Thursday, April 11, 2013

Frog Sensory Bin and Pond Unit

Metamorphosis and more!

Spiderman read "The Teeny Weeny Tadpole" by Sheridan Cain at school.

The teeny weeny tadpole is well, teeny weeny, and a tadpole to boot, and cannot jump among the lily pads like Mother Frog, he can only splish and splash.  His mom, and all the other animals he meets on his journey downstream (lamb, rabbit and grasshopper) assure him that he will be able to jump just like them - soon. After several days, he meets up with big bad fish, who eats tadpoles! And the only way to escape the big bad fish is to jump. And the teeny weeny tadpole, who has now become a frog, jumps and escapes from fish! This is the story in a nutshell. It's a fun book.

Now back to Spiderman, who, just like the teeny weeny tadpole, has been going around asking everyone - Can you jump? And, he is naming everything teeny weeny tadpole! So I thought this would be the ideal time to introduce to him the transition of tadpole to frog, and refresh Batman's memory about Metamorphosis!!

I set this frog/pond sensory bin up as a surprise for the two kiddos.
There are some blue/green pebbles, blue/dark blue water beads, twigs, some tiny weeds pulled from the garden that looked like they could be found in a pond (minus all the root soil), plastic fish, frogs, and turtles, lily pads cut from foam, and of course, the life cycle models of the frog!! The set does not have eggs, but we have the young tadpole, mature tadpole, tadpole with legs, froglet, and the frog.
You can find frog life cycle figures (I don't remember where I got mine from, mine does not have the eggs), and the Safari frogs and turtle toob.

This is what the kiddos found when they came home from school!

Gratifyingly, they loved the surprise! Frogs, water, water beads, nets to catch the tadpole in - apparently, that's all it takes to make them happy! Spiderman "caught" a fish, and put it in a bowl aquarium! Spiderman was not too sure about the "plants", but Batman showed him how the plants/logs were needed for the animals to hide in. Otherwise, they would get eaten up too easily. He even explained that this was called "camouflage"!!

Batman's comments when he saw the whole set up and presentation as shown above - "the tadpoles should not be "on" the lily pads. Can they breathe if they are out of water for too long? I know the frogs can!" Just that one comment was worth all that work. That he observed, processed it, and pointed it out to me. 
He is right. Initially, a tadpoles breathes and moves just like a fish, using its gills and tail. After about 5 weeks, the tadpole develops lungs, and has to swim to the surface to gulp water!!

I had five frogs, so we also sang the five little speckled frogs, sitting on a log song, and created some satisfactory splashes :)
Umm, we had to balance the frogs on the log outside the water. Next time, we will try with a bigger log. Check our collage picture.

I always try to make a mini unit to go along with the sensory bin if possible. Counting, sorting, patterns, stacking, pouring and making a mess comes naturally. But the frog sensory bin lends itself very nicely to a lot of different learning adventures, especially a pond or frog unit!

These are the concepts that I am going to introduce to the boys after their excitement over the bin dies down a bit!
  • I don't have the book, but I found a reading of the book, the Teeny Weeny Tadpole.
  • Read the books, as soon as I figure out where two of them are hiding!
    From Tadpole to Frog - the book not only takes us through the metamorphosis of the bull frog, but also takes about frogs hibernating, and shows a variety of animals and plant life through the different seasons.
    The Wide Mouthed Frog - a fun pop up book about a curious, and bragging wide-mouthed frog! By the end of the book, the mouth is not so wide...
    Fish is Fish
    - a delightful story of friendship between a minnow and a tadpole!
    Curious George Tadpole Trouble - the kids have seen this episode, and love reading the book. George, who is charge of Bill's tadpoles, lets them out in the pond for a swim, but do the tadpoles come back?

  • Introduce the concept of Amphibian - which a frog is. 
  • Some other characteristics - like webbed feet. What other animals has webbed feet? Why? What other animals do you know who can live in both land and water? How about their super special moist skin? Or their tongue?
  • Talk about Metamorphosis - through frog's life cycle and butterfly's!
  • Observe our pond life habitat, and learn more about it.
  • Counting backwards with Spiderman with the five speckled frog song!!
  • Beginning sound, ending sound, rhyming reviews with words like frog, log, fish, turtle, duck, water, pond etc...
  • I have to prepare this, but it might be fun to have plastic eggs with the beginning sounds, and get the kiddos to match the eggs to the animals, like d for duck and dragonfly, f for fish and frog, t for turtle, s for snail, salamander, snakes etc. These all hatch from eggs, and all can be found at a pond habitat.
  • Go through the frog nomenclature card/booklets at +Montessori Print Shop at the free printable downloads section!
  • Supplement with the frog/pond themed printables for more language and math fun!
You can find some wonderful resources at Frog life cycle newsletter, along with lots of free printables from generous bloggers. Hop on to my Pinterest board, Pond Unit Fun n Learn, which lists all these resources and more!

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  1. OMG! This is such a great idea! My children are both very hands on learners and they will love this.

  2. We have a frog theme for our welcome to kindergarten party for next year's kindergarten kids. I like your idea of having stages of metamorphosis in your sensory bin. I am going to add them to mine. Thanks for the idea.

  3. Thanks for sharing. This is a beautiful set up. I am featuring this on Mom's Library round up. Thanks for visiting Mom's Library!

  4. This is super adorable. My little loves frogs right now (mostly because of the song "MM-AH went the little green frog...") and I know she'd love this.

  5. Oooh! This is so gonna please my children!

  6. Wow! What a great bin! My preschooler would have liked this one. He hasn't liked sensory bins much lately because they are too "basic" but this one is much more "grown up" and is quite different. I love it. Next year, when we explore the pond again, it will be on the to-do list. My tot might like it too. I mean, I know she would but it might be quite messy. Thank you for sending me the link. :) Think I might hang around for a while and check out your blog now! :)

    1. Please do stay around a while :)
      I completely agree about the "basic" part about the sensory bins. I always struggle to find a balance between my 5 year old and 3 year old, lol!
      My 5 year old loved all the accessories which made the bin "grown up", my 3 year old, not so much. He took out the plants, and the log, and some other stuff that interfered with his play :)