Monday, December 12, 2011


I want to start building up the Messy Fingers Blog and we are going to start with a give away. I have another goodie bag filled with fun science activities.
It will have things like a
  • Compare and Contrast kit with playdough
  • Bubbles - homemade and store bought
  • Shadow paper
  • Tools - like droppers
  • and some other surprises.
The drawing will be next Monday 12/19/11. I will announce the winner by 9am.

Here's how you enter (make one comment per entry please):
  1. Comment below with your favorite Messy Fingers activity you've done with your child
  2. Follow this blog
  3. Add you email to the list for Messy Fingers in January
Good luck!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Chain of Lights and Messy Fingers

Sunday is Millbury's Chain of Lights - a holiday fair with loads of fun family activities like caroling, cookie decorating, raffles, food, and stories at the library. As part of the Library celebration, there will be two Messy Fingers bags of goodies for the raffle.

The goodie bags will help you explore science with your kids activities such as

Compare and Contrast with playdough and a kit to make your own homemade playdough
Bubbles - store bought and home brewed
Shadows - special paper for making shadows
Tools - like droppers to explore liquids with
Model magic to make fossils well as some other surprises. The two kits will be different so check out the Chain of Lights on Sunday from 11 am - 5 pm in Millbury.

If you don't live in Millbury or can't make it Sunday, stay tuned and I will announce a special give away on Monday.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Review: Bears!

Bears! By Emma Helbrough is a beautiful book with lots of drawings of bears doing many different things. All eight of the different species of bears are included and information on each one is well described.

My biggest concern with this book is that pandas are included as bears. Pandas are not bears. They are more closely related to raccoons.

3/5 stars.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Animal of the Week: Bears

Bears capture the imagination of kids everywhere. Many of us have loved bears since we were little and were carrying a stuffed one around with us. Mine was called Theodora and she looked like she was a basic brown bear.

I believe that one of the reasons we love bears so much is that they are like us in many ways.

Bears are mammals – just like people

Bears are omnivores – they eat meat and plants – just like people

Bears care for their young into adulthood - just like people.

Here are some other interesting facts about bears:

There are eight different species of bears. They are Asiatic, Black, Brown, Polar, Panda, Sloth, Spectacled and Sun.

Bears live everywhere in the world except Antarctica and Australia.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Web of Facts

If you get a moment, check out the web of spider facts in the craft room at the Millbury Public Library! The kids and parents did a great job making spiders and adding facts on the back.
As part of his homework, one student brought in spiders he and his mom made from marshmallows and pretzels. Yummy, but we talked about and realized that his creation is actually a harvestmen and not a true spider. The marshmallow is only one body part and spiders have two.

Check out some other activities on spiders here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

Trees sweat.

Ok, they don't exactly sweat like we do in response to heat, but they do respire. Respiring means they give off moisture. Try putting a plastic bag over the leaves of a tree in the afternoon. Check it the next morning and the inside will have water in it. This is where the tree essentially exhaled moisture. You know, tree sweat.

Leaf Motels and Restaurants

When you rake leaves this fall, take a moment to check out the leaves before you dive in or mulch them.

Do any of them have chew marks from insects? Do they have holes where a bug munched? These are leaf restaurants. Many different kinds of insects eat leaves. Were the insects big or little? How do you know?

What leaves to you eat? We eat all sorts of leaves such as lettuce, spinach, kale, and seaweed.

Look closely at the leaves and you might see bumps on them. The bumps are where insects make their homes. Many times it is a mother insect laying eggs under the skin of the leaf. Her babies will hatch out in a safe spot and burrow out or start eating the leaf. This is a leaf motel where the insect stays for a while.

If you want to save your leaves you can dry them in a book and then paste them in your own book or iron them between two pieces of wax paper. But before you do, make sure your leaf isn't an insect motel!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review: Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Trees

Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Trees by Jim Arnosky is an amazing field guide. This book is illustrated beautifully and while that isn't always my preference for non-fiction books, this is a perfect exception. Crinkleroot tells about trees and why they are important, shows you how to identify common trees and shares a love of the trees with kids a grown ups alike.

This isn't a story book but a can be used as a field guide. If you have a leaf you can use this book to help you find what tree it came from. The illustrations are compelling.

You might have noticed that there was no link to a book retailer on this book. It isn't available as a new book directly from a retailer, but check your local library. If they don't have it, the superhero librarians should be able to find you a copy.

5/5 stars.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Animal of the Week: Leaf Miners

Leaf miners leave a trail inside the leaves of trees and other plants. A mother insect will lay an egg under the skin of a leaf and the egg hatches. The larvae or baby is hungry so it eats the leaf.

As the larvae grow, they eat bigger and bigger trails. As the leaves fall from the trees, check to see if you can find any leaf miners. Their trails sometimes have little black specks in them. This is frass or bug poop.

image from

Monday, October 10, 2011

Messy Fingers Starts Tomorrow!!

There is still room if you want to join in the fun with a four week class at the Millbury Public Library.

The class starts Tuesday, October 11, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. and will continue for the following three weeks.

Pumpkins will be on deck tomorrow and we will be digging into their squishy guts tomorrow- doesn't that sound like fun?

Register at the library - (508) 865 1181!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three fun things to do in the rain!

Here in New England it is raining and we are expecting rain for a few more days, so now is the perfect time to pull out some Rain Science! Rather than grumble, embrace the weather and see what you can do in the drizzle.

Rain gauge - this is an especially good activity if you have kids of multiple ages at home. Older kids can use some of these ideas to explore measurement. For preschoolers, put a jar outside and catch rain. How much rain do you think will fall (predict!) in the day (or during your nap)? Use a water proof marker to put a line on the jar at your prediction. Older kids can put a plastic ruler in the jar and use inches or centimeters to predict. Were you right?

Catch some rain drops - put some flour on a pie plate and go outside in the rain. If the rain drops are small, the clouds are close. If the drops are big, the rain clouds are far away. If the drop is really huge (the size of an erasure), it probably fell from a tree or roof!

