The Beauty of Fall

Learn why leaves turn colors & have fun with leaves.


Image provided by Shutterstock

“Why is the night getting shorter?” “Why are the leaves changing color?” “Why are they falling off the trees?”

Maybe your kids are already past the why stage, and if so, count yourself lucky. But if not, do we even have answers for all these questions? The changing seasons are intriguing for kids, and exciting for us adults as well. And it always helps to know a little bit about what’s going on!

Why do leaves turn colors?

As the days get shorter and cooler, deciduous trees react by getting ready for their dormancy in the winter. As we all learned in biology class, leaves make the trees’ food through photosynthesis. But with less light, there’s not enough energy to keep up this production. So the chlorophyll in the leaves starts to fade away, and the reds and oranges that have been part of the leaves all summer starts to shine through. If this is a little too scientific for your two-year-old to understand, make it easy by saying they’re just not needed for food anymore.

Although the drought conditions aren’t anything to take likely, they might in fact mean a brighter leaf season this fall. Warm, dry days followed by cool, crisp nights are what create the best fall foliage shows.

Enjoying the Season

For us adults, raking is a chore. But remember the fun you had as a kid jumping into a huge pile of leaves? Before you drag those leaves down to the curb to be collected, why not let the kids enjoy a few leaps. It’s a great way to motivate them to help rake!

And after they’ve had some fun outside, take them on a hunt for the biggest, most colorful leaves in the yard. These work great for crafts. Here are a few to try this month with your family.

Fall Leaf Placemats

Fall Placemats
Collect an assortment of colorful leaves. Arrange them between two pieces of waxed paper. Put a dish towel underneath and on top, and then run a hot iron over it for a minute or two. The wax will transfer to the leaves, keeping them bright and enjoyable for quite a while. Use colorful duct tape to make borders for your placemats.

Leaf People

Leaf People
You’ll need: Leaves, glue, wiggly sticky eyes, yarn and straps of fabric.
Lay the leaf in front of you with the stem edge down (stem pointing towards you). Cut pieces of yarn and glue it along the top edge of the leaf to be the hair. Glue on the wiggle eyes just below the hair line. Use the scrap pieces of fabric and cut out the appropriate shapes for clothes. Glue the clothes on and set your leaf people aside to dry.

Leaf Rubbings

Leaf Rubbing
(Great for younger kids)
Pick out a big, nice shaped leaf. Place it on a flat surface, then cover it with a piece of paper. Color over it with a crayon, and the leaf will magically appear!

If you liked these crafts, you might also enjoy creating a Fall Leaf Candle Jar

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