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Outdoor Science: 3 Fall Exploration Activities

by Makinya Ward on October 12, 2016
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Changing colors and temperatures make fall a wonderful time to explore the outdoors and try some outdoor science activities. Here are 3 of our favorites:

shutterstock_220920136.jpgExploring Fall Produce

Visit a local farm, a farmer's market or a pumpkin patch to see all of the wonderful variety of gourds, pumpkins, squash, apples, corn and chrysanthemums. Notice the different colors, shapes, and sizes. Help your child:

  • Sort gourds or pumpkins by size or color.
  • Notice the differences between gourds and squash.
  • See how pumpkins and other fall crops grow (through books or a farm visit).
  • Grow some seeds in a cup, plant some flowers, and try sprouting an Indian corncob by keeping it on moist soil.

Why Leaves Change Color

During a fall walk, gather 3 leaves for this outdoor leaf experiment:

  1. Tear the leaves into small pieces and put in a jar.
  2. Cover leaves with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Mash the leaves with a spoon.
  4. Cover the jar with plastic and put it in the bowl.
  5. Pour hot water into the bowl. Let it sit for 30-60 minutes.
  6. Place a strip of coffee filter into the green alcohol. As the alcohol moves up the strip, different colors will appear.

Explain that all of these colors are in the leaves all the time but the green hides them. When the green chlorophyll breaks down in the fall, the other hidden colors appear!

Rotting Pumpkin

Watching your jack-o-lantern go from carved face to melted goo teaches children the importance of creatures like microbes and worms.

  1. Carve your pumpkin, but save a few seeds.
  2. Place your carved pumpkin on top of your compost pile or somewhere you can observe it a while.
  3. Every day, take a photo of the pumpkin to track the changes. Older preschoolers might want to draw a picture each day too.
  4. Talk about the changes and make guesses about what will happen next.
  5. When your pumpkin looks mostly like dirt, you might want to mix it with other compost materials and look to see if worms and bugs are eating it for food.
  6. Use some of the soil from your pumpkin to plant one of your pumpkin seeds!

At Kids Konnect, teachers use play to teach science concepts and so can you. Most importantly, you can have fun while learning together. Do you have another favorite fall science activity you can share?