Fall Colors for #PlayfulPreschool
This week’s #playfulpreschool theme contains activities centered around FALL COLORS (Red, Orange, and Yellow). All throughout the school year, the Playful Preschool blogging team will be working behind the scenes to offer activities and suggestions just for your students or children. Please visit the home page of this blog each Wednesday morning to see new theme-based ideas for playful learning!
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WHY DO FALL LEAVES CHANGE COLORS?
Almost every teacher or parent of a preschool child is asked the question: “Why Do Fall Leaves Change Colors?” Often, parents (and even some teachers) do not quite remember WHY leaves change colors…they JUST DO! Experimenting with colors and exploring fall leaves with preschoolers is fun play as the vibrant colors of fall leaves appear!
Fall Leaves Change Colors by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is intended for children ages 5-6, but the book is easily adapted for preschool! We use this book as a resource in our classroom and we read it every fall! While some of the vocabulary may seem a bit advanced for preschoolers, you’ll be surprised at how easily they catch on! With a little experimentation, the book can bring great insights into the brilliant colors of leaves young children find in the fall!
Why Do Leaves Change Colors?
- Leaves need sunlight, air, water, and chlorophyll to make food (sugar) for the tree.
- Chlorophyll is the green dominant pigment in leaves during the spring/summer. The green pigment hides the other colors in the leaf.
- Leaves get less light each day in the fall and stop making food to prepare for the winter.
- The chlorophyll (green color) fades and other colors (mainly red/yellow/orange/tan) in the leaves begin to show.
- The stems of the leaves will weaken (without food) and the leaves fall from the trees.
Maple Leaf “Color, Scratch, and Reveal”
The maple leaf scratch and reveal is a fun activity to help cement the idea that the green pigment (chlorophyll) in leaves masks all the other colors.
Materials needed: Maple leaf template (linked here – Maple Leaf Template), a coin for rubbing, and orange/yellow/red/green crayons.
Print the template for each of the children to heavy paper. Set out the orange/yellow/red crayons and invite the children to color the maple leaf. The children may choose to use a combination of colors or just one color. After the children have finished coloring, invite the children to use the green crayon to color leaf until you can no longer see the color underneath the green (see photo above). Using a coin, invite the children to scratch off the green crayon to reveal the leaf color(s) underneath. Remind the children that as the green color (the chlorophyll) fades, the beautiful fall colors in the leaf are revealed. NOTE: supervise children who still mouth objects carefully when using coins or other small objects in activities.
EXCAVATING FALL LEAVES – a simple leaf and sugar tray
The leaf sugar tray is another way to explore the concept of chlorophyll fading from fall leaves to expose other colors.
Materials needed: Green Sugar or Green Sand (to make your own, rub green chalk into sugar or sand on a paper plate), a paintbrush, a large tray, and assorted colors of real leaves or assorted green/yellow/red/orange fall craft leaves or table scatter.
Set all of the fall leaves out on a large tray. Cover the leaves with green sugar or green sand. Give the children a paintbrush and have them gently “excavate” to find the various colored leaves under the sugar. Remind the children that the green sugar/sand is like the chlorophyll (green pigment) in leaves. In the fall as the days get shorter, the chlorophyll fades (they brush it off) and the other colors in the leaves will appear.
Materials needed: One graphing printable (linked here – Fall Leaf Graphing in Preschool), crayons, and red/green/orange/yellow craft (or real) leaves.
After excavating leaves from the sugar tray, invite the children to sort their leaves by color and count the number of each. The children can color one box on the printable for each leaf of the corresponding colors they found in the sugar tray. It’s a fun extension activity for incorporating graphing skills into fall play!
For other posts in the #playfulpreschool series, visit:
FAMILY and HERITAGE THEME ACTIVITIES
For More FALL COLOR Themed Preschool Activities from the PLAYful Preschool Education Team:
Fall Colors Modeled Writing in Preschool by Fun-A-Day
Fall Colors Water Mixing by Still Playing School
Exploring Fall Colors With Gourds by Little Bins For Little Hands
Why Leaves Change Colors by The Preschool Toolbox Blog
Learning With Preschool Songs: The Leaves of the Trees by Growing Book by Book
DIY Fall Color Word Book by The Educators’ Spin On It
Learning Number Words with Fall Colored Leaves by Tiny Tots Adventures
Fall Tree Number Matching by Mom Inspired Life
Colors of Fall Sensory Bin by Life Over C’s
Foot Painting The Fall Colours by Learning to Walk
Exploring Fall Colors in Paint by Powerful Mothering
Autumn Colours Plant Science at Rainy Day Mum
Make Your Own Fall Potpourri at Capri + 3
Join us tonight at 9:00 EST for a live Google Hangout where we share what activities we are doing for the fall color theme in our homes and classrooms.
The sugar tray! The graphing! The science facts! I love this whole post!
Devany – thanks so much! They ARE fun activities to try in the Fall!
What thoughtful and hands-on ideas to explore leaves changing colors. I love the sensory tray!
Thanks, Sarah – for visiting AND your comment! Happy Wednesday!
Danielle @ Mom Inspired Life says
I LOVE the sensory tray for explaining how leaves change colors! That’s such a great idea!
Danielle – our kids like it, too! We had a lot of “sugary” hands this week, lol. Thanks for your comment!
Jodie @ Growing Book by Book says
I really like the bar graph activity!
Jodie – we do, too! It’s great early math for preschoolers! TY for visiting!
This is a WONDERFUL learning post about the reasons leaves change color. I love all of your inventive ideas. We will be trying these out!
Theresa – thanks so much for your comment! Appreciated!
You did an excellent job explaining such a complicated topic. I am excited to see some of our leaves change!
Amanda – thanks so much for your comment! Ours are turning now!:) So beautiful!
Cerys from Rainy Day Mum says
Fantastic post – we’re going to be making scratch off leaves this week great Science for preschoolers
Cerys – glad you tried it! Wonderful leaves you made!:) Thanks for visiting and your comment!
I see that they have to do a little searching for this activity. We love activities where we have to play search and find.
Natasha – we like discovering and searching, too. AHHHH what’s under that green color?:) Thanks for visiting and your comment!
Nicolette Roux says
this looks great!
What an awesome idea for exploring why leaves change colors! I look forward to trying it out with my kids!
Kim – thanks so much for your comment AND visiting! It’s a simple, yet fun way to help kids understand!
Mary Catherine says
Such awesome activities to explore fall leaves! I especially love the scratch off leaves!!
Mary Catherine – it’s fun and SIMPLE.:) Thanks for your comment! Have a great weekend!
I have a confession: I have NEVER thought of why leaves change their colour. Chalk it up to growing in a Caribbean country where seasons were marked by the fruit that was in abundance. That being said, I think we shall be trying the leaf excavation VERY soon.
Alecia – we even learn a little from each other from time to time.:) Thanks so much for visiting and your comment! Happy Saturday!
Alana - eSpectacularKids says
I love this hands-on activity! The kids that I teach love collecting the big autumn leaves and bringing them into class, so it would be great to be able to do a fun activity with them. We also spend so much time learning about the seasons but sometimes it’s hard to get the information to stick, and I think activities like this would help!