So last week we played with frogs in a water bin with floating leaves for lily pads. This week I wanted to make another frog activity, but add some learning to it.
One of my favourite childhood memories was sitting in my backyard by the frog pond watching the frogs. It was interesting to watch the eggs float around in a huge clump and a few weeks later to see them hatch into little tadpoles squirming around in the water. They normally swam around in school fashion like fish and about a month later they wouldn't really be cute little tadpoles anymore. They were "frogpoles" as I used to call them. Having characteristics of both, they looked odd to me, but it was always fascinating to watch them grow over the weeks. Finally they would be great big frogs! It always seemed to take forever for them to finally be adults, but those few months were totally worth it because by the time they were frogs, there were hundreds of them!
I definitely plan on sharing my love of frogs with my kids. But they are still young, so we can't do a big frog life cycle activity yet. Though that will definitely be on my future to-do list. For now, we are keeping it simple. This activity shows them that frogs start out as little eggs. They sometimes clump together or float around on their own. The eggs are clear and the little frog inside is a dark spot, but we used black tapioca pearls to represent the eggs. I used green (lime) Jell-O for the frog pond. My old frog pond was pretty clear, but since frog eggs like to stick to algae and water plants, I figured green Jell-O would be an ok substitute. :)
I prepared the Jell-O according to the directions on the box and poured the mixture into a glass pan. I left it covered in the fridge for most of the day.
I brought some boba pearls home from our lunch trip to a Japanese cafe specifically for this project. I poured them into the corner of the pan, but as the Jell-O solidified they settled into the middle of the pan.
After dinner I brought out our little frog pond. Yes, this was inevitably a snack, but it was still educational.
I brought over a few of the frogs and sat the kids down around the bowl. I talked about how the boba was frog eggs and the Jell-O was pond water. Bean immediately plopped in this green and black froggie and said that it was the mama frog and she was protecting her babies.
I told them about my experiences growing up next to a frog pond and about about how long it takes for frogs to grow up. We talked about how they swim (we had just read a book about symmetry in nature, so it was interesting to see how she looked at the frogs and motioned with her arms and legs how they swim symmetrically), what they eat, and how active they are. Frogs like to float near the surface of the water, keeping their heads just above the water, keeping a look-out (the orange frog is demonstrating).
I showed them pictures of tadpoles so they could see what the little eggs would grow into. Afterwards Bean and I watched a YouTube video of the life cycles of a frog. She really enjoys videos like this because she likes watching them grow from a tiny baby into the creature that she recognizes.
And while Bean liked playing with the mama frogs and protecting the eggs, Munchkin enjoyed eating the Jell-O. Bean made sure he didn't eat any of the eggs, even though they are edible and perfectly fine to eat.
Mama and Dada frogs are watching their eggs hatch, according to Bean. :)
This little hatchling was born without a tail. :(
Bean put the hatchling in a bowl to look at it up close.
They spent quite a while exploring the little frog pond. Eventually Munchkin had removed all the frogs so many times that Bean stopped trying to protect the eggs and had a few bites of the Jell-O.