OHC More Nature Study #5 Fall Color Walk

Outdoor Hour Challenge Fall Color Walk @handbookofnaturestudy
 It finally feels like fall here in Northern California. We had a really big rainstorm that knocked out our power for a short time and brought down a shower of leaves along with the raindrops. I was so glad that we had brought in the chair cushions, tucked away the lavender that was drying, harvested the last of the dahlias, and mowed the grass one last time. There is a nip in the air this evening that means autumn has arrived.

How about your part of the world? Are you feeling like autumn or is it lingering summer? Whatever your world looks like you can take a fall walk and discover some fall color…maybe not your leaves but look for berries, nuts, and weeds that are changing color.

Fall Leaf Watercolor nature journal
Working on some fall leaf watercolor nature journal entries..

OHC More Nature Study #5
Fall Color Walk

Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read in the Handbook of Nature Study page 14, “The Field Excursion”. The reason I want you to read this section is so you have a better understanding of how to prepare you children for a short outdoor excursion with a purpose. Let them know ahead of time the reason you are going outdoors, have them gather their supplies, and then make the excursion outside to look for fall colors.
  • You may wish to review a previous Autumn Colors/Leaf Challenge.
  • You can view this video on YouTube: Why Leaves Change Color.
  • Make sure you have several shades of fall colors in your colored pencil collection: reds, yellows, greens, oranges.
  • You can also use the Nature Study Grid from the October Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter to enhance your Fall Color Walk and leaf observation.

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • Spend some of your Outdoor Hour time looking for fall colors in your own backyard. If your children are older, have them choose carefully their colors. Not all greens are the same. Not all yellows are the same. Try to match your colors by choosing your colored pencils to match as best you can.
  • Gather several leaves to collect for the up-coming Leaf Study (#8). You may with to press these so they will not be dried before you can examine them. You can watch my YouTube video to see how to do this with simple household resources.
  • If your children are very young, just point out the fall colors or you can use Monica’s idea to use color word cards. (Edit to add a link to an entry with color word cards for you to use.)
  • Advanced Study: Take your watercolors outdoors along with your brushes and pad. Use watercolors to make a record of your fall scene. Look for complementary colors: yellow leaves and blue sky, red berries and evergreens, etc. Capture autumn color in your local area….make the painting show the mood of the change of season.

Follow-Up Activities:

  • If you didn’t complete the Fall Color Walk notebook page (ebook users only) during your outdoor time, you can complete it now. An alternate follow-up activity could be to make a list of all the colors you saw and record them in your nature journal or to use the Hearts and Trees Advanced Fall Color Activity.
  • Advanced Follow-Up: Read these websites: The Chemistry of Autumn Leaf Colors. And The Chemistry of Autumn Colors. Write a summary narration for your nature journal.
  • Advanced Follow-Up: Complete the Upper Level notebook page included with the ebook (ebook users only).

More Nature Study Autumn

This challenge is part of the More Nature Study – Autumn series. All of the challenges are gathered into one ebook with notebooking pages (regular and for advanced students) and additional resources. You can gain access to this ebook by purchasing an Ultimate Naturalist membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study. See the Join Us page by clicking the link at the top of the website for more information about what comes with your Ultimate membership.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy


  1. Oh this is such a favorite. Can we just stay right here with fall leaves? :) Thank you for all these ideas together – especially taking watercolors outside to capture the fall scene. Beautiful leaf journal entries!

  2. I had fun finding colors, the boys helped a little, they were looking for Spider Webs. ;) I think they have been “leaf’d out” over the years. I still enjoy and appreciate all of the colors, especially after 5 yrs in the desert! Thanks for the challenges!

  3. Angie,

    Maybe when we do the “up close” challenge they will get a renewed sense of awe at the colors of the leaves. :)

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