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.
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.
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.
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:
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.