This is one of my favorite activities! Help your child take a leaf and place it between two strips of muslin or other white, cotton fabric. Together, hammer the muslin with a rubber mallet. As the mallet strikes the leaf, the chlorophyll is released from the leaf and absorbed by the fabric. Colored leaves in the fall work also as long as they have not become too dry (though their red and purple colors come from a type of sugar in the tree instead of chlorophyll. Check out this website for more science information about fall leaves.)
When I’m talking with children as they do this activity, I mention that the leaves are holding the color inside, kind of like a water balloon. When those balloons are hit, they break and the color comes out onto the fabric.
This experience builds science knowledge while also providing a large motor activity. Obviously, with all the pounding, this activity can be noisy, and it requires enough room for safely swinging the mallet. Outside is ideal! That way, the children can also search for their leaves as they wait for a turn.
Find more about trees and leaves at the fall favorites page!