Drawing - pull out you sidewalk chalk and make a drawing. Color darkly with the chalk and then take it out into the rain. The rain will blend the colors making a whole new picture. You can also do this with powdered tempera paint. Sprinkle the tempera on paper and then head out. The rain will mix the paint colors.

Photo credit:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review: A Tree in the Ancient Forest

A Tree in the Ancient Forest by Carol Reid-Jones is a poem book where each part of the poem is repeated building not only a poem but the ecosystem that is built around the ancient tree.

I love science poetry and this is certainly a good one. The images are rich and lyrical. Things do get eaten, so if you have particularly sensitive children, read this first to yourself to see if it is appropriate for them.

4/5 stars.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Setting up your own Science Table at Home

Fall is a great time to set up a simple science table at home to promote exploration. There are many great subjects that tie in with the season such as pumpkins, leaves, or corn.

Find a table, desk, or even a nice shoe box and label it your Science Station. If you were going to do Leaves for example, gather a few different kinds of leaves, paint chips (in the same color families as the leaves), magnifying glasses (Massachusetts Audubon and iParty both carry them locally), paper, crayons, books on leaves, and maybe some bark.

Let you child explore and then ask them what they thought of the leaves? Were there any that were the same? How were they different?

You can make leave rubbings together or use the magnifying glasses to see if any critters has eaten the leaves or what the veins look like close up.

Some fun outside extensions are to make bark rubbings or see if you can match the leave to trees in your yard.

~Other topics can be treated in the same way.

What topics do you like to explore with your preschooler in the fall?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

September is National Honey Month. Yay bees!

Did you notice that I said, Yay bees and not Yay honeybees? Honeybees are not the only bees that make honey. Bumble bees make honey too. They don't have big colonies and don't produce extra so they only have small amounts for their babies.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Messy Fingers re-visited

This fall we are going to change up Messy Fingers. We will still have the same hands-on programs for parents and preschoolers but change the way we weave them together.

Messy Fingers will no longer be single classes.

We are going to run four consecutive weekly sessions per month and you and your preschooler will build your science skills together around a theme. For example, in October the theme will be Seasonal Science and the four sessions will be things like spiders, bats, and pumpkins.

When you sign up for the session, you come four Tuesdays in a row and we will build from one lesson to the next.

Messy Fingers will remain on Tuesdays and look for sign-ups soon.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

Bull frogs gulp their dinner in mid leap. They open their mouths and can grab prey as they jump.

Bull frogs were named because their call sounds a bit like a cow.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Review: Some Smug Slub

Some Smug Slug is one of my very favorite books - ever. I cannot praise the author and illustrator, Pamela Duncan Edwards, enough. This book has amazing pictures that are accurately drawn, the words are delicious, and the suspense is great.

And what does this have to do with Bullfrogs, I hear you asking? That, my dear reader, is part of the suspense.

Look for the letter S on every page. All the animals depicted begin with the letter S except one.

Go. Now. Get this book.

5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Animal of the Week: Bullfrog

Bullfrogs live in the eastern portion of North America and can be found livening up the nighttime symphony with their deep "jug-o-rum" calls.

These guys love to live in ponds and lakes and will eat anything they can get their mouth around. They are as omnivorous as it comes eating fish, grubs, insects, and even other frogs. What about plants, I hear you say? Well, when these guys are tadpoles they eat algae when young and will take on larger prey when they are large enough.

The tadpoles can live two years in a pond before metamorphosing in to frogs. They have big tadpoles and it is worth trolling murky waters with a net this year just to see them. They are fairly dark compared to other more petite tadpoles.

And these guys are actually farmed in the south as a food source. Yum, eh?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Go Fly a Kite

If you want to try a fun easy kite, try this. It is a simple kite that takes a piece of paper, tape, a plastic bag, and a coffee stirrer. Super simple and loads of fun. I will try and post a picture later - we were having too much fun for me to remember my camera!

We did this today at the library and found out that wrapping the string around a 3x5 card, folded in half worked well for the string. You can slip a pencil inside to allow you to let out the string easily.

If you flew these kites, what did you discover? Tell us about your adventure.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sun and Shadows

Here some ideas for summer fun in the sun with learning. And here is one new idea that we will be trying later in the summer.

Solar oven: Line a kitchen bowl with foil. Put poster tack in the bottom. This holds the food in place. Stick a marshmallow on it and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Use rocks or sand to position the bowl so the marshmallow is facing the sun. Let it sit about 15 minutes. Check to see if marshmallow is soft. If not, go another 15 minutes. The plastic wrap holds in the sun’s rays and cook the marshmallow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Messy Fingers over the Summer

Messy Fingers is going to be folded into the summer reading program. We will be a bit more focused on a larger age range than exclusively preschool.

July 7 - 1pm Sun and Shadows
July 14 - 1pm Kites
Aug 4 - 10:30 am Science of Music

Come and join in the fun. Please sign up at the library at 508 865 1181.

Robin Update

I feared I would never seen the babies again, but I discovered their new home! They are living in a little nook next to my garage. There is a board that had been propped up against the building and they take shelter under that. Both parents are still feeding them.

When I went to remove the nest, the mom had replaced the nest liner with fresh grass. Hmm... I wonder if we will have more eggs soon!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

After 13 days...

It is amazing how quickly human children grow. It is completely astonishing how fast these Robins when from eggs to this. Just after I took this picture the babies flew off.

Yes, I said flew off.

They only flew a few feet but they can sort of fly. They stick close to the nest and both parents will continue to feed them until they are fully fledged or able to fly well on their own.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Animal of the Week: Monarch Butterfly

Monarch butterflies are just coming out in this area. They are large orange butterflies with black markings. The one pictured above is a male - you can see the two spots on his hind wings.

For some basic biology on butterflies, check out a previous post here.
Monarch butterflies have a long distance migration where they spend the winter in Mexico.

Milkweed is the Monarch's host plant - that means that as caterpillars, they eat only milkweed. This makes them taste bitter which is why they have such bright coloration. This bright coloration tells birds - Don't eat me, I taste bad!

