Posts tagged ‘fall leaves’
Fall is officially here and the evidence is all around us! From shorter days, to falling leaves, to the coming Harvest Moon–Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasonal changes! Show us your photography skills and enter your best photo that shows the changing season or how you enjoy the Autumn season in Chipper’s Fall Photo Contest! The winner will receive Let’s Go Chipper’s Fall Fun Package along with our Get Ready to Fly Kit! Fly like a Leaf with our kit that includes a cute plushy back-pack and a fun activity book for the next time you travel with the kids. Plus, we’ll add some surprise Fall goodies for you and the kids! Don’t forget to vote for your favorite entry and share once you’ve entered!
We all enjoy the colors of autumn leaves. The changing fall foliage never fails to surprise and delight us. Have you and your little one’s ever wondered why and how fall leaves change colors? Why a maple leaf turns bright red? Where do the yellows and oranges come from? To answer those questions, we first have to understand what leaves are and what they do.
Leaves are nature’s food factories. Plants take water from the ground through their roots. They take a gas called carbon dioxide from the air. Plants use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen aneaves are nature’s food factories. Plants take water from the ground through their roots. They take a gas called carbon dioxide from the air. Plants use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. Oxygen is a gas in the air that we need to breathe. Glucose is a kind of sugar. Plants use glucose as food for energy and as a building block for growing. The way plants turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar is called photosynthesis. That means “putting together with light.” A chemical called chlorophyll helps make photosynthesis happen. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color.
As summer ends and autumn comes, the days get shorter and shorter. This is how the trees “know” to begin getting ready for winter.
During winter, there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis. The trees will rest, and live off the food they stored during the summer. They begin to shut down their food-making factories. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves. As the bright green fades away, we begin to see yellow and orange colors. Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along. We just can’t see them in the summer, because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll!
The bright reds and purples we see in leaves are made mostly in the fall. In some trees, like maples, glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Sunlight and the cool nights of autumn cause the leaves turn this glucose into a red color. The brown color of trees like oaks is made from wastes left in the leaves.
It is the combination of all these things that make the beautiful fall foliage colors we enjoy each year!
Helping Hands Fall Tree Craft:
Take your little one’s outside to observe and find some colorful Fall leaves! Se if they can name all the colors, and for older children, help them identify what kind of tree each leaf comes from. Once you’ve collected some Fall leaves, you can dry and flatten them in some thick, heavy books while you make a your Helping Hands Fall Tree!
Have your children write or draw how they help family, their friends, their community or the planet on their Helping Hand. Then color it and cut it out and tape or glue to your tree! This is a great project for teachers to do in the classroom and you can even add some of your real Fall leaves you found to the tree!
When is the last time you climbed a tree? When is the last time you piled the leaves high only to knock them everywhere; or wondered why the leaves change colors this time of year? The latter is a question just posed to me as I chased my daughter down the path with the dog close behind. We had just stopped to pick up a big cattail, my daughter was excited to have it as her tail. Once off her bike, she couldn’t resist picking and poking through the grasses to see if she could find something else: “a ladybug, piddle bug, anything, she said.”
Foraging around a tree she asked, “Mom, why are the leaves forgetting to be green?” Only a child could ask the question just so, but I was left blue without an answer. I promised to “look it up” when we got home.
The answer, of course, lies in the magic of nature. According to scientist there are many environmental factors that cause shrubs, plants, and trees to change throughout the seasons but let’s simplify so kids will understand the story and be excited to go out and explore.
A leaf is a food source and is dependent on air, water, night, and the light of day. It uses Chlorophyll to survive. Chlorophyll is green and covers up the leaf – and any of its colors – when it is living.
In the fall, the days are shorter so the leaf can’t get as much food from the sun. When this happens the chlorophyll breaks down and the green disappears revealing a leaf’s true colors like red, yellow, orange, and brown. The magic of nature is a great lesson to share …followed by crunching, crackling, and tumbling. The fall leaves are here.