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Pond and Frog Nature Study: Includes Frog Life Cycle Activity Printable

Plan a fun pond and frog nature study with these frog life cycle activities, a lapbook download and suggestions for a homeschool pond nature walk!

Plan a fun pond and frog nature study with these frog life cycle activities, a lapbook download and suggestions for a homeschool pond nature walk!

Pond and Frog Nature Study

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!

With a pond and frog nature study in mind, I’ve had a special printable to share for your studies and outdoor hour challenge time. Members now have in their library a fun and informative Frog Life Cycle activity printable.

Frog Life Cycle

Frog Life Cycle Activity Printable Lapbook

Here’s what you get in this download:

In the frog life cycle activity printable and lapbook there are components for:

  • vocabulary
  • frog facts
  • bullfrog facts
  • frog noises
  • the frog life cycle

In the Frog Nature Study 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.
Pond and frog nature study in Homeschool Nature Study membership

Homeschool Nature Study Annual members can log into their account and go to the Pond course and find the two printables there to use any time.

Pond Nature Walk

Suggestions for a Homeschool Nature Walk at a Pond

To go along with a frog nature study, everyone can use these suggestions to follow up a nature walk at a pond, the river, or a lake.

Homeschool Nature Study Membership - Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

Homeschool Nature Study Membership Brings the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool

We make it easy for you!

To get each Friday’s homeschool nature study Outdoor Hour Challenge and for access to a continuing series of new nature studies, join us in Homeschool Nature Study Membership. With homeschool nature study membership, you will have everything you need to bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool.

With membership, you will have access to Outdoor Hour Challenges curriculum and resources to enrich your homeschool.

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

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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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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?

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Frog Pond Study Plus a Rattlesnake Friend

Our first attempt at a tadpole/frog study was unsuccessful. We visited my dad’s pond and could  not scoop up any tadpoles but we did get some great insect larvae to observe in the pond water sample. We brought them home in a bucket and used our pond field guide to try to identify them.

Edit to add: I was told this is not a Mayfly but a Damselfly so I will be off to do some more research….now you will understand why I say I should take Eva’s free entomology course down below. 🙂

Meet the Mayfly….which we learned are called naiads during their aquatic stage. (This is an image of a dead one I found lodged in my net.) They live in ponds, lakes, or streams for up to several years. They molt 20-30 times during that period of time. The most interesting thing about Mayflies is their short lifespan for adults- only a few hours to a few days, depending on the species. We actually observed an adult Mayfly that landed on my dad’s shirt while we were observing the pond. What a great insect to learn about!

Even if we didn’t find any frogs on this outing, we sure enjoyed our time just being outdoors at the pond.

As a sidenote: I think we need to take Eva’s Introduction to Entomology course that she is offering on her blog Academia Celestia. It is a free six week online course in a subject she is highly knowledgeable in and is passionate about. If your family is looking for a way to learn more about insects…click over and see it this would work for you.

We took a second trip to the local walking trail where I had observed some frog’s eggs earlier this month. Success! There were hundreds of tadpoles but I didn’t get a single decent image…the one below is the best I was able to get with all the reflections but if you look closely you will see some dark tadpoles swimming in the water.

We will continue to observe these critters in the weeks to come…easy to do since they are on the side of our usual route on the walking trail.

I highly recommend this Golden Guide to Pond Life. We have always been able to identify any creatures or plants we found at Grandpa’s pond using this simple field guide. Great beginning guide for young ones!

There are affiliate links in this entry. 

 Rattlesnake Video on YouTube….
My husband and I took a hike to the river on a glorious day last weekend. The grass was green, the wildflowers were amazing, and the sun was warm….perfect day for a spring walk through the Northern California foothills.

I was sort of worried about the possibility of encountering snakes but we were keeping a close eye out. I had stopped a few feet off the trail to look at some metallic insects on a wildflower stem. I was trying to get a really close look and then I stepped backwards to the trail. My husband immediately started yelling  that he saw a snake….startling me and making me scream. The snake was right by my feet….a really big rattlesnake!

He pulled me out of the way and the snake moved across the trail over to the other side. I (of course) pulled out my camera and started taking a video. That is what you see in the video above….me still all shaky and out of breath capturing this huge old rattler as it slithers into the tall grasses but not without showing us his extremely long rattle.

We ended up seeing three snakes that day, one rattlesnake and two gopher snakes. Just in time for reptile month!

So have you seen any reptiles in your area yet?

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Frog Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge:
You can reference the Outdoor Hour Challenge for Frogs from the Summer Series for pages to read in the Handbook of Nature Study, observation ideas, and some follow-up activities. Pick and choose which ones are appropriate for your local area and weather. Please make sure to save this study in case you don’t have tadpoles or frogs to observe in person. This is a wonderful long-term study that your children will love. 

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Frogs

Printable: Frog Field Guide Notebook Page

This week’s free printable is one that even your older students will enjoy using along with a field guide. Pick a local frog to learn more about and record your findings for your nature journal using this free printable notebook page. 
Frog Field Guide Notebook Page
Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #7. Take time to read through this challenge and contemplate how you could use your reptile and amphibian study to make a field guide of your local subjects. This could be a long term project that you add to as you come across new things to learn about.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Using the Reptile and Amphibian Grid Study

We have been blessed with many lizard sightings in the past few weeks. Just this past Sunday we saw four lizards on our hike and on Monday we saw three! They are all the same kind of lizard, the Western Fence Lizard. They look like little alligators with really big feet. They are super fast when they want to get away but many times they will sit on a rock in the sun like a statue and pose for the camera. These lizards made a great subject for the start of our Reptile and Amphibian Grid Study.

Here are a few of our images from these encounters.

Love the feet!
I have been keeping my eyes open, looking on rocks as we walk.

Here is what I gleaned from our reptile field guide and recorded in my nature journal.

  • From the family, Iguanidae
  • They are often found on rocks, on logs, in wood piles, and on rails and rock fences (confirmed by our sightings).
  • Females lay up to 25 soft-shelled eggs anytime between mid-may to mid-July, hatching about two months later.
  • Dormant in winter.
  • Diet consists of beetles, flies, termites, ants, and spiders.
  • Throat and belly are blue. (We have not seen this so we need to try to take a closer look.)
  • Range is the length of the Sierra, primarily in the foothills.

For our Amphibian Study:
We also found a spot that has a lot of frogs eggs…a small pool of water alongside our walking trail. We will be watching and waiting for tadpoles to arrive.

Other Reptiles:
No snakes yet….I know the last time I said that here on the blog we saw a snake that very next day.

This was a great start to our Reptile and Amphibian Grid Study this month and I hope to continue finding interesting subjects to add to our journals.

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