Dive into Great Lakes literacy with these programming ideas!

  1. Color the Great Lakes
    Enjoy these printable coloring sheets, created by Wisconsin Sea Grant for all Great Lakes lovers!
  1. Draw an invasive species
    View profiles of common aquatic invasive species and create a sketch to help educate yourself and stop the spread.
  1. Learn about Great Lakes sea shanties
    Sea shanties are traditional folk songs, commonly sung while working aboard the schooners that explored the Great Lakes. Or better yet, write a shanty of your own! And be sure to learn all about the sea shanties of Black sailors on the Great Lakes.
  1. Play some shipwreck games
    From dressing a diver to studying artifacts, these games are sure to rock your boat.
  1. Solve the Mystery of the Legend of the Lost Emerald
    Step into the shoes of maritime archaeologist Jules to recover the stories behind shipwrecks inspired by real Great Lakes history!
  1. Learn to identify fish
    Use this dichotomous key to learn key species traits.
  1. Build a cardboard boat
    And float it! While you’re sailing, think about what paper pollution does to water, and be sure to recycle it after.
  1. Write about your water experiences.
    Nature journaling is a wonderful way to sit and enjoy the Great Lakes and to take time to reflect. Bring along a small notebook when you visit your local water body. Take a look around you and observe what you see. These are observations can be captured in your notebook with narrative writing, poetry or sketches. Be sure to note the date, time, temperature, weather of your reflection. Not sure how to start? Begin with these: “I notice… I wonder… This reminds me of…” And add a drawing, a sketch, a doodle. It’s your nature journal.
  1. Learn about water level changes
    Once you’ve viewed the data, imagine what these bodies of water will look like in the next year. Can you draw, sculpt, collage, or create other art about this?
  1. Watch a sturgeon dissection
    Join Wisconsin Sea Grant staff in discovering what’s inside a sturgeon.
  1. Learn about the Freedom Seekers and Underground Railroad on the Great Lakes.
    Then, select some activities from this drive to deepen your knowledge!
  1. Join trash tracking efforts
    This community science effort provides open data on plastic pollution.
  1. Meet me at a Great Lake
    Break the ice to make new friends by playing this get-to-know-you game.
  1. Words and Water for the young and the young at heart coming soon
More for your community of readers…
  1. Join the Library BioBlitz
    The Great Lakes Library BioBlitz will run from October 14 through October 28, 2024. Join us on iNaturalist and learn more about BioBlitzing. Contact Anne Moser akmoser@aqua.wisc.edu to be put on our email list.
  1. Create a StoryWalk
    Did you enjoy the Great Lakes, Great Read books? Turn them into a StoryWalk, but be sure to follow the guidelines.
  1. Create a community of Water Walkers
    Connect with water and kids all over the country, and even get your own water box.
  1. Put on a play about plastic pollution
    These pre-made scripts for “Me and Debry” make plastic education fun! Scripts are downloadable and free to use. Just a few props is all you need.
  1. Clean up a local beach
    Roll up your sleeves and protect our water!

About the Great Lakes