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Pond Life Preschool Theme



A Pond Life Theme can be a catalyst for many other themes such as frogs, water, bugs and more!  It all depends on where your preschoolers take it!  

This page has activities for each Interest Learning Center.  

Let the Theme planning begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.


POND LIFE Art Activities Block Area Circle Time Activities Cooking Recipes Dramatic Play Ideas Easel Ideas Gross Motor Games Library and Literacy Math And Manipulatives Activities Music and Movement Sand and Water Table Science Activities Writing Activities Miscellaneous Ideas

Art Activities

Pond Life Theme Art

Mural

Provide large paper and tempera paint.  After discussing ponds, have the children work in small groups to create their own pond murals.  Water, grass, pond life creatures, etc.

You could also provide paper for each child to make their own if that would work better for your students.

EXTENSION:  When dry, provide real grass, twigs and precut creatures for the students to glue onto their murals.

Underwater Glasses

Materials needed:  One froze juice can per child, paper, markers, stickers, waterproof tape (clear), scissors

In advance, precut paper that will fit around the can.  Provide each child with a precut paper, markers, stickers, etc. for them to decorate.

When completed, help the child wrap the paper around their can.  Tape in place.  Cover the entire paper with waterproof tape.

Also, cover the bottoms and tops of the can with waterproof tape.

The children can now use these as underwater viewers or binocculars.  They insert the bottom into the water (such as your water table) and can look through them to see what is at the bottom of the pond!

Fingerprint Ponds

Provide fingerpaints and fingerpaint papers.  Have many pictures around your classroom of different ponds to encourage the children to create their own pond!

Coffee Filter Butterflies

This activity is great for so many themes, and this theme is no exception!

You will need a lot of white coffee filters, markers and either a spray bottle of water or pipettes and cups of water (my preference!), pinch-type clothespins

The children color the filters with the markers.

They then either spray the filters with water or use the pipettes to drop water on different places of the coffee filter.

The water spreads the color.

When dry, pinch the middles of the filters with clothespins (or tie with yarn) to make butterflies!

VARIATION:  Precut the filters into other shapes such as frogs, dragonflies, ducks, etc. for the children to color and water!

Fingerprint Bugs/Insects

Provide paper and washable stamp pads and markers.  (Have LOTS of baby wipes available for clean up!)

The children use their fingers to fingerprint onto paper.  They use the markers to make faces, antennae, grass, trees, etc. for their own bug collage.

Try not to be tempted to make the faces and items FOR the children...this is an art activity--beauty is in the eye of the beholder!  Also, you would be preventing them from using and developing those small hand muscles by making small marks on the paper!  



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Block Area

Pond Life Theme Block Center Ideas

Add plastic grass, ducks and plastic bugs and insects to your block area this week!



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Circle Time Activities

Pond Life Theme Circle Time Ideas

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!

Water Skimmers

Many times at the pond you will see water skimmers--small insects that seem to glide across  or "walk on" the water!  Show the children how this happens by showing them a surface tension experiment at Circle Time.

Fill a large, clear bin with water.  Place a sewing needle or paper clip on top of the water.  Once you place it in, if you look closely, you should be able to see the "indentation" in the water from the item.

This experiment may naturally flow into a Sink or Float activity at your water table!

The Green Grass Grows All Around Song

You might need to introduce a few lines per day depending on the attention span of your students.

In advance, make a chart with a picture of each line of the song.  You will point to or hold that picture when singing that line to help the children remember each line!

There was a hole, in the middle of the ground.  The prettiest hole that you ever did see.

And the green grass grows all around all around and the green grass grows all around.

And in this hole, there was a tree.  The prettiest tree that you ever did see.

And the tree in the hole, and the hole in the ground and the green grass grows all around all around and the green grass grows all around.

And on this tree, there was a branch.  The prettiest branch that you ever did see.

And the branch on the tree, and the tree in the hole, and the hole in the ground and the green grass grows all around all around and the green grass grows all around.

And on this branch, there was a nest.  The prettiest nest that you ever did see.

And the nest on the branch, and the branch on the tree, and the tree in the hole, and the hole in the ground.

And the green grass grows all around all around and the green grrass grows all around.

And in this nest, there was an egg.  The prettiest egg that you ever did see.

And the egg in the nest, and the nest on the branch, and the branch on the tree, and the tree in the hole, and the hole in the ground.

And the green grass grows all around all around and the green grrass grows all around.

And in this egg, there was a bird.  The prettiest bird that you ever did see.

And the bird in the egg, and the egg in the nest, and the nest on the branch, and the branch on the tree, and the tree in the hole, and the hole in the ground

And the green grass grows all around all around and the green grrass grows all around.

This song could go on and on and on and on...I warn you, this song WILL get stuck in your head!  It was a favorite of my daughter's in preschool from the Barney show and now, 17 years later, I still get it stuck in my head.....oh man---it is NOW officially stuck in my head!

