Photo of person climbing glass

Taking inspiration from the natural world

February 19, 2019

Many inventions have come about when humans have looked at nature to see how problems are solved and mimicked those solutions — it’s called biomimicry. There are many examples of biomimicry in today’s world. Kingfisher/bullet train The kingfisher bird inspired the design of the Shinkansen Bullet Train in Japan. The…

10 snow activities you haven’t done yet this winter

February 19, 2019

You’ve built snowmen. You’ve gone sledding. You’ve had snowball fights. Now, it’s still winter and you don’t know what else to do to have fun in the snow. So we have put together 10 activities that will make the everlasting snow a bit more fun! 1. Maple taffy I love…

Tissue paper snow painting

February 11, 2019

When you live in northwest Iowa, you’re going to have snow during the winter. There might not be snow all the time; there might not be deep snow; but you’re going to have snow. This is a fun craft to do because it starts out using snow, but you don’t…

10 animal courtship behaviors

February 11, 2019

1. Prairie voles Prairie voles are almost the epitome of a happy, healthy animal relationship. The creatures, about the size of a hamster, only live one-two years, but they are monogamous during that time. Once they meet a member of the opposite sex, pheromones help them to ready for mating.…

Graphic that says whose scat is that?

Whose scat is that?

February 4, 2019

Scat is a word used for animal droppings, feces or poop, specifically for carnivorous wild animal droppings. Feces for different creatures actually has different names: Bats and seabirds: Guano Caterpillars and other herbivorous insects: Frass Cows: Tath Deer: Fewmets Otters: Spraints Worms: Castings Fossilized dung: Coprolite Feces used as fertilizer:…

Kids area floor

Create your own activity trail

February 4, 2019

With the polar vortex bringing record-breaking windchills to the Midwest last week, a lot of families with young ones were stuck indoors. I heard from one mom that her family didn’t go anywhere for five days. I got a video from my sister-in-law of her three daughters running in circles…

Free printable Valentine’s Day cards

January 28, 2019

The kids need Valentine’s Day cards for their class parties, and you don’t want to spend any more money on the holiday so what do you do? Download our free Valentine’s Day cards at home! You can find the 2018 design here or click on the photo below to download…

Photo of finished bird seed ornament

Bird seed ornaments

January 28, 2019

Everyone loves to feed the birds in winter. (Learn about one of Iowa’s winter birds: Dark-eyed junco) It helps the birds that are scavenging for food. It lets you get close to watch these fun, feathered friends. Bird watching is a good hobby to do from the warmth of your…

Photo of a cottontail rabbit

How cottontail rabbits survive the winter

January 28, 2019

My husband and I keep opening up our mud room door to see an eastern cottontail rabbit darting away, and any fresh snow reveals bunny tracks on our concrete patio. “Why does it keep sitting here?” My husband asked me. “I don’t know, maybe trying to keep out of the…

Photo of frozen colored ice cubes

Ice cube tie-dye

January 21, 2019

It’s cold. If you’re not reading this the week it’s written, the windchill is -6 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s 2 p.m. You can imagine how cold it was last night, and how cold it’s going to get tonight! However, we like to embrace the seasons around here, so we thought…

Photo of a red-eared slider

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were originally inspired by red-eared sliders

January 21, 2019

Red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta) are found throughout the United States, but that hasn’t always been the case. These aquatic turtles are natively found in the southeastern United States from Texas to Alabama north to southern Ohio and into Kansas. Their native watersheds may have even extended into Iowa. Red-eared…

Graphic of name game

Animal Baby Name Game

January 14, 2019

Baby names are so much fun. Whether you’re planning for your own child, getting ready for a baby shower or just having fun thinking of names, it can be quite a crazy world to look into. There are literally thousands upon thousands of names, and some can be quite crazy.…