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Pond and Frog Nature Study & Frog Life Cycle Activity Printable

Pond and Frog Nature Study

Plus Frog Life Cycle Activity Printable


pond study with frogs

It’s getting to be that time of year when the tadpoles are swimming in our pond. It makes me feel as if spring is truly coming and we look forward to soon hearing frogs while out hiking at the river. The cycle of seasons and life bring me such joy!

frog lapbook activity printable

With that in mind, I’ve had a special printable to share once spring made its arrival. Members now have in their library a fun and informative Frog Life Cycle activity printable.

Here’s what you get in this download:

In the lapbook there are components for vocabulary, frog facts, bullfrog facts, frog noises, and the frog life cycle. In the lapbook you can also mount your life cycle of a frog drawing (instructions for this drawing project are included).  There is also a set of copy work pages focusing on frog poetry. There are two blank lined pages you can use for the copy work, as well as a page of frog poetry and suggestions for how to use them.

Members who have an Ultimate or Journey level membership will be able to log into their account and find the two printables there to use this spring.


Pond Study Nature Club August 2018 @handbookofnaturestudy

To go along with a frog nature study, you can click over to the Pond Life – 4 Seasons Nature Activity entry found in the archives. Everyone can use the suggestions in this entry along with a few free printables to follow up a nature walk at a pond, the river, or a lake.

Pond Life – 4 Seasons Nature


Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

Please use the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist membership now for full access to all of the ebooks, printables, and newsletters available to members.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Frog Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Spring Frog Nature Study

From the Archives and from the Summer Nature Study ebook


This is a classic nature study that most children really enjoy. It will involve finding a local place to look for tadpoles, frogs, and/or toads. This can be a pond, stream, or lake; so take a few minutes and brainstorm where you could visit to observe these interesting creatures up close.

Use the link in the archive post above to read all about how to raise tadpoles.

We’re looking forward to some evenings outside listening for frogs and toads. It’s a relaxing time of day to be outdoors. Make sure to look up at the sky too!

Use the links in the archive post above to listen to the sounds of different frogs so your children will know what to listen for!


Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Using Your Senses

Join us for this exciting series of nature study topics as we work through the Summer Nature Study – Using Your Senses ebook.  Don’t worry that it isn’t summer yet; the ebook title says summer but the nature study ideas inside can be used whenever you have an occasion to.

This ebook is found in the Ultimate level membership for you to download and use with your family. If you would like to gain access to this ebook, you can purchase a membership now and have instant access.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

Use the discount code BIRDLOVER5 for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Membership.

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Outdoor Mom – July Part 2 Wildlife Viewings

Outdoor Mom July: Part 2 – Wildlife Viewings

This is Part 2 of my Outdoor Mom entry. You can read Part 1 here: Outdoor Mom Part 1 – My Own Backyard

I saw my first ever badger in real life! I was driving and it was crossing the road in front of me. At first my mind was trying to figure out what it was; too big to be a possum and not quite like a raccoon. As I approached, I saw the face and realized it was indeed a badger! Here is a link to what he looked like: American badger.

Raccoon in a tree

We have seen two adult raccoons in our yard (and trees) plus two adorable and entertaining young raccoons.

Young raccoons

One evening they were playing in our front yard and were just as curious about us as we were about them.

My husband has been telling me about the river otters that live right near our house but I didn’t see them until this past week. They are really good swimmers so I didn’t get to see them for very long because they swam upstream from where we were kayaking.

Doe and 2 fawns

We regularly have deer and fawns in our yard. There was a mama and two little ones that made an appearance at my birdfeeders. I’m sure they’re the ones that keep tipping the seed out.

Or, it may be one of the many squirrels that scurry around from tree to tree. We have several kinds of squirrels here but the most prominent one is the gray squirrel.


We have lots and lots of little frogs in our yard! Every time I go out to water I have to be careful not to squish them when walking in the grass.

