun we normally combine this activity with caramel.  In years past we have attempted to make caramel apples but I always seem to do something wrong and the caramel and candy drip right off the apples!  This year I decided to be lazy and just bought caramel dip.

It worked great.  My five year old son is obsessed with the apple cutter so each kid had a plate of uniformly sliced apples.  I gave each kid a plate with candy corn, Halloween sprinkles and a couple scoops of caramel.

 Then they went to town and dipped the apples and decorated them with candy.  They had a blast – and ate way too much sugar.  Dinner was kind of a bust that night but it was totally worth it. 

The kids love this tradition and listening to them talk about apple bobbing and their strategies for success makes me so happy.  I know that it is something they are going to remember always.  As a mom I try so hard to create special and happy memories with the kids when we have extra time in the afternoons.  It is so easy to be bogged down with activities, homework and the daily grind.  Slowing down and doing something silly and fun with the kids makes for a special day. And that is what family traditions are all about.

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