There will be lots more butterfly fun all week - so keep coming back!

Robin Update

Mama Robin is doing well - her three babies are getting really big. We haven't heard them cheeping much yet. Mama Robin bring worms and other wiggly creatures in to the nest frequently. In about two more weeks the babies will be starting to learn to fly. Amazing how fast they grow up!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


After last night's epic storm, I went to check on the robin. I took down all the hanging baskets except hers as I was unsure how she'd feel suddenly 5 feet closer to the ground. So I grabbed a stool and snapped one picture.

And just how cool is that! I am betting the remaining egg has hatched by now as the mama robin is sticking much closer to the nest than ever before.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Book Review: Birds, Nests, and Eggs

Birds, Nests, and Eggs by Mel Boring is a good introductory field guide for young children. I have reviewed another book, Feathers For Lunch by Lois Elhert, that I love.

This one I like a lot. The illustrations are clear and the text is easy to understand. It does go that extra step to show what bird eggs and nests look like for the different species of bird. That being said, it is really hard to see most bird nest and eggs. Birds are naturally secretive about their nests so the best time to see them is in the fall when they are abandoned and the leaves have fallen.

I would start with Feathers for Lunch and if you child is super interested in birds, then this is a good next step.

3/5 stars.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Animal of the Week: American Robin

We have visitors for the next few weeks. An American Robin has put her nest in one of the hanging flower pots on our porch. It is quite exciting to see her sitting on the nest from inside our front door.

Robins like to make nests normally no more than about six feet off the ground. While you cannot see the side of the nest, I can tell you it is made from straw and mud as is quite typical of Robins.

I feel like an auntie!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

Chipmunks can store up to 8 lbs of food in their burrows.

Not bad for a critter that weights between 1 and 2 oz.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: Roll, Slope and Slide

Roll, Slope and Slide - A book about ramps by Michael Dahl is great. I LOVE his books. He has a whole series of books on simple machines and they are all beautiful and clear in their language and illustrations (which he did not do - that was Denis Shea).

The book clearly explains ramps and how they make work easier - and that is job of any simple machine.

4.5/5 stars.

Oh, and Dahl lives in a haunted house.

Simple Machines

I was perusing the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for science (yeah, I am like that!) and I was surprised at how little they asked of kids to know and understand about simple machines. Most of what preschool to grade 2 students are asked to recognize what tools and technology look like.

Me, I expect way more from my kids and the kids I teach. I fully expect that they understand simple machines and can demonstrate how they work. We explored this at the library and used three simple machines. Check out what we did last year here.

Simple Machines help us move things more easily. There are six classic simple machines:
1. Lever
2. Inclined Plane
3. Wedge
4. Wheel and Axle
5. Screw
6. Pulley

These machines are called simple because they only have one or fewer moving parts. We explored the wheel and axle and how it moves farther and straighter than other shapes.

We looked at the inclined plane and found that it really helps move things up and down more easily.

Finally we played with levers. I think that was the most fun ever. How you position your fulcrum really made a difference in how far you can move objects.

This is a good time of year to begin exploring simple machines at home. How many can you find? Check out some other ways to play with these machines.

Playground Physics: The playground is a great place to explore simple machines. You can figure out which slide is faster, or easier to walk up by testing them. You can also measure how long they are and how high they are. These dimensions will allow you to compare slides.

A see saw is a classic example of a lever. If you can find one that has free movement, you can play with the ideas of balance, weight and placement. Where you place the heaviest weight can make it easier, or harder, to get the lever to balance the weight.

Sand scoops are great examples of levers. You can try and pick up toys with them too. Can you pick up more with a scoop than you can lift yourself?

Screws: To play with these machines the best thing to try is the real thing: a screw. Screws can hold together two objects forever. Some unexpected screws in the house are desk chairs and jars.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Animal of the Week: Chipmunks

Photo from

Chipmunks are fun mammals to watch in your yard. They are all over right now in New England. Generally these guys are crepuscular - that is a fancy science word for active at dawn and dusk.

Chipmunks usually eat seeds and other plant materials but may eat the occasional snail or larvae. They do store food in the fall and hibernate in the winter.

They generally make their burrows in open woodland areas or on the edges of wooded areas, but will live in suburbia as well. The entrances to their burrows are little round, two-inch holes in the ground.

If you put out bird seed on the ground, you might get a good look at a chipmunk in the morning or evening before dark.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

Butterflies taste with their feet.

Really! They have taste receptors on their feet so when they land on a flower, they can tell if will be delicious.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Review: Air is All Around You

Air is All Around You by Franklyn Branley is another addition in the Let's Read and Find Out Science series.

The book explores all the ways we know air is around us and why we need air. In addition to the lovely text, Branley includes some activities and observations about air that you can do with your kids.

The illustrations are cute but I prefer photographs for non fiction books.

4/5 stars.

How to: Make a spinning helicopter

At Messy Fingers at the Millbury Library this week, we played with all kinds of things that fly through the air.

Here is the helicopter we made. We added a single paper clip to the bottom, but the addition of a second or a larger paper clip might affect the flight pattern. Hmm, now doesn't that sounds like an interesting experiment!

We also played with spinning blimp toys. Here is the video from which I learned to make the blimp. How you let go of it makes all the difference in how it flies. It is a quick and easy toy to make. Ours were much thicker and made from card stock.

~Let me know how your experiments turn out.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Animal of the Week - butterflies

I saw my first Spring Azure this past weekend. So butterfly season is upon us!

Butterflies are insects - that means they have three body parts, six legs and wings as adults. They have an exoskeleton and that means their skeleton is on the outside.

Butterflies have a complete metamorphosis (remember that is the science word for change) going from an egg to a larvae (caterpillar) to a chrysalis and finally to an adult butterfly.

Butterflies eat nectar as adults. They have a long proboscis (tongue) that is hollow. They slurp up the nectar from plants. As larvae they also eat plants but as babies they eat the leaves of plants.

Butterflies can fly as fast as 12 miles per hour. While that may be faster than I can run, the fastest human being can run about 22 miles per hour.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Animal of the Week - Rabbits

Photo from

In our post chocolate and jelly bean haze, I thought it might be fun to learn about real rabbits this week.

