Pond Dipping – An All Year Activity

The Nature Curriculum theme for the week is Winter Ponds.  It is suggested we revisit our autumn pond, but as we’d just emigrated and so didn’t have one, I’ve found us a new pond.  This is quite an exciting find for our pond dipping.  We live on a small island, and I originally didn’t think there were any ponds nearby.  However, I found one small one hidden in the woods, and I think we are going to enjoy investigating this one.

We had to work round the edges of the thick ice to manage any scooping into the water, but we did get some scoops done.  Our pond dipping tray shows hundreds of tiny light brown, almost transparent, tadpole shaped (but much much smaller) organisms buzzing around in there.  The trio were very excited as they didn’t expect to get anything.  They thought there might be life under the ice, but it was too solid to get through it.  We chatted about the plants around a pond.  The marginal plants (around the edge and in the marshy areas), the emergent plants (growing in the shallower areas), the submerged plants (with floating leaves), and the totally submerged plants.  We managed to get samples of marginal and emergent plants to study more closely at home, but no luck getting anything from the actual pond today.

During our pond dipping we also got a water sample in a jam jar to study at home.  It is a good sample, with hundreds of the little brown tadpole shaped organisms swimming in there.  Once the three children learnt to stare at a spot of water and be patient and keep staring there, then they could see them all moving, otherwise it appears there is nothing in there as they are so small.  We also got samples of the pond ice to bring home for a science experiment later in the week.

The children also trialled their view finders which they made in the pond craft session (post out later in the week).  They were not very effective as there was only 1 cm of water and then thick ice under that.  They had fun though, and understood the principle of them, and maybe we will have more luck when the ice melts.




We were so pleased that we had found a local pond that we could now watch as the seasons change, and do our pond dipping in throughout the year.  The mini men enjoyed trying to smash the pond ice (which they didn’t succeed at, but it kept them busy while our lady was busy retrieving organisms to examine!)  They did some crafting there too (have a read of the pond craft blog, out later in the week, to see what they did by the pond), and we had a warming winter snack cooked by our Kelly Kettle (post out later in the outdoor cooking treats category).  As usual, the time that we had allotted came and went, and we spent much longer than we had intended there, but I love that when it happens….especially as mini man no.2 wasn’t keen on coming out at all this afternoon.  It means everyone has enjoyed their experience and their time in nature and the outdoors 🙂  I thoroughly recommend to make pond dipping an all year round activity, comparing seasonal finds!


Pond Dipping, winter pond dipping, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Country Kids

The Nature Curriculum we use is, “Exploring Nature with Children. A complete, year-long curriculum”. It is a beautifully written framework, written by Raising Little Shoots, and can be found over at https://raisinglittleshoots.com/ It suggests a topic for the week, and then provides some background information and suggestions for nature journaling and outdoor exploring. It also provides a comprehensive suggested reading list (fiction and non-fiction) for each week, plus a poem and a piece of art to study. There are extensions activity ideas too. We use the topic as the theme for our week, and follow the ideas for our journaling, and one fiction book. What we have been doing from the curriculum can be found on our curriculum overview post. The craft, science, maths, and English ideas we have researched ourselves to fit in with the theme 🙂 This makes a learning a lot more nature based.


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  1. sarah Burgess

    Hello I was wondering what is the name of the Nature curriculum that you are using please? Thank you. I am really enjoying your blog.

    • Hiya, I am really sorry you didn’t get my reply to your comment last time, but it is showing up that it did post! Here is what I wrote:

      Thankyou, that is really kind. The Nature curriculum is called “Exploring Nature with Children; a complete year-long curriculum. This link should direct you to it https://raisinglittleshoots.com/ It’s really comprehensive and full of ideas and direction. Hope that helps.

  2. I really love this, such a good idea doing pond dipping at this time of year- thank you for the fab inspiration! And thank you for linking up with me 🙂 #LivingLifeWild

    • Thankyou for hosting us all over on http://livinglifeourway.com/ looking forward to reading everyone elses ideas 🙂 It’s great to see the ponds at leaast once every season to see how they change, and discover that life still goes on even in the thick ice over here!!

  3. I have a post about doing just this on my blog back in the summer, I have never thought to repeat it in winter assuming there would be nothing to see, now I feel I have to go and investigate! How wonderful that you have found a new pond to use for your studies and will be able to see how life changes there through the seasons. Well done to your winter pond dippers.

    Thank you for lining up and sharing at #CountryKids

    • It’s so lovely being able to compare it throughout the seasons, and we found lots of (very tiny) life 🙂 The children had lots of fun with the ice too!

  4. My kids would’ve this. They love watching wildlife! I assumed pond dipping would be a spring activity. Off i go to dig out the nets!!#LivingLifeWild

    • It’s fab at any time, and what you see varies so much. Plus you then get a comparison of the seasons 🙂 Enjoy!!!

  5. I love this, so glad to have found your blog. We have a storm water pond near us that the girls love to play at. I’ll take jars next time.

  6. That sounds fascinating. I’ve not yet tried pond dipping with my girls and I would never have thought to do so in winter. So interesting that you managed to find some pondlife under the ice to observe 🙂 #countrykids

  7. Love this, what a great activity. My guys would love it 🙂 We have lots of ponds around us, although a lot of them are frozen at the moment! #countrykids

    • Ours was frozen too, but it showed the children what goes on in the winter. we managed to find a few holes round the edges 🙂

  8. This sounds like an amazing curriculum! So many ideas to be getting on with. I only wish I could do this with Monkey! Although we always have the weekends! And he loves a bit of pond dipping. Looking forward to hearing all about the pond crafts! Stopping by from #countrykids

  9. Thankyou, I really like being here!!

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