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Spring Leaf Experiment

This is a fun little science experiment that the kiddos will love coming back to each day. After placing leaves and food coloring in water, watch the leaves magically transform by changing colors before your very eyes!

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What color should YOUR leaf be?

This is a mess-free science experiment that you can do from the comfort of your home. All you need to do is travel to your yard or take a walk to grab some leaves and the rest is simple. Place the leaves in a glass of water along with some food coloring and watch how the leaves gradually change color over the next few days. This activity combines so many different skills for you kiddo to process so let them help you along with cutting the ends of the leaves, filling the water and dropping in the food colouring. 

✂️ How do I adapt this exercise for older kiddos? Help build vocabulary by recording observations of how the leaves look on day 1 of the experiment, day 2 and so on. Help them understand if their predictions work or don’t work.  📷 Document as you go. Take a picture each day so you can see how much the leaves change throughout the experiment.


For this activity you will need:

  • Leaves

  • Scissors

  • Clear glass or jar

  • Water

  • Dark food coloring

  • Magnifying glass (optional)

Learning Outcomes




Cause and effect exploration


Responding with joy to the predictable outcomes of exploration.


Step 1:

Take a walk outside and collect various leaves.

Step 2:

Use scissors to cut the bottom off of each leaf stem.

Step 3:

Place several leaves inside of the glass without overcrowding them.

Step 4:

Fill the glass with water until the stems are covered with 1-2 inches of water.

Step 5:

Add several drops of food coloring into the water and stir.

Step 6:

Watch the glass over several days as the leaves begin to change color!

Playful Question

  • What color do you want the leaves to be?

  • What will happen if we drop different colors into the water?

  • Where do leaves grow?

  • Where can we find leaves near our house?

  • What do leaves need to grow?

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