Cottontail rabbits, the most common of six species of rabbits in the US, can be found in almost any grassy habitat. Rabbits are vegetarians and eat plants in the warmer weather and bark and twigs in the winter. They most often come to people's attention when they start eating tender plants set out in the spring.

Rabbits can live as long as two years in the wild and they do have lots of babies. Rabbits can have up to four litters in a year with as many as eight babies in each litter.

For your best chances of seeing a rabbit, you have to get up early or stay up late - rabbits are most often seen at dawn and just after dusk.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

If a worm gets chopped in two, the head end can regenerate into a fresh worm.

One other cool fact is that worms are hermaphrodites - that means they have male and female reproductive organs. They still mate with other worms by lining up next to each other so the opposite organs match up.

Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dirt on the Web

Here are some fun places to explore soil on the web:

*Get the Dirt on Soil. This site has some interactive soil games and a great field guide to soil.

*ISM Geology. This site has a ton of great lessons on geology for all grades. Activities are well thought out and they suggest well-written books as part of their lessons. This lesson is for kindergarten.

*Sorting Rocks. While this is totally about rocks and sort them by size, the process they employ is a good template. There are a number of more advanced lessons on earth science available.

Fun with Dirt

Ok - now I was going to title this post dirty fun, but I was a little concerned I might get some unexpected comments!

Here are some clean ways to enjoy dirt! They will work well with kids of different ages as well as just one child.

Make Mud Bricks: Add a small amount of water to different kinds of dirt and dirt with sticks or leaves. Pack in to a brick mold or some sand toys. Let them dry in the sun for a day or two. Make some predictions about which bricks will be the strongest? How could you test your idea? Unmold them and test your ideas.

What is in the dirt? Put dirt in a kitchen strainer and pour water thru it. What happens? What stays and what goes thru? Now put a coffee filter in the strainer and do the same thing. What is left behind now?

Erosion: Make a mountain of dirt and slowly pour water over it. What happens? Make your mountain again. What would happen if you poured water quickly or in a different place?

Growing: Do a dirt scavenger hunt in your yard. Gather up some pots and put different kinds of dirt in to each pot. Then put in a seed or plant and see which soil is best for growing plants.

Eat Dirt: Make chocolate pudding and sprinkle the top with crushed chocolate cookies or chocolate graham crackers. Add some gummy worms and you have dirt for lunch!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Animal of the Week - Earthworms

Image from

Earthworms are wicked cool creatures. The tunnel through soil helping air and water to circulate more freely and their poop is down right legendary. Worms eat all kinds of dead material, chew it up and then poop it out. Worm poop is called castings.

Ranging in size between a few inches and 22 feet long, earthworms can be found on every continent except Antarctica. The biggest worms are found in souther Africa and Australia. There are some worms in the Pacific northwest can be around two feet long. One species in the Philippines is blue!

Worms don't have eyes like we do, but they do have cells in their body that are sensitive to light. Generally they burrow or turn away from the light.

Worms breath through their skin - so if you pick them up - and who doesn't! - make sure you don't have bug spray on them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

Chickens are the closest living relative of the T. Rex.

Puts a whole new spin on chickens!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Experiment with Eggs

How can you make an egg float?

Take a boiled egg and put it in water. The egg will sink nicely.

Now add salt to the water and keep adding it until the egg floats. It will happen, just keep stirring.

What is it about salt that helped the egg float? Salt changes the density of the water. The boiled egg is denser that water so it sinks. When the salt is added, the water becomes more dense and the egg floats.

Book Review: The Easter Egg

The Easter Egg by Jan Brett - image from

My daughter brought this home from the school library recently and it was such a sweet book, that I thought I would share.

Hoppi wants to have the most special egg to share with the Easter bunny but he ends up getting side tracked when a mother Robin needs his help. I really loved the illustrations. Jan Brett always does an excellent job of accurately representing the animals she draws. Aside from the clothes, she is very accurate in her drawings.

Which egg turns out to be the most wonderful egg is a beautiful choice and the egg rides in a place of honor with the Easter bunny.

4/5 stars.

Ms. Brett does have a book about chickens called Daisy Comes Home where a chicken is the heroine. I haven't read the book yet, but the pictures I've seen make it sound like a fun book to read as well.

She has a paper chicken chain activity on her website here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Animal of the Week - Chickens

Image from

We are surrounded by marshmallow chickens and chocolate bunnies this time of year so it seems fitting that we learn a bit about the real animals. This is a picture of a Polish breed - they are small and only lay two eggs per week.

An adult male chicken is a rooster and an adult female is a hen. Babies are called chicks.

Even though chickens are birds with lovely feathers, they cannot fly very far or very well.

There are over 100 different varieties of chickens and many lay eggs that are not white. Some lay pink, blue and even polka dotted eggs.

Chickens are omnivores and will eat seeds, nuts, small insects, worms and fruit.

Fun Friday Fact

A group of frogs is called an Army of Frogs!

And most frogs are already in camouflage. How cool is that?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Book Review: From Tadpole to Frog

From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer.

This is part of the Let's Read and Find Out Science series and Level 1 books are designed for preschool and kindergarten aged kids. They are great books in general and this is no exception. The vocabulary might be a bit tricky for most beginning readers, but we all need a little help from time to time with big science words.

This book has illustrations rather than photos. I do prefer photos for non-fiction but these pictures are well-done and accurate.

4/5 stars.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How to: Keep Tadpoles

Keeping tadpoles is easy. You need a container to keep them in. I like to see them so a clear-sided container is a must for me. Make sure it is clean and well rinsed. Keep the container in an area away from direct sun so it doesn't get too hot. I like glass because it is durable, but I have used plastic bug houses like this for short visits. They are quite inexpensive and have nice handles for transport.

Just about any pond in southern New England, where I am, has frog eggs in early April and tadpoles in May and June. Check along the edges along branches or plants growing out of the water. Use a small bucket or a pan taped to a pole to reach farther into the water.

