Teachers are invited to register their classrooms for the 24th annual Metro Children’s Water Festival.

Attend the virtual festival by watching videos and completing activities paired with the lessons. The festival will open Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. The virtual festival will be available throughout the 2021-2022 school year.

The festival is free to attend and open to all. National Parks passes are available for 4th grade students.

Metro area teachers who register for the festival and watch any number of videos and complete the paired activities will receive an Every Kid Outdoors pass for each 4th grade student in their classroom, compliments of the U.S. Forest Service.




Come back for the full experience and an in-depth look at lessons and activities.

2021 Preview

Below are the list of topics and highlights that will be featured in this year’s festival lineup:

Wastewater Treatment for Kids

The water we use comes from nature and must be cleaned up to be returned to nature so it can be used again. This is an important part of our water cycle. Tour the wastewater treatment process at the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saint Paul. Includes a video (9:57 min) and workbooks. Produced by the Metropolitan Council.

Rainfall Simulator

Land/ground cover and soil have a significant effect on rainwater run off – how much, if any, soil erosion, and how much rainwater infiltrates (soaks) into groundwater. Using a rainfall simulator to mimic a rainfall, you will see how changes in land/ground cover effect soil erosion, sediment in stormwater runoff, and groundwater recharge. Includes a video (26:33 min) and student activity sheet. Produced by USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Make It Rain: Soil Cover and Erosion

Examine the impact of water on three different landscapes. Can one protect our soil and water more than another? What are farmers doing to protect our soils and water? What can you do? Includes a video (7:35 min) and lesson plan. Produced by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Watershed Exploration

Why is water so important? How does water move through the land? How does water impact the land, and vice versa? Using thought questions and physical models, we will begin with the big picture – the water cycle and watersheds – and then focus on rivers and streams, considering how water movement changes the land and impacts people as it flows. Includes a video (15:59 min) and worksheet. Produced by Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, University of Minnesota.

Big River Journey Online – Mystery of the disappearing waterfall

Lead students through a virtual field trip on the Mississippi River one station at a time, including the Mystery of the Disappearing Waterfall! Includes three short videos. Produced by the National Park Service and the Hamline Center for Global Environmental Education.

Water Connects Everyone and Everything on Earth

What is a watershed? What is in stormwater and where does it go? You’ll see how your everyday actions at home, work or school can protect or harm water quality. Includes a video (24:12 min) and a storybook. Produced by Tim Olson, PE, Water Resources Engineer, Bolton & Menk, Inc.

A Model Stream

Learn how streams determine their path. See how changes in stream water flow and stream bank condition can quickly alter how a stream behaves. Learn where bugs and fish like to hang out in streams and how pollution can affect them. Includes a video (17:45 min). Produced by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Exploring Macroinvertebrates and Water Quality

What is clean water? Scientists measure all sorts of things about water that help them figure out whether an aquatic system is healthy or not. Macroinvertebrates (the small critters that live in the water) and plants can tell us a lot about the health of a system! In this series of videos, you will sample for macroinvertebrates, from selecting a location, collecting, sorting and identifying. Includes a teachers’ guide, keys, and videos. Produced by Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, University of Minnesota.

Mosquito Mania

Mosquitoes need standing water to reproduce and with thousands of lakes, swamps, ponds and other wetlands, Minnesota provides plenty of habitat. Includes a video (15:00 min) about the mosquito life cycle, how to control them, and the role they play in the environment. Produced by Metropolitan Mosquito Control District.

What lives in a stream and why? Using biological monitoring to find problems in a watershed.

Finding and tallying what lives in a stream is called biological monitoring. Biological monitoring is like being a detective. If the living things don’t match what we’d expect to find in a stream, river or lake, there could be a problem. Includes a video (3:00 min) of biologists doing this work – collecting insects from streams in Minnesota, and an activity sheet. Produced by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Water Pollution on Trial

In this court, the rights of water are protected! Students serve as jury and decide the outcome of a Minnesota water pollution court case. Includes a lesson plan. Produced by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Youth Help Solve the Global Water Crisis

Water around the world is in serious trouble! Your actions can become part of the solution. Through the story of The Water Princess, explore the use of water resources through the lens of another culture, especially where water is scarce, and share ideas to help change the world, one drop at a time. Learn how H2O for Life can partner with students in a service-learning experience that can change attitudes and behaviors while changing lives for students in a developing country. Save water, save life! Includes a lesson plan and video of a storybook. Produced by H2O for Life.

Molly the Mussel

Includes a video with Molly the Mussel (8:23) where students learn about aquatic invasive species in Minnesota! Also includes a pledge, student worksheet and teacher key. Produced by Anoka Conservation District and Anoka County Parks Department.

Climate Change

Learn how climate change will impact water and water availability in Climate change. Includes a video.
Why are forests along the Mississippi River unique? What trees will thrive as our climate shifts?
The forests along rivers are called floodplain or riparian forests – they are periodically flooded. Riparian forests provide habitat for unique plants, animals and birds. They are also important because as the flood waters slow down when moving through the forest, sediment settles out, cleaning the water and making a great seed bed for plants to germinate. At Crosby Regional Park in St. Paul, the floodplain forest is rapidly changing because many ash trees are dying from the emerald ash borer invasive insect. Local scientists seized this as an opportunity to study what kinds of trees should be replanted there as our climate shifts. Watch the video (10 min.) Produced by USDA Forest Service.

Career Paths

Have you ever wondered what you want to be when you grow up? Meet some amazing professionals who share their exciting career experiences and paths they took to find their dream jobs! Start a conversation with the natural resource specialists by emailing your questions. Includes four videos featuring local water professionals.

Metro Children's Water Festival

Check out the virtual festival!

The virtual festival is available year-round and open to all.