Travels With Charlie: Loons and the Lakes of Minnesota

*I received a free copy of the book, Travels With Charlie: Across the Midwest, in order to create this post. All opinions and activities are my own. This post also contains Amazon Affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details.
Welcome to Minnesota! The weather is finally getting nice. We’re know for our cold winters, with plenty of snow and temperatures plunging down below zero degrees Fahrenheit. But when the weather is nice, we get outside. Minnesota marks the beginning of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park. It begins as a small stream that you can walk across. We’re known for our lakes and have over 90,000 miles of shoreline. That’s more than California and Florida – combined! The lakes are where you often find our state bird, the common loon.


The common loon makes its summer home along the shorelines of our lakes. We’re always so excited to see a loon family, especially when their babies are little. They often ride on their mother’s back. Even when you can’t see them, you can hear them. Their call is distinct and sometimes quite haunting. If you want to hear a loon, check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds site. They have several recordings you can listen too.
We are already big fans of the common loon and wanted to their image in an art project. This project is easy to do with a very pretty result.
Supplies Needed:
Heavy paper (this works best, but you can use any white paper you have on hand)
Black construction paper
Oil pastels


We began by painting our background. Loons are often found swimming on a lake, so we used blue and white watercolors to paint lake waters for our background.


While waiting for our background to dry, we worked on our loon. We drew a simple silhouette on the black paper and cut it out. We copied an image found in the book, Loon at Northwood Lake
by Elizabeth Ring. It’s a wonderful book to read if you want to learn more about the common loon.


Next, we used our oil pastels to draw the details on the loon. Miss Preschooler drew a red eye and white details. She opted for spots instead of the checked pattern on the loons back and included the white belly. She’s never been one to get bogged down in the details! Once our background was dry, we glued our loon to it.


I love the results of our project and love learning more about Minnesota. Travels With Charlie: Across the Midwest
served as our jumping off point for this project. It was so much fun to hear about some of the more quirky finds in our state, like the Giant Prairie Chicken Statue and the Jolly Green Giant Statue. I’ve gotta see them both sometime!

Booking Across the USA is a collaborative project with over 50 bloggers participating. Stop by the landing page and see all the other stops on the route. You’ll be able to find a project for each of the 50 states. What fun! (Pssst…. there’s also a giveaway for all four books in the Travels with Charlie set.) Hope you enjoy traveling across all 50 states.

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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her at Better Than Homework where she shares fun learning activities or Creative Family Fun where she shares art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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