Gently scoop out some pond muck and check for tadpoles. They generally move around quite a bit after you’ve scooped the water. Be sure to take algae and plant material from the same pond to feed the tadpoles.

No matter what you collect, put them back in their home when they have legs and still have a tail. They need to re-acclimate to their home before leaving the pond.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Animal of the Week

Green frog - image from Bug Girl's Blog -

It is National Frog Month and this week we are celebrating FROGS!

Frogs are an important part of our ecosystem. They eat bugs - and that is just one of the things that is really important about them. Frogs breath through their skin as well as their lungs. Chemicals or pollution in water ways can damage or kill frogs. They warn us about environmental problems that are water related.

And they are just so darn cool.

Mama frogs lay eggs in ponds, lakes, puddles, and in some places, in flowers. The eggs hatch and become tadpoles. Then they need to become frogs to hop out of the water.

Frogs come in all sorts of colors. The one at the top of the page is a Green Frog, but frogs can be red, yellow, green, blue, brown, orange, and even purple.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Butterfly Origami for prechoolers

I love origami and doing it with young kids can be quite a test of patience for everyone. I found this lovely simple butterfly a few years ago. I've used with kids as young as three and they have been quite successful at it.

Rather than recreate a wonderful tutorial, I am going to point you to it here.

This butterfly is symmetrical and could be colored like a real butterfly.

Book Review: The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars

The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars by Jean Merrill.

This book had me at the title! This is a pretty advanced book for preschoolers to read, but worth reading to your kids. In this story, the girl really does love caterpillars and all sorts of creepy crawly things much to her parent's dismay.

What I loved about the book is that she remains true to herself, even though it was the ideal image of what a girl should be like in Japan at that time. Reminded me of myself as a girl, hunting for rocks and looking under logs.

The other thing that was quite wonderful about this story is that it doesn't end. The scroll that it was taken from didn't have the next chapter so we are free to make up our own story. What if... and what could happen next... are powerful questions to get everyone thinking and imagining.

4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Animal of the Week - Snow Monkey

Image from

Snow monkeys are an iconic image of Japan, the theme of the week. All our hearts and minds are still in Japan as people still struggle with the aftermath of earthquakes and nuclear concerns.

The Japanese word for money is saru and these monkeys are the most northern dwelling monkey in the world.

They are omnivores just like us. That means they eat both plants and animals. Their diet is usually seeds, nuts, insects, eggs, berries, fungi and roots.

These snow monkeys live in family groups headed by the females.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

If you turn an alligator over on its back, it will fall asleep.

Really! I've seen it with my own eyes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Review: Tuatara and the Skink

Ok, finding books about the rarest of reptiles, the Tuatara, was tricky, but TA DA~ here it is. The Tuatara and the Skink, is a New Zealand themed retelling of the Tortoise and the Hare. Here are a few facts about the Tuatara so you can guess whether it is the Tortoise or the Hare.

Tuataras are only found in New Zealand and their name means peaks on their backs. They are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night. Their eyes move independently (how cool is that!) and they have a very slow metabolism. They thrive in low temperatures that send most other reptiles into brumation.

Soo, have you guessed yet?

They are similar to the slow moving Tortoise!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Turtle Tuesday

This is me holding a baby painted turtle who wandered into my backyard. We have a big snapping turtle who tries to lay eggs in our back yard from time to time. I've never actually caught her laying the eggs, but I have seen her dig. We had a painted turtle lay eggs near our garden last summer. It was an amazing moment to see her put the eggs in the tiny hole.

Turtles off an opportunity to talk about symmetry. You can make a symmetrical turtle with a coffee filter, some cotton swabs, water color paint, glue stick and some scrap paper.

First fold the filter in half. Now dip a swab into some damp water color paint. Dab it onto the filter. When you are done, open up the filter. The design will be repeated exactly on the other side. This is symmetry - the same on both sides.

You can use scrap paper to add a head, arms and a tail.

What other animals are symmetrical? Are you symmetrical?

Check out the last post on Fun Fact Friday about turtles here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Animal of the Week - Blue Tongued Skink

Image from

There are five different groups of reptiles and a lizard is one. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to meet a Blue Tongued Skink.

Unlike many other lizards, the Blue Tongued Skink doesn't move very quickly, so to evade predators, it sticks its blue tongue out to scare them.

They are native to Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania. The female gives birth, not to eggs like most lizards, but to live babies like humans do. Cool.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

The tongue of a blue whale weighs more than an elephant.

Thought you like to know that.

Challenge: Make a Flinker

Can you make a flinker...

something that neither floats nor sinks?

Fish, submarines, and SCUBA divers are all examples of flinkers - the science term is neutrally buoyant.

Try it in the tub or sink tell us about it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Floaters and Sinkers

We had a great, wet time today playing with floaters and sinkers. First we gathered stuff that we thought would either float or sink. These were our predictions which is a fancy science word for guess.

We recorded our predictions in a small notebook. I was really impressed with the variety of ways that the kids recorded their predictions from tracing the objects to drawing with different colored crayons.
Then we tested our predictions. This part was great fun. We used another science tool, tweezers, to reclaim our objects from the water.

We double checked our predictions and found that for most part, our predictions were correct. We did have some surprises. The rubber bands did not float. A few folks thought that the Legos would sink and were surprised that they float nicely.

Our final challenge was to make a boat that could float as many pennies as possible. One participant, Lucas, was able to float 23 pennies on a piece of tin foil!

If you want to check out some other things to float and sink, go see my previous post here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Animal of the Week - River Otters

Image from

River otters will live in all kinds of water, not just rivers. They like to have fresh water where they can swim, hunt for prey, and play.

On land, they use their senses of smell and sight to find they prey. They eat fish, amphibians, crustaceans and if they can catch them, small mammals.

When they dive in the water, otters use their sensitive whiskers to find prey.

River otters like to slip and slide in the mud and snow.

Locally, check out the Blackstone River Bike Trail for otters. I have seen them there twice.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

Squirrels have a sweet tooth.

