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Hands-On Activities

Are you looking for some fun, hands-on activities to go with a learning theme? Happy Dancing Turtle has collected some of our favorite activities for Pre-K and Elementary learners. Use them to supplement a classroom lesson or for fun in your own home!

Spring & Phenology

Phenology is the study of cyclical and seasonal natural phenomena, or in simpler terms, it is the study of the timing of things in nature! Spring is a great time to become a phenologist, as there are many changes happening with weather, the environment, plants, and animals that can easily be observed! What signs of spring have you noticed?

Animal Tracks & Scat

Spring is also a great time to get outside and hunt down some animal tracks and scat (animal poop)! Since the earth is soft from melting snow and spring rains, it's a good time to look for animal tracks in the mud! It's also mating season, and many animals mark their territory with scat, located in prominent, easy-to-find places! Studying tracks and scat on the ground help you solve the mystery of what animal visitors are in your neck of the woods/prairie and can be a great way to learn more about our wildlife! 

Frogs & Frog Sounds

Have you been near the water lately? Our frogs have returned and are filling our wetlands with music once again! Can you identify the sounds you hear in our frog orchestra? Or is that a toad? What's the difference? Find all the resources you need to start identifying frog calls when you're out and about!

Dark Sky

Humans have always gazed up at the wonders of the night sky. Did you know that an estimated 99% of Americans cannot see a "natural" night sky?  That's because artificial light can cause light pollution, which can have a negative impact on humans, wildlife, energy, and climate change.

Earth Day

This year marks the 50th Celebration of Earth Day! Find out more about the amazing woman, Rachel Carson, who changed the way we think about the environment and who led to the creation of the environmental movement and the Earth Day Celebration! 

Native Flowers

Do you know what a native flower is? What makes it native? And why are they important? Find out in this week's storytime, plus find resources for planting your own native flowers, identifying wildflowers, and some wildflower activities! 

Spring Bird

Have you been seeing or hearing birds in your yard or neighborhood?  Robins are considered one of the first signs of spring and are usually the first to make their nests!  Learn all about Robins in this week's storytime, plus get resources on how to make your own nest, nest platform, and window clings to help the birds! Did you know that recording which birds you see can help scientists all over the world?!

Nature Play

One of our favorite books about putting down our electronics and getting outside will inspire you to "do nothing."  :) 


Weather can be tricky to predict - here are some simple weather tools you can make to help you! 


All of us have found a special rock we wanted to keep at some point in our lives.  Kids love rocks! Here are some resources for them. 


Loons are the state bird of Minnesota and their summer calls from the lakes captivate the hearts of many. Check out our Loon story and activities! 

National Dog Day

What do our fur friends have to do with nature? They're great at getting outside and exploring our neighborhoods! Explore some of these resources! 

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