Northern Michigan Beaches: Red Hot Best place to take kids on a rainy day? Our voters said Great Lakes Children’s Museum. But we knew the kid-savvy staff would have great ideas for blending fun and learning on sunny beach days too. Check this play-plan for illustrating Great Lakes hydrologic flow when you are frolicking on the sandy shore.

Round up five plastic buckets and grab trowels from your garden stash. At the beach, make a shape of Michigan in the sand and sink a pail where each Great Lake would be. Dig trenches connecting them. Make Lake Superior have the highest rim, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron slightly lower than Superior but even with each other, Lake Erie slightly lower than Lake Huron, and Lake Ontario lowest of all. For bonus points, dig a cliff in the trench between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario to make a mini Niagara Falls. Build your model close enough to the water that you can dig a trench to the lake—your St. Lawrence Seaway to the ocean. Then pour water in the buckets and watch the flow happen. For the record, lake surface levels above sea level (historic averages): Lake Superior, 602 feet; Lakes Michigan and Huron (technically one body of water), 577 feet; Lake Erie, 571 feet; Lake Ontario, 243 feet. (Drop from Erie to Ontario at Niagara Falls, 167 feet). 231.932.4526,

This article is also featured in the July 2013 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s MagazineGet your copy now!