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Autumn is a magical time of year and perfect for outdoor adventures

Autumn is a magical time of year and perfect for outdoor adventures

This is the time of year when leaves reveal their hidden colours. Exactly when it will happen depends on the weather so keep an eye out on your local trees. When they are looking good, visit a local wood or park to witness the beauty of the autumn colours.

Chemistry lesson

Inside the leaf there’s some complex chemical changes going on. The green pigment, called chlorophyll, converts sunlight into energy which is stored in the leaves as sugar. Within the leaf, red anthocyanin and yellow carotene are also present. Over the summer, the reds and yellows are masked by the green chlorophyll. At the end of the summer as light levels and temperatures drop the leaves stop making chlorophyll and the red and yellow pigments are gradually revealed. The intensity of the colours depends on the concentration of sugars in the leaves – the higher the concentration, the more vivid the colours. For the best colours we need a hot, dry summer followed by a sunny, dry autumn with cold but not freezing nights.

Enjoying autumn leaves

When you’re walking in the countryside or your local park see how many different colours of leaves you can find. Listen to the sound the leaves make as you walk through them and smell the scents of autumn. On a breezy day, throw some leaves in the air and watch them dance in the wind. Which shape of leaf makes the best dancer? See how many different shapes of leaves you can find, each tree has leaves that are a different shape.

Leafy arts and crafts

There are lots of art and craft projects you can do making use of this wonderful natural resource:

Pressed leaves Collect some of the most colourful leaves and press them between sheets of paper (blotting paper or thick kitchen paper works well) under a heavy book. You can use the lovely flat leaves to make pictures and collages. Draw or copy an outline of a bird or animal and stick the leaves on to make fur or feathers. Make beautiful patterns with the leaves, stick them down on card and cover them with plastic to make bookmarks or covers for a notebook or scrapbook.

Natural stained glass windows Choose a leaf you like and hold it up to the light (be careful not to hold it directly in front of the sun or you will damage your eyes) look at the colour and the pattern on it. Hang a collection of different coloured and shaped leaves up in a window with lengths of invisible thread (if you have a laminator you can laminate them first to make them last longer) like a natural stained glass window.

Outdoor picture gallery Try making an outside picture gallery. Make a picture frame from twigs and then create your picture inside using autumn leaves and seeds. Invite your friends to make some pictures of their own and to look at everyone else’s pictures. If you do this when you are out in the countryside or a park then you can leave your gallery for other people to find.

Autumn crowns Use some leaves to make an autumn crown, stick them onto a strip of card which you have made into a ring that sits on your head. You can design different patterns with leaves of different colours and shapes.

Remember animals use leaves, nuts and berries too; always leave some for them.

Discover Autumn on our Self-Guided Family Trail

Saturday 20 October 2018 - Sunday 28 October 2018

Have a go at our family-fun trail around Gibraltar Point, and see what wildlife you can spot. Trails can be collected from the Visitor Centre between 10:30 to 15:00. £3 per child with a prize at the end when you take your completed trail back to the Centre. Gibraltar Point, Gibraltar Road, Skegness, PE24 4SU

For more events:

What will you discover?...

What will you discover?...

Spooky Halloween happenings at Doddington Hall

Spooky Halloween happenings at Doddington Hall