Fall is officially here and the evidence is all around us! From shorter days, to falling leaves, Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasonal changes! We want to see fall in your neck of the woods! Show us how you and your little one(s) are Chipper for Fall by sharing your favorite Fall photo to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram and hashtag #Chipper4Fall!
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 and 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 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! See 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!
Autumn is the Harvest season so let’s harvest healthy habits with our FREE downloadable Chipper’s Helping Hands Lesson Plan! Print out some some hands here or buy your very own Helping Hands Activity Kit, including tree poster, hand post-its, the book, and a Chipper plush!
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!
Here’s a beautiful Autumn video to inspire you! Have a very Chipper Harvest Season!