Red squirrels will bite the bark of sugar maples in the spring and lick the sap. Yum.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Making a bird feeder

Image from

This is a classic activity to do with your preschooler. It is messy and lots of fun. Using a pine cone, some string, peanut butter and bird seed, you can create a bird feeder the birds will flock to. Tie the string on to the pine cone first, then slather the pine cone with peanut butter. Roll the pine cone in bird seed and you are done! Hang up in location you can see from a window.

If your child is allergic to peanuts, solid shortening can be substituted. Also check your bird seed to make sure it doesn't contain peanuts.

Another fun bird feeder to make that reuses material, is a water bottle bird feeder. You need a water bottle, scissors, pencils or spoons and bird seed.

Image from

Poke holes in water bottle where the pencil or spoon will go through. Then you need to cut a small hole above that one so the birds can perch on the pencil and reach in to get seeds. You can cut one set of holes or two as shown in the picture above. Once you have your holes cut, add your pencils or spoons and fill with seed.

What birds come to your feeder? The more mixed your seed, the greater the mix of birds. I refilled my bird feeder this morning and it took a male and female cardinal less than two minutes to come to the feeder.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Review: Feathers for Lunch

Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert is one of my very favorite field guides - trust me I not only have a lot of field guides, I've read even more. This is a story about a house cat who escapes in to the yard and encounters a dozen common backyard birds. Each bird is illustrated in detail that will allow identification of the bird.

The back of the book has a traditional field guide layout for each bird but in a streamlined form showing the most basic of information.

There are a few ways to use this book with your preschooler. First you can just read it and talk about how the cat is a predator and the birds are prey. The cat isn't effective as a predator since he has a bell. Why did his owners put a bell on the cat?

Another fun way to use the book is as a field guide. You can check out the birds at your feeder and see what birds you have. The book can help you identify the birds you have and since there are on a few, and the most common birds, you won't get lost wondering what bird you have.

Lois Ehlert uses paper to make her pictures. Can you cut out different shaped pieces of paper and create pictures of the birds you see?

5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Animal of the Week - Squirrels

Image from

This time of year squirrels, like this grey squirrel, may be the most common visitor to your bird feeder. Many birds are starting to find some juicy bugs and seeds that were covered with snow and our squirrel friends are still waiting for the ground to defrost before they can dig deep to find their hidden caches of nuts.

Squirrels' primary habitat is mature woods - woods with big trees and some under brush, but because they can find food there, many squirrels are moving into places like parks and suburban neighborhoods.

In the winter, squirrels will nest in a cavity, often one left by a bird. They will store some food and line the nest with sticks, leaves, and sometimes fur for insulation. In the summer, squirrels build a nest of leaves and sticks a bit bigger than a basket ball. This summer nest is called a drey.

Unlike most other species of squirrel, the grey squirrel will eat birds and eggs in addition to the traditional squirrel diet of nuts, seeds, mushrooms, pine cones, fruits, and bark.

We love to watch the squirrels at our feeders. We have three grey squirrels and at least on red squirrel. They are quite bold and very funny to watch as they seem to play with each other and carry on great conversations.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

Could dinosaurs spit?

In the movie Jurassic Park, a Dilophosaurs spits venom in a man's face. Alas, there is no physical evidence that dinosaurs could spit. It takes a lot of muscle to spit and that probably would have left marks on the skeletons of dinosaurs.

There are snakes such as the Spitting Cobra that appear to spit venom, but they really just spray their venom. The have large muscles that allow them to eject venom quite accurately.

Check out this video of a spitting cobra, well spitting. It is under two minutes and very well done.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Make your own Fossils

Using modeling clay or Model Magic and objects like ferns, feathers, bones, or shells, you can create a fossil.

We just did this at the library and made all kinds of impressions from shells to toy dino prints to car tracks.

Flatten a piece of clay with your hand and press an object into it. You can just stop here and let the clay or Model Magic to dry and then paint it. This is how foot prints are fossilized.

If you are ready for a more realistic fossil, you can use plaster or clay. Carefully roll out another piece of clay about the same size. Cover the object with the second piece of clay and be sure it molds to the object. Gently pull the clay apart and you will have two impressions of your fossil! Once dry, you can paint the clay to look like rock.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Review: Dinosaurs Big and Small

I am a huge fan of Kathleen Zoehfeld - I really love all her books. She takes very complex topics and makes the very accessible with out talking down to me.

Dinosaurs Big and Small demonstrates how long and tall dinosaurs were and more importantly to me, she talks about how we know this information. The next question most kids, and adults might have is how heavy dinosaurs were. Kathleen handles this extremely well. Scientists don't actually know how heavy dinosaurs were and can only make some well educated guesses.

The best part of this book is how they measure things. While using standard measurements of feet and pounds for everything, she also puts the measurements in context for kids by measuring in kid units. She also measures in elephants for weight which is a way scientists do to.

I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Dinosaurs in the library!

We had dinosaurs in the library today! We had a great time exploring just how really big some of the dinosaurs were and how small some of them were. We know a lot about dinosaurs from fossils so we played paleontologist, scientist who studies dinosaurs, by digging out our own dinosaur clues. Then we got to make fossils.

Here are some ideas for exploring dinosaurs with your own paleontologists at home.

What if you had a dinosaur? Make a habitat for your dinosaur in a shoe box, empty tissue box, or on paper. Cut out magazine pictures, use natural materials (pine sprigs, twigs, rocks) or paint your own food, water, and friends for your dino.

Counting. Use dinosaur shaped crackers for counting. If you find dinosaur shaped fruit snacks you can lay them out in a graph before eating to see which color has the most and which color has the least.

Sorting. Gather all your toy dinosaurs and then group into piles with at least two dinosaurs in each pile. What kind of piles did you make? Try again but make fewer or more piles. Try piling them by what foods they ate or when they lived.