California Tortoiseshell

The most interesting insect sighting has been the hundreds of California tortoiseshell butterflies that made an appearance all at once in our area. They’ve been seen flying in mass over the roads. We felt bad as we ran into so many of them on our way to a hike. Then, the next few days they were all over our yard. I definitely need to do more research into their lifecycle.

This nature loving mama is having a fantastic summer of wildlife viewing right in my own yard and then my neighborhood.

You may be interested in reading the other parts in this series:

Part 1 – My Own Backyard

Part 3 – Travels



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North American Wildlife – Nature Book Review


Readers Digest North American Wildlife book review @handbookofnaturestudy

I am going to go out on a limb and say that everyone that lives in North America should have this book on their shelf right next to the Handbook of Nature Study. I LOVE this book. It will come in handy next month to go along with the newsletter theme of mammals….and in many of the months to come too.

North American Wildlife: An Illustrated Guide to 2,000 Plants and Animals
ISBN 978-1-60652-491-6 (this is an affiliate link)

I have actually purchased three of these books to give to special people in my life that I know will love it too! Two of those people are children of friends of mine whom I have noticed a joy in nature study.

Readers Digest North American Wildlife @handbookofnaturestudy

  • To start with, the organization of this book is so practical and informative. It not only arranges the the information by category, it also organizes it by habitat. The habitat pages list typical things you would see while visiting and then cross references to the information later in the book. The pages are also color coded with a tab that helps you easily flip to a section of interest.
  • Categories included in the book: mammals, fish, insects, birds, amphibians, trees, flowers, and mushrooms. So, if you don’t have a specific field guide for each of those categories, you can use this book to cover the most likely things you may observe in North America. It has over 2,oo0 entries but it doesn’t cover everything you may encounter…this doesn’t diminish its value in my eyes.
  • The entries include illustrations of the subjects, not photos. In my opinion, this is actually better and the beautiful watercolor illustrations are very clear and large enough to use for identification. Also, I am finding the “checkmarks” or I have always called them “field marks” are highlighted to point out traits for a subject that will help you identify things you see in nature.
  • Another valuable feature of this book are the range maps for each item. A small graphic of North America is shown with the range shaded and icons for the habitats you might find the subject.
  • In the mammals section, the footprint (track) is also shown if appropriate

I enjoyed hearing the comments of both the 8 year old and the 13 year old that I gave this book to as a gift. They both paged through most of the book in the first day they had it…one paying special attention to the reptile section and one to the wildflowers. One of them hugged the book to their chest and said that they loved the book. The mom of the 8 year old said she is going to incorporate the book into their science plans for the year and she told me that her son wanted to make sure it was coming on an up-coming camping trip. Music to my ears and no great surprise…it is a great book.


I am highly recommending this book to all Outdoor Hour Challenge families who live in North America. This is a perfect complement to the Handbook of Nature Study and will give your family a valuable tool in digging deeper into the wonders of nature in our own part of the world.

Nature Book Project 2015 @handbookofnaturestudy
Previous Month’s Books and Reviews



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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Newt Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge Newt Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge


Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read pages 187-192 in the Handbook of Nature Study (Lesson #48).  Take note of the newt’s habitat. The “eft” is the terrestrial juvenile of the newt.
  • Use the information on this webpage to supplement your reading. Make sure to cover the life cycle of the newt to explain the different stages of development you might see during your outdoor time: Newt.
  • Youtube: Eastern Newt, California Newt,  Eastern Newt.
  • Youtube: Difference between reptiles and amphibians (kid friendly).
  • It may help to do a Google search for your state to see which newts you should look for during your outdoor time. Search for “newts of XXX” replacing the XXX with your state name.
  • There will be places with no newts so this may be a challenge that you complete while visiting a pet shop.

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • Go on a newt hunt along a forest trail, looking in among the leaf litter and on the trail side. We see newts here in California in the spring after it rains and they are boldly walking down the trail out in the open. Keep your eyes alert!
  • Use some of the suggested observations from the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
    • Observe the eye, the skin, the feet.
    • Watch the way it walks (or swims if you find a newt in water).
    • Watch the tail and note the way it is held-is it dragging or lifted?
  • If you don’t find a newt to observe, look along the trail for their potential hiding spots.

