Take a Child Outside

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves

  • Thursday, September 24, 2020

It's Take a Child Outside week! Each day, a new activity will post on the event calendar to inspire your family with ideas and activities to get outside together.

fall color leaves

Fall is here! The cooler temperatures recently are signaling to us that the season is changing. Pretty soon, you'll start noticing leaves changing too.

The Science behind it: In the fall, the day length shortens and temperatures begin to decrease. The cool temperatures and decreased sunlight leads to less chlorophyll (the green pigment) production in the leaves. Existing chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down revealing the yellow and orange pigments that's been in the leaves. Red pigments result from sugars trapped in the leaves when the plant severs the connection with the leaves before they fall off.

Go Explore! Take a leaf walk. As you are walking with your children, look for different types of leaves (think different shapes, colors, or sizes!). You can take a nature journal and trace or draw what you find.

Get Creative! On your walk, collect some of your favorite leaves. You should only collect leaves that have fallen on the ground unless you have permission to pick them. Bring your leaves back home for an art project. My favorite thing to do with leaves is a colorful leaf rubbing.

Supplies: blank paper (thinner works better than construction or heavy paper), crayons, leaves

Place a leaf veins facing up under a piece of paper. Remove the paper wrapper from the crayon and use the crayon on its side to rub back and forth over the area where the leaf is. Younger children might need an extra hand to keep the paper still while they are rubbing over the leaf. Older children (and parents) might enjoy taking their leaf rubbings to the next level. If that's you, go over to The Kitchen Table Classroom for some cool leaf art ideas!

Be a leaf scientist! Choose a family tree in your yard or nearby to watch and record the changes the tree goes through over the next several weeks (make sure it's not an evergreen). It'll be fun to see if it changes faster or slower than you predict!

Take a Child Outside, September 24–30

An initiative of The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and inspired by Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods, Take a Child Outside week was founded to help connect children with nature.

Visit the Museum's Web site to find out more about this annual week and other locations to go explore the outdoors with your children.

All Ages.
Please contact Elizabeth Overcash, children's program coordinator, at elizabeth_overcash@ncsu.edu for more information about this program.