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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 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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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 Newsletter – Reptiles and Amphibians Edition

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter April 2013 Cover

April 2013 – Reptiles and Amphibians

We have arrived at a study of reptiles and amphibians just in time for perhaps some spring observations of tadpoles, peeping of spring peepers, and the awakening of our more cold-blooded nature friends. Whether this study is of real-life subjects or preparation for future observations, I am confident that your children will benefit from learning more about reptiles and amphibians using the Handbook of Nature Study and the Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Contents of this edition of the newsletter include: 

  • 4 encouraging articles to help with your study of reptiles and amphibians
  • Contributors from India, Australia, and England – such a privilege to hear from so many kindred spirits from around the world
  • April Study Grid to help your monthly nature study
  • Show and Tell from OHC Participants
  • Recommended study links and field guides

I have attached the newsletter download link to the bottom of my blog feed so if you are a subscriber you will receive the link to the latest newsletter at the bottom of every post for the month of April. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can still subscribe and receive the newsletter link in the next post that comes to your email box. You can subscribe to my blog by filling in your email address in the subscription box on my sidebar.

April Blog Sponsor

Note: You can download your newsletter from the link in two ways:


  • If your link is clickable, right click the link and then “save link as” to save the file on your computer.
  • If the link is not clickable, cut and paste the link to your browser, open, and then save your newsletter to your computer.


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Frogs of the Sierra Nevadas and the Handbook of Nature Study

Handbook of Nature Study older edition (2)

I was given the opportunity to purchase a 1911 version of the Handbook of Nature Study….with all its well worn pages…all still intact and in very good shape. I jumped at the chance to have as a keepsake the volume in its original form. Thanks Anna Botsford Comstock for caring enough to write these lessons down for all of us that follow you.

Handbook of Nature Study older edition (1)

My new Handbook is very similar to the current version that I use but what makes it nice is the layout….only one column on a page, original clipart, diagrams, little extra references to books and brochures that probably no longer exist. The charm of this book is how it is still relevant today… hundred years later.

Frog in the Algae Pond 1
Frog Pond

We had the chance to visit Grandpa’s pond last week and since the weather has been so dry, the creek fed pond is getting a little low. There is still a spring underneath keeping it wet enough for the critters that depend on it for water. We were surprised to see all the frog heads with bulging eyes sticking up above the water. They really do blend in except if they move….the duck weed is thick on the top and it makes the frogs look like they have beards.

Frog Pond with Duck Weed
Where’s the frog?

You need to move slowly or they plop under the water very fast. I was able to zoom in and get a few images of the frog heads for us to look at on the computer screen. We consulted our favorite frog and toad website: California Frogs and Toads. We are fairly sure it is an American Bullfrog…. we are going back later this week and we will take our field guide to confirm the identification.

In the Handbook of Nature Study in lesson 47, the suggestions are all things that we would need to really spend some time investigating and perhaps even catching one and taking a closer look. We decided to narrow our study down to a few things:
#3 Describe the colors and markings of the frog on the upper and on the under side. How do these protect it from observations from above? below? How do we usually discover that we are in the vicinity of a frog?
#4 Describe the frog’s ears, eyes, nostrils, and mouth.
#6 How does the frog feel to your hand? Is it easy to hold him?

Those seem like logical questions to keep in mind when we go back again next week. We will update this entry when we answer the questions.

I look forward to seeing some of your pond studies or any other nature studies you have completed this month. Make sure to submit your entries to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. You can submit your entries by following this LINK.

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Frogs and The Sounds of Summer: Our Family Study

This post has been a long time coming. We worked on this last week and the week before that knowing we had a frog study as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge. We must be having an unusual year because we have not seen a single frog this summer except when we were at Yosemite on our camping trip. We saw a Pacific Tree frog but did not photo because he hopped right up to my foot and I was actually trying to catch him but he got away. He sure could jump!

On a normal summer evening we can sit out on our back deck and hear frogs in the evening as they croak and rib-bit. We took a walk around our neighborhood and found out that the little wetland area at the end of the school soccer field that usually has cattails and frogs this time of year was dried up. They must have come up with a way to drain the area and it is now not fit for cattails and frogs. I am a little sad.

So did we learn something during this challenge even though we never found any frogs? We benefited from two complete walks looking for frogs in our neighborhood and although we were not “successful”, we did learn more about our local frogs. We took some time to research exactly what kind of frogs we should be looking for in our area. We found that there is a species of frog that is endangered, the California red-legged frog.(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

We also have the Sierra Tree Frog and the Sierran Tree Frog (working on figuring out the difference), as well as the Foothill yellow-legged frog.

We enjoyed learning some more information about frogs from the Handbook of Nature Study too and some of the facts are now filed away for future reference.

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Pacific Treefrog

Pacific treefrog, Hyla regilla, found at the American River, California.

Bright sunny day.

He and a friend treated us to a show of their voices. They are very loud and make their song by expanding their balloon like throats. It is a fascinating thing to see.

