Hi Kids,  

This fun page is just for you. It's loaded with fun facts, crafts, outdoor activities, jokes, games, videos, and stories. Nature-themed activities change every few months, so make sure you check back for new fun stuff to do.

Your Groundhog Friend,
Willy the Woodchuck
Nature Rules!

____________

Have you ever wondered what weather is? Weather is all around us, all the time. It is made up of different things like the temperature, the sun, clouds, wind, rain and snow. When you stand outside, you can see and feel the weather.   

Wild Weather in Illinois

In recorded history:

  • The hottest it has ever been: 117 degrees
  • The coldest it has ever been: minus 36 degrees
  • The most snow at one time: 37.8 inches
  • The most rain to fall in a day: 16.94 inches

What's the difference between weather and climate?

This video explains it.

Snowstorm in a Bag

Create some weather of your own. Try out this craft where you make a snowstorm in a bag!

  • Take a ziplock bag & draw a snowman on the outside.  
  • Tear up tiny pieces of napkin or paper towel to make snow
  • Put the “snow” in your bag.
  • Insert a straw into the bag, leaving the top portion of the straw outside the bag, and then zip the bag up tight around the straw.
  • Blow into the straw and watch your snowstorm begin! 

Photo by Jen Guest

Trash to Treasure Wind Chime 

Looking for a way to reuse things instead of throwing them in the trash? Everything on Earth can have a second use with a little imagination. Make a wind chime out of things you can find around the house.    

Here is what you will need:

  • Scissors
  • Nail, sewing needle or drill to poke holes in plastic
  • Plastic cup, lid or plate
  • String

Trash to Treasure crafting materials (See what you have available. Things like bottle caps, lids, beads, tin cans, broken jewelry, old keys, old dvds or cds, silverware, metal washers or nuts, and more will work great.)

Instructions:

  1. Make the top of the wind chime using a plastic cup, lid, or plate.
  2. Poke a hole in the center of the top of the wind chime.  
  3. Thread a long string through the top. This is used to hang the wind chime but also to hold the center chime. Tie a knot halfway on the string to prevent it from sliding out.
  4. Tie something on the string to make the center chime. In the example, two metal washers were used.
  5. Poke 4-6 holes evenly spaced in the sides of the wind chime top.
  6. Tie a long string though each hole.
  7. Decorate each string with Trash to Treasure items (examples in material list above).
  8. Hang up your wind chime outside or inside by a window.

Photos by Jen Guest

More Windchimes

WAtch this video to see how to make a different kind of windchime.

Willy's Scavenger Hunt

Walk in your neighborhood or visit a local forest preserve and complete our scavenger hunt.

DOWNLOAD THE SCAVENGER HUNT FORM

 

10 Things to do in the Rain

Playing outside in the rain can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to be safe. Never go outside to play when you hear thunder or see lightning. But, if the coast is clear, here’s 10 fun ideas to enjoy a rainy day outdoors:

  • Make mud pies.
  • Splash in puddles.
  • Search for animals that like the rain, like frogs, toads, slugs, worms and salamanders!
  • Dance!
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Sing.
  • Have a water fight.
  • Plant some seeds! April showers bring May flowers!
  • Look for rainbows.
  • Walk with an umbrella.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

 

What does a cloud wear under its raincoat?

 

WATCH THE FULL PLAYLIST

George Brings Spring 

Spring showers bring May flowers! Visit four habitats to plant flowers and place animals in safe places. Then, make it rain! Watch the rain transform each habitat. The new season brings new animals to your scene. Can you find all of the new visitors? 

PLAY NOW

Sid's Science Fair Weather Surprise

Help Sid match the items to the correct habitats and weather conditions. Check out the thermometers for clues on what fits where!

PLAY NOW

Wildest Weather

Are you ready to experience weather on different planets? The wildest weather game challenges you to build space probes that will withstand the extreme weather conditions on each of the solar system’s planets. Attempt to land the probe safely in the drop zone while facing different obstacles such as wind speed, rain, snow and more.  

PLAY NOW

Books for kids

“Snow is Falling,” written by Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by Holly Keller 

Snow is wonderful for sledding and building snowmen, but what does it do? Read all about the snow and discover just how fascinating and mysterious it is. 

“Pitter and Patter,” written by Martha Sullivan and illustrated by Cathy Morrison

Take a ride with Pitter and Patter to see where the rain travels after it falls from the sky. Oh, the places you’ll go and the creatures you will see. A water drop is a wonderfully adventurous thing to be! 

“When Spring Comes,” written by Kevin Henkes and Illustrated by Laura Dronzek 

When it’s cold and snowy and bleak and brown, spring seems very far away. But, if you wait, soon you will see leaves and blossoms. See how the weather changes and what new things it brings to the spring season.