You can find the tune of the song by googling "The green grass grows all around"

I Spy

Show pictures of items from the pond--or actual pond items.  Suggestions:  grass, white duck, brown tree branch, etc.

Then play I Spy:  "I Spy something in our classroom that is the same color as this" Hold up one item, have the kids name the color and then look around the room to name something else that color.

You can do this by having the children stay in their circle spot or by letting them roam around the room and stand near something that color.



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Cooking Recipes

Snack Recipe Ideas to Cook Up for Your Theme!

Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!

Frozen Frog Egg Treats

Ingredients needed:  4 kiwi fruits, limeade drink, honey, small (3 ounce) plastic or paper cups, cookie sheet, craft sticks, blender, foil

Peel the kiwi fruit.  Chop 2 of them into small chunks and place into the blender.  Add 2 cups of limeade drink and a couple of tablespoons of honey (enough to make the mixture a little smooth--lumpy is good too!).

Blend.

Slice the other kiwi fruits into thin slices (about 8 per kiwi).  Place one slice into the bottom of each of the plastic/paper cups.

Fill each cup about halfway with the blended mixture.

Place cups on a cookie tray.  Cover with foil.  Insert craft sticks into each one.

Freeze for several hours.

Enjoy!

Crunchy Spiders

Ingredients/materials needed:  Semi sweet chocolate chips, bowl, chinese noodles, wax paper, spoons

Melt the chocolate in a microwave.

Have the children help you scoop noodles into the bowl and mix.

Scoop out a small spoonful onto wax paper.

Let cool!

Mudpies!

Yes, ponds get very muddy!

Ingredients needed:  milk, instant chocolate pudding mix, mini graham cracker crusts (one for each child), crushed oreo or chocolate cookies, blue sprinkles, resealable sandwich sized baggies, 1/4 cup measuring cup, plastic spoons, one large bowl, table spoon.

In advance, crush up the oreos or chocolate cookies.

Place each ingredient in its own bowl.

Make index cards for each ingredient for instructions for the children:

In their baggie, the child measures 1 tablespoon of pudding powder.

They then add 1/4 cup of milk.

Help them seal the bag and have them squish and mix with their hands.

Empty contents into their own graham cracker crust.  (you can help them scoop it out, or cut a corner of the baggie and have them squeeze it out into the crust)

The child then sprinkles 1 tablespoon of crushed cookie (that is the dirt). and then sprinkles some rain (blue sprinkles) on the top.  

Chill and eat!



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Dramatic Play Ideas

Pond Life Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area

In Our Big, Big Pond

Place a large blue blanket in the middle of your drama area.  Provide stuffed animals (ducks, beavers, etc.) for them to use.  

Add small, plastic bugs for them to decide where they would live in the pond.

Provide binoculars for the children to use.

Provide a picnic basket and pretend food for a pond picnic.

Hang green crepe paper from the ceiling to have a "shady tree" to picnic under.



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Easel Ideas

Pond Life Theme Ideas for your Easel--

More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)

Bug Painting

Provide the paint in the paint cup COVERS instead of paint cups.  Provide plastic bugs (instead of brushes).  The children dip their bugs into the shallow tray of paint and press onto their papers.

Provide a shallow bin of warm soapy water for wash up!



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Gross Motor Games

Pond Life Theme Large Group Games 

to help build children's muscles while they have fun together

Charades

Materials needed:  In advance, collect pictures of items/creatures from ponds such as tall grass, frogs, dragonflies, etc.

Show one child a picture and encourage him/her to act it out to their friends.

Duck, Duck, Goose

Of course!  Remember, most preschoolers do not know how to play this game!  You may need to demonstrate this with another adult first.

Also, remind the children to choose a child who has NOT had a turn to be the goose yet so that all the children have a turn.

Bumblebee Tag

Preschoolers love to chase each other!  Set up a safe chase game.  Have several headbands made with a picture of a pond bug on it.  One child (or 2) begin by being the Bumblebee.

Their job is to "land their hand GENTLY" on another friend.  That friend now puts on a headband and helps the Bumblebee to land on other friends.

Follow the Leader

One child is the leader and decides which pond creature it will be (ant, frog, duck, etc.)  The other children follow this child and copy the movement the leader is making.  That child goes to the end of the line and the next child is then the leader.



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Library and Literacy

Pond Life Theme Ideas for Your Library and Literacy Activities for your Preschool Classroom

Book Suggestions for the Library

The Adventures of Buddy the Beaver by Carson Clark and Jim Clark

In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming

The Magic School Bus Hops Home by Scholastic

Over in the Meadow by Exra Jack Keats or by Jane Cabrera

The Pig in the Pond by Martin Waddell and Jill Barton

Pond Walk by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Who's Hiding:  In the Pond by Christiane Gunzi



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Math And Manipulatives Activities

Pond Life Theme Activities to help your Preschoolers develop those small muscles in their hands!

