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Why Do Leaves Change Color?

A leaf is an important part of a plant or tree and can typically be found at the end of a branch. Leaves can have different shapes, sizes (large or small), and textures (bumpy or smooth). Leaves use the sun to make their own food in a process called photosynthesis, so leaves are often flat and thin so that it can soak in as much sun as possible. 

Why do leaves change color? Did you know that leaves change color in the Fall? In Florida, trees can be green all year! But have you seen a tree with yellow, orange, or red leaves before? Leaves are green in the spring and summer because that’s when they are making lots of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a green pigment that has the very important job of absorbing light to turn into energy for the tree through a process called photosynthesis. During winter, there’s less sunlight because we are leaning away from the sun, which lets the tree know that it needs to prepare for winter and to stop making chlorophyll. With less chlorophyll or green pigment, you start to see the other pigments hidden in the leaf, like yellow, orange, and red. 

With an adult’s permission, go on a scavenger hunt! See what different leaves you can find! Be sure to keep at least one to create a leaf rubbing. 

Materials: To create a leaf rubbing you will need a crayon or pencil, a piece of paper, and a leaf!


  1. Layout the leaf you found on a table.
  2. Place your piece of paper over the leaf.
  3. Gently color your entire sheet of paper using the side of your crayon and watch as the different lines of the leaf appear! 
  4. Hang up your masterpiece.