Herbivore or Carnivore? Look at your teeth together. Some of our teeth are long, wide and sharp while others are just bumpy. What do we use our teeth for? What do the front teeth do better than the back teeth? You can extend this at lunch by offering meat like a hot dog and plants like lettuce or carrots. How do you eat different foods? Dinosaurs were the same way. Plant eaters used their teeth to grind leaves (molar = grind) and plant stems up while carnivores used their slim sharp teeth (incise = cut) to tear into meat. (Humans are omnivores – we eat both plants and meat.)

Dig it! Hide plastic dinosaurs in the sand box or a small box with corn meal. Give your child a small shovel, paint brush, a ruler, a sifter, and a hat as the tools of a paleontologist. They can dig the fossils and use the tools to carefully uncover and measure them. As they dig the dirt, they should put it through the sifter to uncover tiny fossils. You can make footprints or scenes with toy dinosaurs as well.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Animal of the Week - Dinosaurs

Image from

This is our Dino Week! Dinosaurs were one of my childhood obsessions! I had so much fun with dinosaurs it wasn't until I was in graduate school that I finally had the thought to become a paleontologist - or someone who studies dinosaurs.

Apatosaurus was my favorite tho we called it Brontosaurus then. Apatosaurus was one of the largest animals ever to live on our planet and they were plant eaters. Measuring almost 90 feet long it dwarfs most other dinosaurs. It's main defenses were its size and tail - it could wipe its tail around and knock other dinosaurs around.

When I was little, Apatosauruses were always shown belly deep in water or in swamps. As more fossil evidence has surfaced, palaeontologists now think they were really land dwellers.

I love how this shows science and scientists ability to change as more evidence is found. If you want to learn more about Apatosaurus, check out this site for young kids.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fun Friday Fact

Polar bear fur isn't white. Honest! Polar bear fur is made up of clear hollow tubes that help to insulate the bears and keep them warm. Their skin is black and it is a combination of their fur, skin and a thick layer of blubber or fat under the skin that all work to keep the bears toasty in the cold arctic home.

Now before anyone starts correcting their teachers (and getting ME in trouble) and saying that polar bears aren't white, they -look- white because the clear fur reflects the light from the snow and ice of the area. They look yellowish sometimes from the oils in the foods they eat.

Check out more facts about polar bear here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Experiments with Ice

Today we are going to do some experiments with ice at the Millbury Public Library at 1pm. We are going to be doing lots of predicting, observing and data collecting and having fun while we are at it. Just to get you warmed up (or should I say chilled out...) for the program, here are some other simple experiments to try at home.

Juice Pops – have kids mix frozen juice concentrate with warm water. Mix it until it is no longer frozen. Pour in to cups, add a popsicle stick, and pop into the freezer. Check on them every 15 minutes or so and describe what you see.

When it is completely frozen, peel off the paper cup and look at the ice crystals. What do they look like? How do they taste?

If you liked this, try freezing other edible things like grapes and bananas. Try some frozen and at room temperature.

Watercolor Snow - Grab your water color paints and go out to the snow. You can use melted snow for the water or wet the paint before going out. As you paint on the snow, the water will meld the colors and wick the paint away. After a few minutes, you will have a new canvas. You can also do with food colored water in a spray bottle or regular water bottle.

Ice Balloons - Fill balloons with water and freeze. Only fill them so the balloon is about six inches in diameter. Suspend with a close pin from a shelf in the freezer so the balloon will freeze round. Remove the latex and you have an ice ball. Put the round ice balls in a bath tub or wash tub and see how they move around. You can have races with ice balls.

Snow Flakes - Put a black piece of paper in the freezer. Next time it snows, take the black paper out and catch snow flakes. You can use a magnifying glass to observe them closely.

Fun winter books:

The Mitten by Jan Brett – discuss how different animals live in the winter, use ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.), and repeating patterns. Check out her website here for more mitten activities and pictures of the animals that you can use to make patterns or reenact the story.

Thanks to the Friends of the Millbury Public Library for their continued support of Messy Fingers!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Hands-On Grossology

Given that this week's theme seems to be grossology, I thought a gross book review would be in order.

Hands-On Grossology by Silvia Branzei is a terrific book aimed at 6-8 year old kids and will appeal to older kids as well. The science is great and presented beautifully - or should I say grossly. Each experiment starts with observations, hypotheses and data collection. Parents beware, some of these experiments are truly gross such as Pet Slime Molds and making fake poop, but each one of them helps kids understand a key scientific concept such as making careful observations and creating models for how things work.

What I love about this book: it is HANDS-ON (which may not appeal to all parents) and it gets kids excited about science. Measuring your own personal grossness and measuring the disgusting bits of the world around us, may not appeal to every adult, you'd be hard pressed to find many second graders who wouldn't jump at the opportunity to make a Burp-o-Matic or test toilet paper.

I give it 4.5 out of 5.

Image from

Explore Ice!

Tomorrow we will be leading a special Messy Fingers program for preschool through third grade at the Millbury Public Library at 1pm.

Call to preregister (508) 865-1181.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Every now and then the universe just seems to send you a signal and right now the universe is telling me....


We made slime today at our local science museum, the Ecotarium. That along with a handful of other slime moments, it seems like time to share Slime with you all.

To make your own slime, you will need:
Glue (clear is fun but any white glue is perfect)
Borax (the 20 Mule Team kind)
Two cups
Popsicle stick

Mix one teaspoon of borax in one cup of water and set aside. Mix the glue and water in equal amounts - about a quarter cup of each one. Mix this well. (This is the point where I add a few drops of glow in the dark paint because I am just that kind of girl!)

Slowly add some of the borax into the glue/water mixture and stir slowly. This will start sticking to the Popsicle stick. Pull it out and ta-da you have slime. Squish it in, roll it, bounce it - store it in plastic bag or air tight container and it will last for months.

This is a chemistry moment and an example of polymerization. Putting the molecules of the glue into a three dimensional structure.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Animal of the Week

The Black-capped Chickadee was one of the common birds at our bird feeder this weekend when we were counting for the Great Backyard Bird Count. They not only are one of my very favorite birds, but they are the state bird of my home state, Massachusetts.

