This family pond study nature activity is provided for the Melissa & Doug Blog by our guest blogger Melissa of Fireflies and Mud Pies.
I cannot think of a more quintessential way to spend a breezy summer day than wading ankle deep in cool water chasing frogs with children! The giggles, splashes, and squeals of delight from enjoying a Family Pond Study will echo in your memory (and theirs!) for years to come.
I brought my boys to a state park armed with nets, bug habitats, magnifying glasses, and folding chairs. The sky was blue, the air was perfect, and the pond was buzzing (and croaking, peeping and quacking!) with activity. We walked to the water’s edge, sandals squishing into the murk, our eyes scanning the water and weeds for movement or bubbles.
TIP: Shoes are essential to protect your child’s feet from fishing hooks and broken glass that might be hidden in the bottom of the pond.
Finally, Colin spotted him – a monster of a frog! We used our net to capture him but boy, did he give us a struggle – nearly slipping out of my hands several times! I finally got a good grip on him so that the boys could feel his bumpy, wet skin. They noticed the speckles on his back, the ear holes on the side of his head, and his long webbed toes.
Not long after releasing the frog, Colin discovered a cluster of tadpoles munching pond weed and algae. I scooped some up with my hand for the boys to get a closer look. We observed that many of the tadpoles were beginning to develop hind legs.
Continuing our Pond Study, we observed many other creatures including dragonflies (both adult and nymph). One decided to take a rest on the edge of Owen’s cheerful orange net! We talked about its iridescent wings and how it begins its life in the water before taking to the air.
A sneaky water snake startled Colin as he was searching the grass. We smiled as geese bobbed their heads in and out of the water. The boys spent the entire afternoon searching for critters and then enjoyed a rest in the warm sunshine!
Research tells us that kids who spend time outdoors in nature are more active, attentive, and experience less stress and behavior/self-control issues. Additionally, a healthy connection with nature helps children realize that they are part of a great big, beautiful world! Spending time with family outdoors is sure to strengthen bonds and create memories for a lifetime.
What will your child discover outside this summer?
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