Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?

Kids are naturally curious about the world around them. When my kids asked why do leaves change color in the fall, I thought the process would be best explained by conducting a science experiment.

Why Do Leaves Change Color in the fall?

Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall

Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in leaves. They become green as a result of photosynthesis, which happens during the spring and summer. This process allows plants to get energy from the sun.

What some people don’t know is that some leaves contain many different colors underneath the chlorophyl.

As the days get shorter, plants produce less chlorophyl and the green color fades leaving behind different colors like yellow, red, and orange before falling to the ground.

Fall Leaves Experiment

What You’ll Need:

Nail polish remover
Coffee filter


1. Rip leaves into small pieces. We did this experiment with outside leaves as well as spinach purchased from the grocery story.

2. Use a spoon to mash leaves into small pieces in a glass.
3. Add three tablespoons of nail polish remover to the mashed leaves. Make sure the leaves are completely covered. Then add water.
4. Cut coffee filter into a rectangle shape.
5. Tape the rectangle to the pencil.
6. Place the pencil across the glass, making sure the coffee filter is hanging inside of the glass while touching the nail polish remover and water mixture.
7. Let it sit for a few hours and watch the coffee filter change color. This is exactly how leaves change color in the fall.

Here are some other fun weather experiments you can try with your kids.