Naturally Mysterious

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Books to Share

Did Dinosaurs Eat Pizza? Mysteries Science Hasn’t Solved by Lenny Hort
Questions, Questions by Marcus Pfister
What In The Wild?: Mysteries of Nature Concealed by David Schwartz
Where Do Balloons Go? by Jamie Lee Curtis

Books to Show or Booktalk

Big Max and the Mystery of the Missing Giraffeby Kin Platt
Detective Dinosaur Lost and Found by James Skofield
Inspector Hopper's Mystery Year by Doug Cushman

Bulletin Board

Clued into Reading!

Cover the bulletin board with poster paper. Use crime scene tape, or make your own from yellow crepe paper and letters cut from black paper to create an edge around the bulletin board. Cut out letters to say "Clued into Reading." Add book jackets for mystery books. Cut out mystery symbols such as question marks, magnifying glasses, fingerprints, beakers, notepads, and badges.


Missing Links

Use the dinosaur bone pattern provided here to make nametags.

A graphic of a dinosaur bone outline pattern to cut out and use as a name tag


Dinosaur Dig

Create a dinosaur dig by placing a large shallow pan on a table. Fill the box with clean sand and bury a few “dinosaur eggs” and “fossil bones” or similar items around the pan. Add a sign indicating this is a dinosaur dig and place a couple of plastic hammers and picks in the sand.


Dino Stampers

Give dinosaur stampers from Oriental Trading Company at to the children.


“The Ants Go Marching” on the NEIHS website.

"Why Why Why?" by H. H. A. Beach and "Can You Be a Sunbeam?" by Terry Kluytmans available at Kididdles.

Dance and Movement Songs

Dino Dance

Print out the lyrics for "Dino Dance" from Barney at  and let the children sing and dance around the room.

Action Rhymes

Where Balloons Go (Traditional; adapted to use with Where Do Balloons Go? by Jamie Lee Curtis)

Five balloons, going up, up, up.   (wiggle fingers up in the air)
One balloon popped   (clap hands as loudly as possible)
And then there were four.   (hold up four fingers)

Four little balloons, going up, up, up.   (wiggle fingers up in the air)
One balloon popped    (clap hands as loudly as possible)
And now there are three.   (hold up three fingers)

Three little balloons going up, up, up.   (wiggle fingers up in the air)
One balloon popped,   (clap hands as loudly as possible)
Leaving only two.   (hold up two fingers)

Two little balloons going up, up, up.   (wiggle fingers up in the air)
One balloon popped   (clap hands as loudly as possible)
And now there is one.   (hold up one finger)

That one little balloon went up, up, up.   (wiggle one finger in the air standing on tiptoes to go as high as possible)

That little balloon sailed out of sight.   (hold hand over eyes looking in the air)

And now I have none.   (make a goose egg with your thumb and forefinger)

And the mystery is
Where do balloons go?   (shrug your shoulders)
Let's find out!   (read Where Do Balloons Go? by Jamie Lee Curtis)

Rhymes and Poetry

What in the Wild?

Read a couple of poems from What in the Wild? by David Schwartz. Be sure to hold the page so that the solutions to the puzzle poem are not revealed until the children have time to ponder what the poem is about. If possible, bring in an earthworm, an abandoned bird's nest, and other objects to display.

As I Was Going to St. Ives (Traditional)

As I was going to St. Ives
I met a man with seven wives
And every wife had seven sacks
And every sack had seven cats
And every cat had seven kits
Kits, cats, sacks, wives
How many were going to St. Ives?

Flannel Boards

Make flannel board pieces for The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle using the templates provided by DLTK.

Puppet Plays

"The Mysterious Egg" in One-Person Puppet Plays by Denise Anton Wright. (Available through Net Library.)

Stories to Tell

Tell the pourquoi story Why Epossumondas Has No Hair on His Tail byColleen Salley. Pourquoi stories explain why mysterious things happen in nature. Additional pourquoi stories can be found at Planet Oz Kids.


  • White and off-white construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glitter
  • Glue sticks

One of nature's greatest mysteries is that no two snowflakes are the same. Distribute paper and scissors and make original snowflakes. Remember that snowflakes are six-sided, so demonstrate how to fold the paper properly. For younger children, have some pre-folded paper available. Cut out shapes and free-form pieces, being careful not to cut all of the straight edge off. Unfold and show off the snowflake. For added beauty, apply white or silver glitter by applying glue and dispersing glitter on the glue spots.

A graphic showing how to fold and cut a piece of paper so that it comes out looking like a snowflake

Leafy Animals
  • Leaves of various sizes and shapes
  • Construction paper in various colors other than green
  • White glue

In advance, collect a variety of leaves in various sizes and shapes, enough so that each child has a good selection to choose from. Also in advance, rinse the leaves off and pat them dry with paper towels. Distribute construction paper and allow the children to select leaves that they can arrange in the shape of an animal or other object. Encourage the children to move the leaves around and overlap them until they are satisfied. Glue the leaves in place and allow them to dry.

Example with photos and process from San Diego Zoo.

Games and Activities

Mysterious Substances

Mystery Substances - Olfactory version (video)

Mystery Substances - Taste version (video)

For this activity, set up a table with three or more containers such as bowls or shallow pans. Fill each container with a non-toxic substance that is safe to touch and taste, selecting substances that are similar in some way. For example, you might provide four white powdery products such as corn starch, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and powdered milk. Allow each child to examine the substances and investigate before discussing the differences and similarities between the items. Let the children ask you and other adults questions about the substances. Can anyone solve the mystery of what each is? If necessary, provide some clues such as "This one dissolves in my coffee" or "This one tastes great on donuts."


Optical Illusions Coloring Book by Koichi Sato

Crafts for Kids Who Are Wild about Dinosaurs
by Kathy Ross

Create Your Own Snowflakes - Create online snowflakes and email them to yourself or a friend on theSnowdays web site.

San Diego Zoo - The kid's section of the San Diego Zoo's website provides interactive games, crafts, and web cams.


Page last modified: February 15, 2012