We hope you and your family are safe and healthy at home, but we know how difficult it is to be away from school, friends, and activities. That’s why we’re happy to provide you with this new email series, dedicated to a day’s worth of nature and science facts, activities, guiding questions to ask your kids, and more. Check out the links below for each day’s theme and activities, and then subscribe to the newsletter to receive more!
Additionally, follow the Nature Museum on our social media channels for a behind-the-scenes look as we continue taking care of our live animals and butterflies!
Past Wonder at Home Newsletters
Did you know that Lake Michigan is the largest public drinking water supply in the state of Illinois? Even though the lake is large, it’s not an unlimited supply. Let’s learn some simple steps we can all take to help conserve water at home!
Originally published April 23, 2020
We spend a lot of time talking about how important bees and butterflies are to pollinating plants, but they aren’t the only ones who help! In fact, there are a lot of other insects to play a role in pollination, too!
Originally published April 29, 2020
Today would have marked our 22nd Butterfly Ball, and although we cannot celebrate the way we had originally planned, we are taking this opportunity to focus on some of our history and our premier exhibit–the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven!
Originally published May 1, 2020
Animals have developed all kinds of adaptations to help them survive. Some are poisonous, some have protective shells, and some have coloring that helps them blend into their surroundings. Let’s explore some cool camouflaged critters!
Originally published May 4, 2020
A habitat is the area in which a group of plants and animals live and interact. If an animal is in the right habitat, they’ll have access to shelter, food, water, and a place to raise their young! Let’s learn more about habitats!
Originally published May 5, 2020
It’s amazing how animals change as they grow up! While some are born looking a lot like their parents, others go through a huge transformation. Even wilder, some babies are on their own from the moment they hatch! Let’s learn more about some baby animals and their parents.
Originally published May 6, 2020
You asked and our scientists answered! In today’s newsletter, we’re answering some of your most common questions. Have other questions? Be sure to drop us a line and maybe we’ll include it in our next Frequently Asked Questions roundup!
Originally published May 7, 2020
We’re taking another look at frogs and toads! Keep reading for stories, Critter Connections, and more. Don’t forget you can also pair these activities with our first frog and toad email, and with our frog-themed Story Time.
Originally published May 11, 2020
Today, we’re taking a closer look at spiders. Some people think they’re scary, but they’re actually helpful! Not only are most of them harmless to people, they’re actually very beneficial. They eat lots of insects that damage crops, and they also eat insects that can carry disease. Let’s explore them some more!
Originally published May 12, 2020
Waterfowl are birds that live on or near water. Ducks, geese, and swans are all waterfowl, so they have a lot of similarities. They all have webbed feet, and broad, flat bills. But they have a lot of differences too. Let’s explore them!
Originally published May 13, 2020
Today is an important day. It’s Endangered Species Day, a day to learn about endangered species and how to protect them. We’re focusing on some of the endangered species that our scientists work with every single day.
Originally published May 15, 2020
Museums make it possible for us to learn from the past, better understand our present, and plan for the future. We’re proud of our 163-year history and place as Chicago’s first public museum. So, today, we’re taking a look at a part of our 350,000-piece collection.
Originally published May 18, 2020
Camouflage and special body coverings are two ways that animals protect themselves from other animals. But there are some other defensive behaviors that we haven’t talked about yet! Let’s explore some of the amazing ways that animals protect themselves.
Originally published May 19, 2020
As Chicagoans, we’re in a really unique position! We live close to several different types of bodies of water, including lakes, ponds, and rivers. But what is the difference between them? And what types of animals live in them? Let’s take a closer look!
Originally published May 21, 2020
Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity. Our scientists are dedicated to conserving and bolstering the biodiversity of our native species. But what does that mean? And why is it important? Let’s explore this topic.
Originally published May 22, 2020
What is a habitat? A habitat is the area in which a group of plants and animals live and interact. An animal’s habitat provides it with food, shelter, and a place to raise its young. Although all habitats share the same basic function, they can vary a lot!
Originally published May 26, 2020
Host plants are plants that an organism lives on and lives off of. There is a big crossover between the types of plants we typically grow in vegetable gardens and the plants that insects have as host plants! Learn more in today’s newsletter.
Originally published May 29, 2020
Dr. Allison recently released some smooth greensnakes into the Lake County Forest Preserves as part of our ongoing headstart partnership. So we thought we’d share some photos and video from the release and explore these adorable, teeny snakes in more detail.
Originally published June 2, 2020
World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 every year to encourage awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Today, we’re focusing on the importance of the environment through age-appropriate lessons, stories, and more.
Originally published June 5, 2020
Have you ever wondered what animal was making the noise we often hear in the summer in Chicago? It’s a cicada. Cicadas are strange-looking insects that can measure up to 2.25 inches long. Despite their kind of small size, they can make a lot of noise! Let’s learn more about these cool critters.
Originally published June 9, 2020
How often do you think about the ground under your feet? About what it is composed of or how old the rocks are? Did you know that under your feet, there are not just rocks and soils, but fossils? Let’s explore these amazing snapshots in time!
Originally published June 10, 2020
Dandelions, Queen Anne’s lace, and other “weeds” are often thought of as nuisances. Many people do their best to get rid of them in their lawns and gardens, but they’re actually important! Let’s learn about some of these often overlooked plants.
Originally published June 12, 2020
Grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids. Those names are often used interchangeably, but they actually belong to very different insects. Although they’re all part of a group of insects known as orthopterans and have a lot of similarities, there are some distinguishing features to help you tell them apart. Let’s take a closer look!
Originally published June 16, 2020