Butterfly Matching

In advance, print, color and cut out pairs of matching butterflies (laminate for durability).

Place them on a table for the children to match.

VARIATION:  Do the same for other things we see at a pond:  ducks, dragonflies, frogs, etc.

EXTENSION:  Make some that are small, medium and large.  Allow the children to sort by size and color!

Pond Life Insect Sorting

Provide muffin tins or bowls and a variety of plastic insects and small tongs.  

The children can sort by size, color, type of insect, etc.

Duck Eggs!

Materials needed:  colored, plastic easter eggs, cardboard egg carton with each cup numbered (1-5, or higher depending on your students).

In each egg, place a set number of items (paper clips, crayon pieces, etc.)  Place 1 item in one egg; place 2 items in the next egg, etc.

The children shake the egg and try to guess what is in it.

The children take the items out and count how many items and place the items back in the egg.

The children place the egg into the corresponding egg carton section (the egg with three items goes in the section with the number 3).

The above are some of the ways the children might use this informally!



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Music and Movement

Pond Life Theme Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

Move Like A...

Play slow to medium music and encourage the children to name things they might see at a pond.  Encourage them to move their bodies in that way:  tall as a tree, hop like a frog, ripple like water, etc.

Life Cycle Movement

In advance, collect pictures of life cycles of pond life such as frogs, butterflies, dragonflies.

Have the children act out, using their bodies, each life cycle.  For example, curl up in a ball to be the egg.

Buggy Moves!

Materials needed:  A CD player, cd's with different tempos of music (fast, slow, etc.) and a large space.

Discuss the different insects that live near the pond and practice moving like them:  flies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, spiders, butterflies, etc.

Then, play music to go with each bug.  Example, fast music for flies--play for 8-10 seconds, then stop the music (the kids should "freeze" in place), say the name of the next bug/insect and play appropriately paced music.  Continue and have fun!

Songs/Fingerplays

Itsy, Bitsy Spider

Row, Row, Row Your Boat (try this one while all sitting behind one another with hands on the shoulders of the child in front of them!)



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Sand and Water Table

Pond Life Theme Activities for the Senses!

This Pond Life Table is Hoppin'!

Add water to your table and also add small plastic tadpoles, fish, frogs, bugs, insects, etc.  Add real grass, tree limbs and other items the children have learned about that you might see in a pond..plastic spiders, lily pads, sand etc.

Sink or Float

Provide pond items for the children to observe and explore at the water table.  Encourage them to guess what will sink and what will float.

Why do some items sink?  Why do some items float?  What sinks in the pond?  What floats?  Why?

Nest Building

Provide playdough and outdoor nest items such as twigs, leaves, etc. and some plastic ducks, birds, etc.  

The children work on making nests for their ducks and birds at the pond.

Mucky Pond Mud

Make this with the children either in a bin or in your water table!  It is AWESOME!

Add a few drops of food coloring to make 1 cup of water brown.

Mix in 2 1/4 cups of cornstarch.

When you touch it, it should be a solid, but when you pick it up it melts from your body heat!



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Science Activities

Pond Life Theme Science Activities--for your Preschool Scientists in Training!

Frog Life Cycle

You can get as elaborate as you like with this.

Place life tadpoles into a small aquarium (you can order them or find them at your local pond, if it is ok to remove them).

Add grass, tree limbs and rocks to the pond (your tadpoles will need the rocks to climb on eventually).

Add tadpole food as needed (found in pet stores).

Provide magnifying glasses and journals for your children to draw and/or write about their observations.

Hang pictures of a frog's life cycle near your table.

Pond Life Water Observations

Collect water from different sources:  pond, ocean, your kitchen sink!

Place each type in a clear, plastic container with a lid.  Provide magnifying glasses and journals.

Look at the differences in the water.  Discuss the different colors, items that are or are not floating in the water etc.

EXTENSION:  If you have a microscope, look at samples of water under it!

Photosynthesis

Big word, cool experiment for preschoolers!

Collect pond water into 2 clear jars.

Place one jar in a sunny space and one in a dark place.

Observe over a couple of weeks.

Compare the 2 after two weeks.  The sample in the sun will be much cloudier than the one in the dark space--that one will be clear.



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Writing Activities

Writing Activity Ideas for Your Pond Life Theme!

My Pet Insect

Provide bug/insect stamps, paper and crayons at the writing center.  The children make a page of bugs/insects they would have as pets and tell stories about them.  

Make their pictures (and your dictation of their stories) into a classroom book!


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Miscellaneous Ideas

Miscellaneous Activities for Your Pond Life Theme!

Visit a Pond

Is there a farm or park near you that has a pond?  Take a field trip there.  Bring a picnic snack or lunch and take lots of pictures!



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