Studying the Pond Habitat and all about Frogs is one of my favorite units of the year. We are lucky enough to have a pond close enough to walk to and take our students on the Friday our unit is over. I cannot wait to go! In the meantime here are a few ideas you can plan in your classroom to help children understand ponds, frogs, ducks, fish and all of the wildlife that relies on the pond as their habitat.
1. Create a pond center (with water or waterless whatever your school allows) You can do this 2 ways, either in a small bucket on a table or in a small kiddy pool. If you choose to include water you will need to make sure you find items for the pond that are made of materials that can get wet without getting ruined (ex. rubber duckies instead of stuffed ducks). Start by lining your chosen bucket with sand, add water if you so choose, make sure the sand is deep enough to hold up the flowers and pond plants you want the children to decorate the pond with. Gather the following supplies (some you may already have, most available at the dollar store).
pond plants (like you would find for a fishbowl)
rubber fish and insects (place a magnet on each for "fishing")
aquarium skimmers or slotted spooons for collecting fish and bugs
variety of rubber or stuffed ducks, geese, rabbits, etc.
fishing poles made from dowel sticks, yarn and a magnet for a hook
Optional but fun additions:
color mixing paddles
jumping frogs (the ones you push down with a finger and they jump off the table)
You can use a dollar store shower curtain spread out below the center for easier cleanup. Turn this center into a literacy or number center/ lesson by mixing laminated letter and number cards into the sand and allowing the children to fish them out and identify what is on each card, classify between letters and numbers etc.
2. Decorate your library with pond animal puppets, books, a blue sheet for water, lily pad cut outs and long grass pieces you can cut from board paper or buy at the dollar store or Michaels.
3. Make egg carton pond animals and create a pond in your room. Cut out a large piece of blue board paper to make water, cut green lily pads and place on top. Use 1 egg carton section and punch holes for 4 pipe cleaner eggs at the bottom. Paint green, glue on googly eyes, and curl up a red sheet of construction paper cut 1/2 inch by 4" and glue for the tongue. Place these in your pond. If you google egg carton animals you will find images of many more animals to make.
4. If you cannot visit the pond see if anyone in your class or school has a pet frog, turtle, fish. Anything real that can be brought in and talked about. include specific pond vocabulary and names of animals/insects common to ponds.
5. Play leapfrog, crawling turtles, catterpillar and bunny rabbit. Each time you dismiss from the carpet have your children act like an animal or insect from the pond.
6. Make turtle shells, gather the 3 dozen flat egg cartons, enough for 1 for each child. Snip the corners to make the "shell" round. Paint with green, yellow and brown on cotton balls. Attach yarn long enough to go from the top of the carton, around the arms and down to the bottom of the carton. The children will put them on like a backpack. You can create a snapping turtle mask by folding a paper plate in half, painting, snipping a triangle out where the mouth would be, eye holes and nose holes. Tie with yarn around the head.
I hope you enjoy these activities with your students, please follow my blog for more ideas!
Till next time,