Sunday 28 August 2011

Teach Your Toddler: Frogs

Garden Boy was really eager to learn about frogs, In fact, if you will excuse the pun, he was literally hopping about with excitement at this topic. Before we started we took a trip to the library. Last year we did much of our research about Garden Bugs on the internet but I wanted our Little Garden Helpers to remember that books can provide the answers too, so we borrowed a couple of books about frogs ('Watch it Grow: Frog' by Barrie Watts and 'Wild Britain: Frog' by Louise and Richard Spilsbury, and this is what we discovered...

Things to Tell Your Toddler
  • Frogs live on land and in water. Animals that live on land and in water are amphibians (like Peppa Pig's camper van!).
  • Frogs have long, sticky tongues which they flick really quickly to catch their food.
  • They eat all sorts of insects including snails and slugs so they are good to have in the garden.
  • They do not chew their food. They just swallow it whole!
  • Frog's have eyes on the side of their heads, not the front like us. This means they can see all around them so they can see if an animal wants to eat them or if there is a tasty insect to eat itself.
  • Frogs move on land by jumping. They have long, zig-zaggy back legs to help them jump.
  • Frogs move in water by paddling. They have webbed feet, like ducks, to help them swim.
  • Frogs like to sleep in the day and hunt for food at night. This is because it is cooler and wetter at night and if their skin dries out in the sun they will not survive. They also sleep (hibernate) all through winter.
  • Frogs lay thousands of eggs in water, called frogspawn.
  • Tadpoles swim out of the eggs after a few weeks and over a few months gradually grow their legs and lungs which let them breathe and move on land.
  • Female frogs do no make sounds at all. Male frogs croak as loud as they can by puffing up their throat as big as they can.

Activities We Did
  • Pretend to be a frog. Puff up your face and croak as loud as you can. 'Erm... Garden Girl, are you a girl? Do girl frogs croak? Then why are you making a noise?' 'Thats not fair! Boys say silly things so why should they croak and not girls?'. Show me how a frog moves on land, and now in water. Now show me your tongue and catch some insects. And now its getting cold, winter is on its way, find somewhere safe and sheltered to sleep. 
  • Make origami jumping frogs. We followed the instructions here to make ours. We didn't have any green paper so we just coloured some white paper in before we started folding. Garden Boy needed a bit of help with the folds but Garden Girl managed all on her own. Once you have made them have frog races with them.

  • Make frog bread. I came across these on The Fresh Loaf website while I was browsing the internet and couldn't resist. They were also really delicious and all three Little Garden Helpers loved making them.

  • Make a frog mask. Garden Girl made hers at school but I think it was quite an effectve use of a paper plate and some green paint and is really simple to do. 

  • Draw frogs. Drawing pictures helped them remember the special features of a frog such as the round body, big eyes and zig zag legs.

It was a couple of weeks ago now that we were learning about frogs but all three of our Little Garden Helpers are still talking about frogs and jumping around pretending to be frogs. Garden Boy particularly enjoys trying to catch insects with his tongue while Garden Lass, at the mention of a frog jumps on her toes and giggles. She absolutely loves pretending to be a frog but not quite as much as she enjoyed with the bread dough. Garden Girl was the least impressed with frogs, expressing much disbelief that female frogs do not croak at all and consequently dubbing them 'silly' although she really enjoyed learning about how tadpoles change into frogs. The highlight for me was joining in with frog jumping on a wet day. Its hard to resist a giant puddle when wearing wellies!

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