Here’s a video that I shared on my other blog that has the frogs croaking at 25 seconds and 50 seconds into the video.
Pacific treefrog Video

The video is terrible but the audio is fantastic. They really were as loud as they sound in the video.

Handbook of Nature Study, page 186
“The frog may be studied in its native situation by the pupils or it may be brought to the school and placed in an aquarium; however, to make a frog aquarium there needs to be a stick or stone projecting about the water, for the frog likes to spend part of the time entirely out of water or only partially submerged.”

On pages 178 and 179 of the Handbook, Anna Comstock talks a little about a different variety of tree frog and shows a few photos.
“It is by means of these sticky, disclike toes that the animals hold themselves upon the tree trunks or other upright objects.”

Here is a nature journal entry my son did last summer of another Pacific treefrog that we observed.
Pacific Tree Frog-nature journal
We are going to be able to identify this little creature now when we hear his call and we feel privileged to have had this experience.

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California Newts and Tree Frogs: Outdoor Hour #3

March 1, 2008
Dear Nature Friends,
Today we took our Outdoor Hour Challenge on the road, or should I say trail? The last Friday of every month we take the day off from our regular schooling to have a Nature Day. This is something I have been doing all year with my 12 and 14 year old sons. We take the day and focus on some aspect of nature that fits in with our science lessons or our interests.

Please remember when you read my post and view my photos (and a short video) that we have been doing nature study in our family since these two boys were able to walk….a long time. We also live in a moderate climate and have limitless access to wilderness. This hike is literally out our door and a few miles away. On a scale of one to ten, this day was a perfect ten. I hope that puts our experience in perspective for you beginners. This is what your nature study can look like in a few years if you keep at it, little by little.

In challenge number 1 I shared our hike on a new trail…the one with the ferns and the unusual bud. We wanted to take the hike all the way to the river this time so after a short stop at our tree in the woods, we headed over to the trail head. We set off at a quick pace but soon we found wildflowers blooming and of course I had to stop to take a few photos.
yellow wildflower 1
purple wildflower 1
I wasn’t able to identify this one yet, need to see it flowering.
We saw our first butterflies of the season, big brown ones and little blue ones. The sun was actually hot and we shed a layer of sweaters and sweatshirts…good thing I had my backpack on this hike. 🙂 We had good conversation as we hiked along. Oh, we saw what the “unusual looking bloom” was from our last trip. It is actually just the way the leaves pop out on this particular plant.

unusual bud 1 unusual bud 3 with leaves
It was a long downhill hike to get to the river, I think about a mile and a half but the hard part is that it was a really steep downhill grade. I kept thinking about the hike back up with great dread. Would the hike be worth it we kept asking?

B and the river trail
The minute we hit the edge of the river and I was shedding my pack, the boys excitedly called to me to come over and look at something. I could tell it was something good by the tone in their voices. Wow! A whole pool of California newts!

newts 1Ca newt 1
We spent quite a bit of time watching them in their courtship dance in the crystal clear water. Fascinating and we felt so grateful to have seen it. My youngest slipped into the water with one foot and had a soaking shoe, sock, and pant leg for the rest of the hike. After a few photos and a video, we all sat at the edge of the river and rested and listened and just soaked it all in.

sitting quielty
Yes, you can train your children to sit quietly and listen.

The boys were soon doing their usual river thing…throwing in rocks. I sat and worked in my nature journal drawing the blackberry leaves and vine next to me. The boys found a little gold flake in the gravel at the edge of the river. We actually live near where the California Gold Rush started on this very river.
gold flake
I need to make a note to put a little vial for collecting things in my backpack. This flake was dropped into the rocks and was never seen again. He wants to go back and try again some time.

But the highlight of the day happened right when we were packing up to go back up the trail…..yes, you haven’t seen the highlight yet. The boys spotted a frog that had just jumped out of the water onto a rock. Back out comes the camera to try to get a photo for their nature journals.
Pacific treefrog
While getting a few good photos, two of the frogs started croaking. Their throats blew up like balloons and the sound of it was awesome. Would you like to hear? [If you are on email subscription you will need to come over the the blog to see the video..I think.]There are actually two frogs croaking in the video and they croak at about 25 seconds and 50 seconds into the video. When we got home we pulled out our field guide and identified this as a Pacific Treefrog.

My YouTube video of a Pacific Treefrog. 

Both boys wanted to do their journals on the newt.
CA newt journal entry
I got a new scanner but I have not learned how to operate it very well yet…maybe next scan will be better.
Thanks for sharing our very exciting “day out” with us. Hope it inspired and encouraged you in to have some of your own adventures with nature study. Our family looks forward to each time we have to share time out of doors. The answer to the question earlier about whether the hike would be worth the effort? Yes, totally and completely. I would go again right now….sore muscles and all.
nature study 1
One last photo of my son and I kneeling over the water trying to see the frogs.