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Create a nature journal entry that includes a sketch of a newt. Make sure to label it with a caption.
  • Advanced Study: Create a journal entry that shows the life cycle of the newt either in words or pictures.
  • Advanced Study: Write a comparison of the newt and the salamander.

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library
Join us for this spring series of challenges every week here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Spring Nature Study Continues Ebook

If you want to purchase the Spring Nature Study Continues ebook so you can follow along with all the notebooking pages, coloring pages, and subject images, you can join the Ultimate or Journey Membership Levels. See the Join Us page for complete information. Also, you can view the Spring Nature Study Continues – New Ebook announcement page for more details.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Spring Peepers

Spring Peeper Outdoor Hour Challenge nature study @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Spring Peeper Study

Inside Preparation Work:

1. They have some color changing ability!
2. In winter they go into a partially frozen state.
3. Only the males sing.

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • Go on a pond, puddle, or roadside ditch hike (if it is safe in your area). Look for pools of water where there are possible eggs, tadpoles, or developed frogs living.
  • Use your ears to hear the spring peepers at night since they are nocturnal.
  • Older children: Play hide and seek in the dark!

Follow-Up Activity:

  • You can use the notebook page in the ebook to record your facts and observations.
  • You may be interested in this study with a different notebook page: Frog Study.
  • There is a Seasonal Pond Study notebook page available if you want to do a more general nature study this week.
  • Drawing a spring peeper.
  • The spring peeper is a subject you can study long term as you look later in the summer for tadpoles and then the small 1” to 1.5” frogs. Mark your calendar to look for them in the summer!
  • There is a coloring sheet on this webpage (you need to scroll down): Spring Peeper.
  • Advanced Study: Learn more about the animals that inhabit vernal pools, including the spring peeper. There is a notebook page in the ebook for you to record your study of vernal pools.

Additional Book: Noisy Frog Sing-Along by John Himmelman (my affiliate link)
Webpage for the sounds in this book: Noisy Frog Sing Along

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library
Join us for this series of challenges every week here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Spring Nature Study Continues Ebook

If you want to purchase the Spring Nature Study Continues ebook so you can follow along with all the notebooking pages, coloring pages, and subject images, you can join the Ultimate or Journey Membership Levels. See the Join Us page for complete information. Also, you can view the Spring Nature Study Continues – New Ebook announcement page for more details.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Summer Frog Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Frog Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge:

This week we are going to do a summer frog study using the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Here is a link to the original challenge for you to use for ideas and suggestions for your family’s frog study:

Summer Amphibian Study: Frogs

Use the activities in Lesson 47 in the Handbook of Nature Study to learn more about frogs.

Printable Activity: Seasonal Pond Study Notebook Page

Use this notebook page to record your spring pond study observations and then revisist your pond in each season to compare plants, insects, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians.
Printable Seasonal Pond Study Notebook Page

Getting Started Suggestion:

If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #10. Take a picnic lunch to a near-by pond and combine your frog study and a little pond study after you have a little something to eat. Food always tastes better when you eat it outdoors! Use the notebooking page in the ebook as a follow up to your outdoor time if you wish.

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Hiking in the Adirondack Mountains- Mount Arab


What a glorious thing to explore a new state, a new trail, and then to top it off…a NEW to me flower.

Our recent trip to New York (via a road trip across the complete United States), gave us an opportunity to take several new hikes in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. My daughter picked the hike to Mount Arab out of the guide book and it was a winner! Just outside of Tupper Lake, NY, this trail is a short hike up the mountain and through a heavily wooded forest. Since it is early spring, the trees were just starting to get their new leaves and there were wildflowers just starting to bloom alongside the trail.

purple trilium

I created a list of wildflowers to look for during our trip, flowers we don’t have in California but are listed in the Handbook of Nature Study. I had a east coast wildflower field guide with me too for reference since most of the flowers are new to me.  We actually spotted this variety of trillium (Purple Trillium) right at the beginning of the hike…so pretty and colorful in the brown woodsy floor. (Outdoor Hour Challenge for this flower in the future.)

