Wednesday 6 February 2013


Visiting the pond in the forest with Granny.
Aaaargh. I've been caught out by the weather again this week. Just as I started to think Spring was only just around the corner it's decided to revert to full-on freezing again. Thus my post about tadpoles seems a little bit premature, but hey ho, perhaps the snowdrops are right and Spring will be on its way soon.
I love watching tadpoles develop and turn into frogs. Even as an adult it seems something of a miracle. I reckon watching those little dots inside the mass of jelly balls gradually metamorphose into tadpoles, and then into little frogs, is an amazing opportunity for kids.

My parents live on the edge of a forest and in the forest is a pond. Getting to the pond is a perfect walk for kids because it takes about 25 minutes- long enough to be a proper walk but not so far that they can't walk back again without whinging, plus the track has a hard surface so now they can bike it. We go there most years to fetch some frogspawn. There's always loads of it and it's generally in reeds just near the edge, where the water's shallow enough to paddle in without it going over the top of your wellies, (not that my two ever manage to stay in the shallows!)

Baby tadpoles in the kitchen.
Where are their tails going?
Once we've got the frogspawn home we think about how we can turn a big tub in the kitchen into a miniature version of the pond we collected the spawn from, putting in pond water, adding weed and a couple of rocks etc. Even once the emerging tadpoles have consumed all their jelly they don't need much in the way of food but we do add a chunk of cat food now and then, which they seem to devour with relish! Then we watch and wait for the first sign of "LEGS!!"
Looking for the "ickle fwogs".
Once they start to turn into tiny frogs we adapt their habitat so they can come out of the water. Martin put an old fish tank on a slope and put a bit of turf in at one end, whilst the other end was still water, and the boys loved watching the newly mobile frogs climbing out of the water and creeping through the grass.
Nearly ready to hop it!
Finally, we move the tank outside so they can adjust to the outdoor temperature before we release them.
We have got a little raised pond in our garden, but it's full of fish who would definitely snaffle our new babies if we put them in, so we just let them hop off into a patch of long grass. There are plenty of water sources around and lots of cool, shady places to hide, and we often find frogs lurking under stones or logs in the garden which probably started their life in a tank in our kitchen.
Here's one we grew earlier!
 A few years ago we donated some of our spawn to the village school and the pond over there is now hopping with life in springtime and producing enough spawn to populate the whole neighbourhood.

So when Spring does arrive, see if you can track down some of the globular stuff! It will give the kids some temporary, easy-to-care-for pets and will teach them about one of the most interesting life processes you can see.


  1. What amazing pictures. There is nothing more exciting that creatures that change and evolve over the Spring.
    Thank you for sharing on the Spring Carnival

    1. Thank you! I agree, I still feel amazed when I see tadpoles evolving!

  2. That's such a cool little thing to do, watching them grow and the circle of life.

  3. I sooooo hope the snowdrops and daffs are right too! I am not a massive reptile fan but I do find the whole metamorphosis idea an interesting one - but am a bit too squeamish with them to show the boys the magic! #Countrykids

  4. Our pond has got frogspawn and our tadpoles become possibly the mist pond dipped tadpoles in Normandy - the boys love them :)

  5. Tadpoles are great for a life cycle study and children are fascinated with watching them and it sounds like you are very successful in developing and releasing yours. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.