DIY Fun: Animal Study


***They are hippos! Andrew saw this picture and said, “That’s creepy. They look like serial killers.” Hippos.***

Today’s DIY Fun is pretty easy, and that’s how we like it these days! We are lucky enough to live 5 minutes from the St. Louis Zoo, which we visit twice a week during the spring and summer months when the boys are not in preschool. And so we decided to do an animal study. This involves learning all you can about one animal. Our animal of choice? The hippo!

We made masks: DSC_0753


Milo stuck to traditional hippo colors: mostly gray with hints of pink on the cheeks…



… while Oliver opted for a more colorful hippo!


Bed-head adds to the wildness, right?

We had spent the previous afternoon researching hippos at the library, watching National Geographic videos of hippos in the wild, and talking about hippo facts that were surprises to us (we found out that hippos aren’t even afraid of crocodiles, for instance!). With our newfound knowledge of hippos, we set out to leave early the next morning at the zoo to “surprise” our local hippopotami with masks and gray clothes and lots of practice slowly stomping through forests!



These are either rhino or hippo tracks… close enough?



We were the first to arrive at the hippo exhibit, so we took our time reading more facts about the animals. Though Milo claimed to know all of it already.


But when we reached the hippo tank, all we saw were fish!




It was really early. And already hot enough to produce enough sweat to run down the space between my shoulder blades and soak the part of my shirt where I had carried Oliver in the ErgoCarrier. Yeah. He might be getting a little old for that, but it sure beats pulling him along by his arm.

Anyway, we played hippo games and made hippo noises and told hippo poop jokes while we waited for the actual hippos to appear.



But still, 20 minutes later, no hippos.


Someone was looking a little disappointed.



… but still looking, nonetheless!



You know? We never did see the hippos that day. But no matter. We learned quite a bit for next time!

If you want to do your own animal study, let your child choose his/her favorite animal, and research the heck out of it! You might be surprised by what you learn!

P.s.- Our nanny Elisa who comes to help a few days a week is in Belgium for 3 weeks! And… Andrew is going out of town next week for 5 days. Let me tell you, I’m already just a teensy bit nervous! Elisa, we miss you but hope you have a wonderful time! 

9 thoughts on “DIY Fun: Animal Study”
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  1. I love your little hippos (which is something I don’t think I’ve ever said before. The internet makes you say weird things sometimes.)
    Good luck doing the extended solo parenting gig. It is so hard when they are younger. So hard! It makes you sort of fleetingly consider becoming an alcoholic to cope or a polygamist so that you won’t be the only adult in the house ever again. But then your sanity reasserts itself, and everything is okay. Be strong!

  2. Hey Lauren-
    This does not relate to hippos at all… Fun, educational day- btw!

    Re: the Popsicle party! (For the adults only!) Try the new Margarita push pops! Made by Coyote. $16 -box of 8. Quite tasty- beats Skinny Girl & Dailies hands down!

  3. Bestest hippo heads ever! How lucky to live so close to the zoo, we’ve been planning a trip but it’s quite a treck and not nearly as nice as your’s looks.

    Good luck surivivng 5 days solo. Maybe they will all decide to become expert sleepers just in time (fingers crossed).

  4. Those hippo masks are great! And because I’m a 12-year-old boy, I feel compelled to talk about the weirdness of hippo poop. Why do they spray it like that? We went to the L.A. zoo once with some friends and I was sharing with them my vast knowledge of hippo poop, when one of the hippos began pooping as if on command. It totally knew I was talking about it and wanted to make me look like a hippo poop aficionado.

    I’m pretty sure this concludes the weirdest blog comment you have ever gotten.

  5. C’mon now…who was the most disappointed at the absence of the hippos? You or the kiddos? Hippos ARE your fave…

    ; )

  6. Aw, Mary, you got me! I DO love hippos.

    And Allison, according to our research, hippos spread their poop like that as a way of marking their territory. Impressed? We know a lot about hippos around here now. And that actually isn’t the weirdest comment we’ve had by far.

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