Explore a pond and you will find plenty of wildlife to keep you company.
What You Need
- Mesh or cheesecloth
- Sand pail
What You Do
- Explore the Pond’s Different Habitats
Explain to your child that a pond is a small, still body of water. A single pond can offer wildlife many different habitats, or places to live. Have your child look at each special place to discover animals that live there.
- The shoreline has plants, rocks, and fallen logs that provide animals with shelter. Both water and land are right at hand, too. Who do you see? (Some possible finds include frogs, toads, salamanders, muskrats, worms, butterflies, ducks, and maybe even a heron.)
- Above the surface, many kinds of insects and birds fly looking for a meal. Who do you see? (Some possible finds include dragonflies, mosquitoes, kingfishers, and even hawks.)
- On the surface, creatures search for food and sun. Who do you see? (Some possible finds include ducks, cormorants, turtles, pond skaters, and whirligig beetles.)
- In the water, out of sight, your pond may have bigger fish like bass or carp swimming around. Check the shallow water. See anything? (Some possible finds include minnows, perch, or blue gills.)
- Dig Dirt from the Bottom of the Pond
Skim several shovelfuls of dirt off the pond bottom and put them in a pail. Add some pond water to the mix. Once ashore, help your child scoop some of the watery muck onto a cheesecloth. As the water drains away, your child may see new creatures to add to your count. If not, try again! (Some possible finds include insect larva, flatworms, little crayfish, snails, or tiny mussels.)
- Imitate a Pond Creature
Imitate a pond creature. Ask your child to act out the movements of an animal you’ve found. (Swim like a fish, waddle like a goose, hop like a frog, etc.) Try another animal. Don’t forget the sound effects, from honk and quack to caw and plop!
- Take a Dip
Be a pond creature! In the hot days of August, the water feels fine. If swimming is allowed in your pond, take a dip. At least get those toes in!