Friday, April 5, 2013

Tadpole to Frog

I just love when life presents those "teachable moments."  For us this happened a few weeks ago when the boys stumbled across some tadpoles.  

Days of nonstop rain brought large puddles and ponds to normally dry areas.  While at my parents house for Sunday lunch, all the boys went on a 4 wheeler ride and found a huge puddle filled with tadpoles.  They ran back inside, grabbed one of my mama's mixing bowls, and filled it up with tadpoles.  They were thrilled and wanted to bring them home.  I thought sure...why not?  It would be a wonderful learning experience for all of us.  And then I began researching how to take care of tadpoles...clean the water twice a week, use non-chlorinated water, boil lettuce to freeze for their food, find a large enough aquarium, etc.  My goodness!!!  They had been living in a mud puddle for crying out loud.  But for the sake of learning, I smiled and brought them home.  :)

And I'm so glad I did!!  We had such a special time watching this miracle take that only God could have designed.  Watching this transformation reminded me of our time with the butterflies.  

Here is our journey with the tadpoles.

March 17--We brought home the tadpoles.  
We placed the aquarium in the kitchen so that we could always watch them.
Sidenote:  While I initially thought all of the guidelines for tadpole care seemed ridiculous, I'm so glad I researched and followed through.  All of our tadpoles developed correctly, and they are healthy little froglets.    

March 25--The tadpoles grew their back legs.  Their lungs were also beginning to form...we saw them come to the top to take a breath and go back down in the water.

April 1--They now have their front legs.  Soon after this, their tales began to shrink.  Their eyes are also bulging and their head is shaped like a frog.  Their lungs are fully formed and they float on the top of the water.  They are also no longer interested in eating the lettuce.  Their appetites are changing as well. ;)

April 3--The tadpoles have now completely changed into froglets.  They can now jump out of the water and onto the rock.  Their tales have completely disappeared.

April 6--We released the froglets back into their natural habitat.
A few of the tadpoles developed more quickly than the others.  We released them a few days earlier.  Now that the remaining ones were ready to find flies and crickets we found them the perfect spot.

And that's it...until the cycle begins again. :)

While we were watching the metamorphosis, we read books about tadpoles and frogs.  Here are the books we kept in our book basket.

Growth and Life Cycles: Tadpole to Frog by Jim Pipe
Tadpoles by Theresa Greenaway
From Tadpole to Frog by Shannon Zemlicka
From Tadpole to Frog: Following the Life Cycle by Suzanne Slade
From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer (A Let's Read and Find Out Science book)
The Mystery of Nature:  Tadpole to Frog by Oliver Owen

If you happen to run across some tadpoles, don't hesitate to bring them home.  You'll love watching this miracle unfold.


Monday, April 1, 2013


We have been a penguin-crazy family for a while now.

Back in 2010:  Old Crow dressed as a penguin for Halloween and Crazy Horse was an eagle.

That same year we visited the penguin exhibit at the zoo and they HAD to have a penguin "pet."  They still sleep with these penguins.

In 2011, we visited the GA Aquarium and viewed the penguins from an underwater tunnel.  We were all fascinated.

So I wasn't surprised when we recently began to talk about penguins a lot.
After watching the movie, Happy Feet, the kids became fascinated by penguins all over again. 
It is amazing how much factual information they can learn from a fictional cartoon.  They began talking about where penguins live, how they "sing," how the daddy takes care of the egg, and lots more.  It's all they could talk about.  So I began to gather books and activities to help them learn even more.

These are the books (both fiction and non-fiction) that I checked out from the library and added to our book basket:
The Emperor's Egg by Martin Jenkins
The Little Penguin  by A.J. Wood
Penguins by Penelope Arlon
Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester
Tacky and the Emperor by Helen Lester
National Geographic Kids: Penguins! by Anne Schreiber
Little Penguin: The Emperor of the Antarctica by Jonathan London 

I found these great Montessori style penguin cards and printed out the 17 different species of penguins.  We could match the picture with the information about each type of penguin.      

Old Crow picked 4 penguins from the list.   He measured their height and marked them on the wall.  Then they each took turns to see which penguin was their same size.  They thought this was too funny!

Old Crow also did a mapping activity.  He colored the places on the map where penguins can be found.  He learned from our books (and it was reinforced with this activity) that penguins only live south of the Equator. Penguins do not live in the Arctic.

We also pulled out a past issue of Big Backyard and read about the Little Blue Penguin.  He's the smallest of all penguins.  I can't say enough good things about this magazine.  Sidenote:  Big Backyard has now been renamed Ranger Rick Jr.

Old Crow also practiced carrying the egg around on his feet.  He realized this was hard work!  He had to be extra careful not to let it touch the "ice."  :)

For an extra activity, we put together this globe puzzle.  Old Crow loved that penguins were pictured on Antarctica.

There are so many other fun activities.  Check out my Polar Animals Pinterest Board.  
That's all the time we had for penguins.  The boys now want a penguin as a pet.  I keep trying to tell them that it isn't such a good idea. ;)

We did, however, get a new pet.  Tadpoles!  Stay tuned to read about our journey with tadpoles.  They have now sprouted their back and front legs.  Amazing!