My son loves learning about animals and with such weird weather this year ( was yours weird too?) we are still seeing lots tadpoles in water around here. We had fun with this easy and very kinetic lesson about the life cycle of frogs. You will see a lot of cutting, coloring and writing around here right now as we work on my son’s fine motor skills. He’s started asking to write everything and to make writing easier we are taking every chance we get to work those skills out even if he’s not writing. Scissor skills are a great and usually enticing way to do that with kids.
- Gather your materials you will need a sheet of sturdy card stock , a print out of the frog life cycle ( we got ours here ) , some crayons or pencil crayons, kid scissors, a marker, double stick tape,white paper, clear tape and 5 flip tops from wipes cases.
- Start by talking about the life cycle of a frog with your child, you may even want to read the first book listed below as part of this activity.
- Next have them color the stages. If your child isn’t into coloring by all means skip this step- the goal is to have fun learning not rigidly follow all steps.
- Time to cut. At our house this is a favorite activity. Coloring is zipped through haphazardly but cutting is savored! My son did the cutting with me sometimes helping him position the scissors by making a guide line with a colored pencil. It’s a great way to support while letting independent preschoolers still ” Do it themselves!”
- While he cut I made the labels for the flip tops. I could have made them with the ( newly bought) printer but I wrote them out to show you that if your child is able ( and it doesn’t make the whole project too long for them) to have them write it out too .
- Then I popped the flip tops in order on the card stock and added wee arrows. My tops didn’t need glue because they still had adhesive on them from their packaging. Yours might need a dab or some double stick tape ( they should really sponsor my blog I go through a ton of this stuff, I <3 it!).
- Next up add double stick tape to each stage cut out and find the matching phase of the life cycle. We worked on reading and pretended to me Superhero scientists researching the “Evil Frog of Fear!” Hey whatever works and keeps them having fun!
- I had my Superhero Scientists write Frog in the middle , you can add life cycle or really anything you want. Frog was all we had space for as he is still in the beginning stages of writing. You could also draw a picture as an alternative to writing.
I loved seeing my son show this off to his dad and my parents after we made it. He would enthusiastically flip open the flaps to reveal the stages. Lately he has been extra full of energy , needing to move more and this activity was a good calm break that then also provided him with some movement and a chance to touch and use the craft after making it. Also the tasks of putting the pieces in the right flap really spoke to his desire to solve problems ( or crimes committed by super villains ).
Books About Frogs
From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer is another gem from the “Let’s- Read-And-Find-Out” series. It goes into great detail without offering too much for young readers. When I was reading it to my 2 year old, I skipped some pages, it’s a little long for him still but 3-5 year olds are perfect age for this non fiction book. The illustrations are interesting and kept my wiggly man into the book when the text went above his head. Edited for 2011 - now at 4.5 years old this book is smack on target for my son. The book has just the right amount of information about frogs for preschoolers to process and to also turn to parents or teachers to ask why and go in search of even more information. I think a sign of a great non fiction book is that it sparks further curiosity about the subject in the readers.
Once Upon a Lily Pad by Joan Sweeney is a cute book about two frogs that lived on the lily pads in Claude Monet’s gardens. I love the theme of life cycles in this story with the frogs hibernating and having more than one set of tadpoles… and eventually the painter not reappearing. It’s actually a great gentle book to start a open discussion about death without having to go into the thick of things right away. I love how it sparks interest in the painter and his beautiful work as well as can be used as a launchpad for an outdoor painting activity ( en plein air) . So many ways to use this book.
Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson gave me goosebumps and made me want to give the author a high five. The little frog leaps away from mama frog going further and further away but leaps back home to his mama each time with then end being spot on with the text changing from ” then leap home to me” to ” when you leap back home , here I’ll be”. My heart was aching seeing the little frog grow so fast! I love this book. It’s got very simple repetitive text ( great for emergent readers!), the illustrations by Matthew Cordell are goofy and sweet. They match the text perfectly so they give great clues to readers who may be struggling with a word. As a read aloud this book is awesome , not only because the repetitive text has a great rhythm but as the little frog gets more independent and goes further from home the things he is leaping over are pretty goofy and will get more than a few laughs from any audience you are reading it to!