One of the reasons I love chickadees so much is the richness of their behavior and sheer awesomeness of their physiology. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I heard the males start mating season. Yep, male chickadees started to sing the familiar "pee wee" song that melts the hearts of female chickadees everywhere.

Like most birds, only the male sings. Both males and females call and the "chick a dee dee dee" is their call. Once the have eggs the male and female will whisper the call to each other.

Chickadees often hang out in flocks with other birds like Tufted Titmouses and Downy Woodpeckers. Mixed flocks like this will descend on a food source like a bird feeder and eat you out of house and home about the same time every day. Chickadees prefer suet, peanut butter and sunflower seeds. They need very high energy foods to keep them warm in the winter.

We do have other kinds of chickadees in the US including Boreal and Carolina Chickadees. To see pictures click on their names.

What's your favorite bird from your Backyard Bird Count?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Fun Fact

Turtles breath through their butts in the winter.

No, really, I'm not kidding.

Some reptiles bury themselves in the mud and go into a torpor - where they are dormant - others like turtles are active in winter. Turtles are not as active in the winter because the temperature is lower, but they do feed and swim around.

Reptiles breath air just like we mammals do. But in the winter with ice covering the surface of most fresh water, s0 they cannot come to the surface. Turtles have sacs in their cloacas (the science word for reptile butt) with lots of blood vessels so they can take the oxygen directly into their blood from the water.

If you don't believe me, check this more detailed explanation.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Citizen Science

This winter we have seen some birds in our yard that we've never seen before - well never in our own yard before. How do we know this? We keep lists!

We've had a Red-bellied Woodpecker and a Carolina Wren visit the feeders. The wren we've heard before but never seen.

This weekend is the Great American Backyard Bird Count. This is a fun way to actually do some science and collect data that will be used by scientists to learn about the habits of our local birds.

My friend, and fellow science lover, MamaJoules has a nice post about the GBYBC here.

To get your official rules and checklists, go here.

We are going to participate - what about you? If you can't participate, you can post your observations below.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Air is invisible yet has properties we can see, touch and observe at very early ages. Even the youngest of children respond to the wind or will try to blow out candles. Air is all around us and is always pushing on your body. Your body pushes back equally so we don't feel the air pressure directly.

Wind has such clear effects on our environment. We can see it blow leaves, move trees, and move water. We can experience made-made wind by standing in front of a fan or make our own with our breath. Try some of these fun and easy games with air,

Straw races. Try blowing a cotton ball with your breath. Just blow on it. It will go pretty far. Now try blowing with a straw. The cotton ball can sail across the room. The straw helps to concentrate the force of our blowing. Try the same thing with other toys such as small balls or cars.

Launching: Make your favorite paper air plane. Try throwing it with your right hand and mark where it lands. Try with your left hand. Which launched better? Now try outside. Does wind affect your plane? Now challenge a friend. Try both of you adding a paper clip or a special fold in similar places. How does that affect your flights?

Parachutes: Take a piece of fabric that is about 12 inches square. Cut four 10 inch pieces of heavy thread or light string and tie to each corner of the fabric. Tie a weight to the four strings such as a washer, bolt, or small toy. Now drop it by standing on a chair or from the top of the stairs. What happens to the fabric? Can you fold the parachute in different ways that affect its float down? Does a change in the weight change the float down for the parachute? What if you made it out of different fabric?

Music: Some musical instruments use air to make music. What instruments do you have or could make that use air? Kazoos, harmonicas, recorders, flutes, trumpets and whistles all use air. Try making a jug instrument my blowing across a glass bottle or jug. Does the amount of liquid in the bottle matter to the sound?

Bath Time: Add a cup to bath time. Turn a cup upside down and slowly push it down in to the water being careful not to tip it sideways. A bubble or two might leak out but the idea is that water and air don’t occupy the same space. Water will push air out of the way if it can. What happens when you reach the bottom? Is the cup full of water or air? What happens when you let go? Try again with cups of different sizes and shapes.


Air is all around you by Franklin Branley

Kite in the Park by Lucy Cousins (of Maisy fame)

Up, Up & Away!:The Science Of Flight. By Barbara Taylor.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Feb Schedule

1. This Tuesday 10:30 - Millbury Public Library

We are going to play with AIR. We will make simple gliders, have cotton ball races and fling things off the balcony (always one of MY personal favorites!). You are welcome to call the library on Monday 508 865 1181 to reserve as spot or just show up on Tuesday.

2. Feb 24 (Note this is a THURSDAY) at 1pm

ICE - this is a program for preschoolers and their school aged siblings. There is a limit on the space of 20 kids and we will be going in and out so bring slings for the babies and wear boots!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Try This TODAY

We decided to see if we could replicate the video of the woman in Canada who threw a cup of hot water into the air and watched it turn to snow.

It worked!! While our temperatures were not the -45' temps seen in the video, it is certainly cold enough to see this sudden change in water - turning from liquid to solid nearly instantly.

Here is a nice article with a link to the original YouTube video.

Today is a one day serious cold snap in New England - so today is the day!

Friday, January 14, 2011

5 Fun Things to do in the Snow

Here in New England we just had a lot of snow and I know we are not alone - lots of other places in the country have plenty of the white stuff on the ground! While it is too cold to spend a ton of time outside, there are plenty of fun things to do. Here are some older posts with ideas:

1. Blow bubbles! The weather is cold enough now to try blowing bubbles in the cold. Blow the bubble and catch it on your wand. What might happen?
~I posted a challenge last January here.
~Check out my results here.

2. Grab some snow and melt it in a coffee filter. Take two snow samples, one clean and one dirty. Melt them in separate containers. How long do you think it will take? Once melted, pour the water through a white coffee filter. Was the "clean" snow really clean?

3. Paint the snow. Grab some water colors and a big brush. You can paint the snow. The snow will seem to absorb the painting. What is really going on?

4. Track. Check out the animal tracks in the snow. At my house, there are tons of tracks under my bird feeders. There are small birds, big birds, and two kinds of squirrels. The other tracks are my mom's from when she fills the feeders every day!

5. Have fun with Ice. Where does ice melt better? There are some really fun ideas here.