Trout Lily

Then we saw lots and lots of Trout Lilies! This is another one on my list of wildflowers to study and I will now be able to create an Outdoor Hour Challenge for this flower. The abundance of these lilies really created a special atmosphere as we hiked up the mountain.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (34)

I read in a guide book before we left that May is “mud season” in the Adirondacks. There were sections of this trail that turned out to be quite muddy but the trail makers had made it easier by adding these board walks to span the muddier parts. The mud created spots for insects to gather and we tried not to stop and get eaten by bugs.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (24)

The trail at the top opens up where there are large rock slabs and an incredible view. The weather had been threatening to rain in the morning but we enjoyed sunny skies when we reached the top.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (25

Here is the fire tower at the top of Mount Arab. The wind was blowing really hard which felt like air conditioning after a hot hike up. I am not great with heights but my kids and husband were eager to climb up the stairs and check out the view from the top.

Mount Arab New York Adirondacks May 2014 (7)

I was a little sunburned…that’s the trouble with fair and freckled skin. I had on sunblock…really. I climbed about half way up the tower and the wind was whipping through up there. I was good with the view from there, I know my limits.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (35)

On the way back down the trail, we spied several toads. The above image is a “Where’s Waldo?” sort of photo where the toad is very well camouflaged by the leaves on the forest floor.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (39)

We also saw a snake! He was as curious about us as we were about him.

Mount Arab Adirondacks May 2014 (10)

What a great hike! We will remember this one for its trilliums, lilies, toads, snake, and view from the top. I will also try to remember the variety of bird song we heard as we hiked along as a family.

This hike will count toward my Nature Study Goals for 2014…a new hike!


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Sierra Newts on the Trail

This month has been full of reptiles and amphibians! My husband sent me this image of a Sierra newt that he took on a hike with a friend. He sees newts a few times a year on this particular trail and I think he did a great job of capturing this colorful amphibian so I could share with all of you.

Taricha sierrae- Sierra Newt

  •  Medium sized salamander
  • Subspecies of the California Newt
  • They breathe through lungs and not gills.
  • The Sierra newt spends most of his time on the land.
  • The Sierra newt has very few predators because they contain tetrodotoxin. The only real predator is the garter snake. The Sierra news bright orange color is a warning to other potential predators.
  • One source said they can live 12-15 years in the wild.
  • Their habitat is forested areas, migrating to breeds pools or rivers during breeding season.

This amphibian has been added to my list of reptiles and amphibians in my nature journal and recorded in a journal entry. My sons and I saw newts in a breeding pool a long time ago and I wrote about it in this entry: California Newts and Tree Frogs. has an informative entry for the Sierra newt.

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Focusing on Reptile and Amphibian Nature Study

Last week’s Focus on Reptiles and Amphibians challenge was to start a focus study of reptiles and amphibians in our local area whether that was actually going out and finding a subject to investigate or to use this week’s challenge as a preparation for a future outing. We were fortunate enough to have two different snakes cross our trail (literally) last week and for my nature journal I used the printable reptile notebook page from the Reptile and Amphibian Grid Study entry earlier this month.

I pulled out our field guides and did some research into our two snakes and recorded the information and a couple of quick sketches for my journal. Snakes are not my favorite nature study subject but it is helpful to know a little bit about these two common snakes that live in our area.

I started a “reptile and amphibian” section in my nature notebook and I plan on adding to it as subjects arise. I have a short list of things to research and record as I have time over the next few weeks.

Nature Journal Organization - tabs
You can read more about how we organize our nature notebook pages in a binder in this entry:
How to Organize Your Nature Notebook Pages.

Have you seen any reptiles this month?