How do mummies make milk?

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Milk is a white liquid, made inside an animal’s body. It contains lots of nutrients that are important for growing and being healthy, so milk is an important food/drink for babies and young animals. But not all animals can make milk: those that do belong to a group called ‘mammals’.

Human beings (like you and me) are mammals, and human babies drink milk as their only food for the first few months of their lives. My children are amazed to think that they drank milk that I made with my body and they want to know: how do mummies make milk?

So, let’s find out more about how mammals work…!

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What do sea animals drink?

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All living things need water – it is needed for lots of important things that help to keep plants, animals, fungi and bacteria alive. Where my family lives, we are lucky to have clean water to drink from the taps in our house and at the places we go to school and work. But some people and animals have to travel long distances to find water that is safe to drink.

My children were drinking water with their lunch: “What do sea creatures drink?” asked my 5-year-old. “Whales eat krill but they spit all the water out. So what do they drink?”

My 9-year-old suggested that perhaps sea creatures don’t need to drink because their food is already wet. “Maybe the krill is moist enough?” she wondered.

It got us thinking about why water is so important for life and how living creatures get the water they need.

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Why does the cat like Marmite?

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Marmite is a yeast extract that can be eaten, spread on hot buttered toast. It is a typically British product, made from the leftover yeasty paste you get after brewing beer. Because Marmite has a very salty taste, people tend to have a strong reaction to its smell and flavour, and the idea that you either “love it or hate it”.

In our house, we LOVE Marmite! It is a regular topping for our breakfast toast, a tasty addition to cheese sandwiches, and an ingredient to flavour gravy. And it’s not just the humans in our house who like Marmite – the cat is a big fan too! Whenver we open the Marmite jar, he comes sniffing around to find out if he can have a lick.

And my 5-year-old wants to know why does FishFingers like the smell of Marmite?

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Is there a restaurant on the space station?

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The International Space Station is a science research laboratory 400km (250 miles) above the Earth’s surface. It has been specially designed for scientists to be able to live there for several months at a time, doing experiments and learning about how things work in Space. My friend’s kids want to know what it’s like to live on the space station, so let’s find out more about life for the scientists on-board!

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Do fish have eyelashes?

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My 5-year-old and I made a shoebox aquarium (see photo) during the holidays. She has been learning about the natural environment at school and decided to get creative. She made fish and an octopus and a shark, and decorated them all with googly eyes, smiley faces and glitter sparkles. She drew eyelashes on the fish, which made them look super-cute, but it got my 9-year-old thinking:

Do fish actually have eyelashes? What about eyelids? And do they need to blink or does living in water mean that they can always keep their eyes open?

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Who was the first Stone Age born from?

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The Stone Age is a period of history that started more than 2 million years ago and lasted until about 5,000 years ago. It’s called the Stone Age because the ape-like people, known as ‘hominins’, who lived at that time used stone materials to make tools and weapons.

But my 5-year-old wants to know where Stone Age people came from. So let’s find out more about our ancestors and human evolution…

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What’s faster – colour or sound?

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Sounds and colours are all around us, all the time. And sometimes we don’t really notice. The Sun is in the sky, even on a cloudy day; the stars are always there whether it’s day or night. We talk to each other, enjoy music and use machines; and animals use sounds to communicate too. It’s easy when we are busy at school or work or at home or in between to take for granted that our world is colourful and noisy.

But what are sound and colour made of? Do they move? And, if so, which is faster?

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Is milk a juice?

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Milk is a white-coloured liquid food made by mummy cows to feed their baby calves. It contains all the nutrients that a young calf needs to grow – and that makes it a good food for humans to drink too.

In our family, we drink a lot of milk – about 8 pints each week! We put milk in our tea, on our breakfast cereal and in our baking. And we eat other things that are made from milk, like butter and cheese and yogurt and ice cream.

But over breakfast the other morning my 5-year-old was thinking about the milk on her cornflakes and she wondered – is it a juice? So let’s find out…

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