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Diane Flynn Keith...

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Day 273: Go on a Leaf Walk

Take a walk on a crisp fall day to see all of the wondrous colors of the season captured in fall foliage. Use this opportunity to introduce words and terms your children may not have heard before like “fall foliage,” “Autumn,” and the names of various trees you see like elm, maple, birch, oak, etc. (Bring along a pocket field guide to help you identify different trees. You can also bring leaves home and identify them using this free¬†leaf identification guide.)

Talk about the colors you see. Leaves contain a pallet of color at this time of year including gold, yellow, orange, red, burgundy, brown, and green in all kinds of combinations and patterns. Your children may ask why the leaves turn color. Here’s a very simple explanation.¬† Use it in a way that makes sense for your particular child:

Leaves always have a variety of colors in them, but the colors are hidden in the spring and summer by green “cholorphyll.” It’s a substance inside the leaves and it not only hides all of the other colors except green, it also helps turn sunlight into food for the leaves. When fall comes, there is less sunshine during the day and it gets cooler. The green chlorophyll moves away from the leaves back into the branches of the tree. When that happens we are able to see the yellow, orange, and red colors or “pigments” that were always there, hiding in the leaf. Rain, wind, temperature and the amount of natural sugar in the leaves can make the colors brighter too.

Don’t be afraid to provide your children with these kinds of explanations. They may not fully grasp what you are saying, but they are learning new words and ideas. It could lead to a hundred other questions and discussions that improves their language comprehension, and help them to understand how things work in their world.

Talk about and compare the different shapes and sizes of the leaves.

If you have a large magnifying glass, let the kids peak through it to see the veins and structure of the leaves. All of this encourages young children’s classification and sorting skills that are so important in building a foundation for math and science skills.

Taking a family road trip? Get the book, “Carschooling,” and take the whine out of drive time! It’s filled with ingenious activities that help you turn travel time into fun and entertaining learning time. Get your copy today at:

Copyright 2010, Diane Flynn Keith, All Rights Reserved. Publication or distribution in any medium including blogs, newsletters, ezines, websites, or online discussion lists is strictly prohibited without prior written permission. Thank you for helping to protect my copyright.

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