Shades of Autumn

Jordan here, your intrepid science educator. Today's blog post is full of photos. I just couldn't resist! Click on any image to see it full-size.

Autumn is alive in Brooklyn! The picture above shows you some stunning colors in Brower Park, which is on the same block as everybody's favorite children's museum :).

You can see shades of autumn's beauty not only throughout the city parks and streets but also at… that's right… the Brooklyn Children's Museum! As usual, our garden is open, so be sure to come outside when you visit. Beyond the door in this picture, you can see an adorable red-headed boy looking up at our stunning, red-leaved Japanese Maple. Doesn't it just make you want to hug a tree? You can click here to check out another BCM blog post about our Japanese Maple, and here to learn even more autumn science from Greta, our magnificent science manager.

Our Garden, featuring the red-leaved Japanese Maple


While it's getting too cold to play with watering cans, the garden still has much to offer. Our touch-and-smell garden still has lots to touch and smell. Birds, squirrels, and other critters are busy preparing for winter. Plus, many plants show their seeds this time of year. Check out the picture below! 



"Samara" is the scientific term for a seed with "wings." Maple trees (all species) grow two-samara pairs, which people sometimes call "helicopter seeds." The samaras on this Japanese Maple are tiny (you can see them on the palm of my hand), but the samaras on a Norway Maple can be as long as your finger!

Speaking of seeds, can you see any on the branches of the tree to the left? (Remember, you can click the picture for a close-up.)

No? How about a closer look? 

Those are little Callery pears growing on a Callery pear tree. Callery pear is a common street tree, so look for it when you walk around the city! The fruits are a good food source for wild animals, but we wouldn't recommend trying them yourself. Here's what the little pears look like close up: 



Parents, teachers: Even though it's getting cold, it's still important for children to spend time outdoors. Now is a great time to learn about trees, colors, and seasons. Here's a fun idea: instead of leaf rubbings, try leaf POUNDING. (You'll make artwork with the real leaf pigments!) It's also a great time to learn about about different types of seeds, fruits, and seasonal vegetables (squash, sweet potato, etc.). Try collecting leaves and making a leaf collage! Take a walk and count how many different colors you can see! Go to a farmers' market and taste some new foods, or some old favorites! Our dear Brower Park Farmers Market will be closing soon, so stop by on Friday, November 8th or 15th between 1pm-7pm. It's located behind BCM, at the corner of Prospect Place and Brooklyn Ave. (The market was open since spring, every Friday from 1pm-7pm. For a great autumn story, try Little Yellow Leaf, by Carin Berger.

So many autumnal wonders! Let's remember to get outdoors this autumn, and do our best to prevent "Nature Deficit Disorder."

Happy Autumn,


Autumn Walk

Thanks to a recommendation from the Early Childhood department here at Brooklyn Children’s Museum, here’s a lovely fall book for your youngest learners, to add to your fall unit.

Autumn Walk is the story of a puppy who goes on a seasonal stroll, through a world that smells like cinnamon and feels “corduroy cold.” The sentences are simple but very descriptive, a great chance to introduce fall words to your students. Autumn Walk‘s illustrations are full of red, yellow, and orange to match the season and, as you can see, this board book is shaped like a leaf. Read this book with your 2-4 year-olds and then take your own walk outside.

And there’s more! Autumn Walk has a seasonal companion Winter Walk, for use a little later this year.