Frog Life Cycle Craft

Frog-Life-Cycle-Lesson-and-Craft

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!”
  5. 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 .
  6. 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!).
  7. 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!
  8. 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!

Pretend Play – Science Lab

This is cool science !  There were no real instructions for this pretend play  just a buffet of fun things safe to mix in experiments.  My son got into this right away taking on the serious personality of a chemist as he dove into his imagination. This is so easy to do because all you really need is water and a few kitchen tools, everything else is just icing on the cake.

  1. Gather your materials. For our science lab we used a handful of glass jars -if you are really keen you can put graduated measurements up the sides, but remember kids imaginations don’ need every detail done for them.  You may want a few absorbent place mats, turkey baster, eye droppers, small measuring cups,  mini whisks, some shampoo or dish soap , some baking soda , water and food color.  Also eye protection and an apron or lab coat is a must!
  2. I added a few drops of food coloring in jars of water and set everything out – something I learned years ago is if everything is at arms reach fewer things spill . If I was doing this with multiple kids I’d ditch the chairs and have them stand at a low table.
  3. Start concocting! 
  4. The baking soda mixed with the shampoo made a nice ( not overly) fun fizzy foam, clearly the shampoo was acidic. This made me remember doing a science experiment in grade 4 with all sorts of things and mixing them with baking soda to see which was the most acidic. If you want you could incorporate that too.
  5. Keep going!  He had a blast.
  6. I got a tub ready to soak everything in after playing.
  7. We had so much fun I had to dump out his beaker and get him some new yellow water.
  8. Popped them all in the water – we let them soak and came back later to scrub. See this activity includes practical life and water sensory play too.

Buried Treasure – Magnet Activity

Put on your pirate hats and grab your treasure maps and discover buried treasure with this magnetic discovery box . It was so much fun and a great way to work on a number of things from colors, counting, letters… the sky is the limit. This is not at all safe for infants, toddlers or any child still putting things in their mouths. My 4 year old son was happy as a clam playing this over and over again while his sister napped. Especially since I explicitly told him it was only for big kids, no babies allowed. It’s nice to have things just for him now that he has to share so much.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a magnetic wand , some magnetic marbles ( ours came with our wand),some magnetic letters/numbers,  a dish tub, some cracked wheat and or rice. I know some parents are concerned about using sand for crafts so I searched for the best replacement and this bulk cracked wheat really looks like sand!
  2. Pour your rice and cracked wheat into your tub.
  3. Take some time feeling the pretend sand , talk about how it feels, ask your child if they like it or not.
  4. Ask your child to cover their eyes and hide the magnets. * hint about keeping everyone in your family safe. Count the magnets before they go into the tub and do a “headcount” of them after you are done playing. Magnets are really fun toys and great for learning but in the wrong hands/ mouths they are very dangerous.
  5. Search for treasure!
  6. Ask what they found- it’s a fun way to practice letter and number recognition, counting , or even addition and subtraction!
  7. This is what baby girl was doing while we explored.


Ice Fishing and Color Mixing !

To tell you the truth I didn’t plan this activity, I saw the fishing net , wanted to do something with it and didn’t have much for my son to catch so instead I made some ice.  To make it more fun we colored the ice, then to make it more educational we made them red and yellow to create orange ! It was a big hit and not as big a mess as I feared .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a bin or tub, a ice cube tray , food coloring , a fish net ( or soup ladle) and water. You will also need plain ice for the second part.
  2. Start by putting a few drops of food coloring in your ice tray – half one color, half the other. 
  3. Add water and freeze.
  4. Fill your tub with water – ours was too warm, the ice melted so quickly the color mixing was fast. When I do it again I will use cold water so it’s a slower mix.
  5. When ice firm, show it to your child and tell them you are going to put it in the water. Ask them to make a prediction about what will happen to the ice when it is in the water, what will happen to the water ?  Pop it in!
  6. Mix and catch with net.
  7. Pop in more plain ice to “fish” – my son had fun with the color mixing but the extension of the activity was the real fun.

Wrecking Ball Science!

by Kim

I don’t think it is a secret how much I love science. I love teaching my kids about science, without telling them it’s science. Preschoolers are so much fun to watch when they experiment and learn. We did this fun activity on a recent rainy day that taught my kids about spacial relations and physics, but it was disguised as a wrecking ball.

Here is what you will need: some yarn, an empty key ring, a ball, masking tape, and some blocks.

First, tape the key ring to a door frame using the masking tape. You want to only use masking tape because any other tape may damage paint or stained wood.

Next wrap the ball with the yarn. Any ball will do.

Have your child build a structure with the blocks. You do not have to use blocks. Empty yogurt or butter containers work great, so do food storage containers.

Thread the yarn through the key ring.

Have your child hold the end of the yarn in one hand and the ball in the other. Show them how they can adjust the height by pulling or letting go of the yarn. For the younger two kids I held the non-ball end for them.

Now your child can let loose and do some demolition!

We had a neat time talking about how we needed to pull it to make it higher and standing further back to make the ball hit the building harder. It was so exciting to hear my son point these things out. I would ask how we could hit the blocks at the very bottom and he would tell me how he thought it could be done. So I told him to test it out.

It was a good time for everyone. Nothing says fun like demolition. :-)

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.