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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Why is sweat salty?

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Sweating is something that we all do, every day. We especially sweat on hot days, when we do exercise, and sometimes when we feel nervous! And the reason we sweat is to keep our bodies at the right temperature to work properly.

Sweat can feel wet and sticky on your skin, and sometimes it can get a bit smelly. But my 9-year-old wants to know why sweat tastes salty.

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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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Why are humans a animal?

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Human evolution was a topic of conversation at the dinner table. My 9-year-old declared that “humans used to be monkeys a long, long time ago”; my 4-year-old worried that she might have monkey children when she grows up.

I explained, as in my answer to Why do monkeys still exist?, that humans have evolved over millions of years, and that monkeys and apes and all other creatures have evolved over millions of years too. I showed her a book called The Story of Life and said that, like other animals, humans have evolved over a long, long time.

She didn’t like the thought of being an animal, so we had a think about what being an animal means…

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Why do I have to go to bed?

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Bedtime is one of my favourites times of the day. For me, going to bed is a time to get comfy and snuggle down under my duvet, head on pillow, for a good night’s sleep. Lovely.

But my daughters have other ideas at their bedtimes – they want to stay up late, read books, watch TV or play games. I insist on a routine of calming down (no TV or games!), cleaning teeth and brushing hair, maybe a bath, a short story and getting off to sleep as quickly and quietly as possible.

And our cat sleeps for most of the day and the night – he thinks sleeping is great!

So why is it so important to go to bed? What good does sleep do?

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