Spring is definitely springing and one sign of this is frogspawn. You may have noticed these balls of jelly appearing in your local ponds or indeed heard the frogs calling. The frog lifecycle is a fascinating and accessible species to study and this is a great way to record it.
This is a really simple activity to do and really engaging for children of ages. It requires time and repeat visits to a pond so make sure you choose one near by. Please don’t take frogspawn home with you, they have everything they need where they are and are an integral part of the ecosystem. It could also spread disease if you start moving them round.
First, of course, you need to find some frogspawn. You may like to look at toadspawn or newts eggs instead or as well as frogspawn. They are easy to differentiate, frogs lay in clumps, toads lay in strings and newts lay single eggs on leaves.
Once you have found some, try and scoop some out for closer inspection, an empty take away pot or ice cream tub does the job nicely just make sure you have some water from the same pond in the bottom. If it is out of your reach use a net that you might take rock pooling.
Use magnifying glasses if you have them, older children could draw or do a written observation of the frogspawn, but for this activity the important thing is to take a photo of them. This can then be printed off, saved and added to over the coming weeks. To make your flipcharts you need to repeat this activity regularly, taking a picture each time and adding to the others, you will then have a detailed recording of how the frog life cycle changes over time. If you are really clever you could position your specimen in the same way each time so when you flick through your book it will look like the same animal changing.
To help you decide how regularly you need to visit, here is a rough timeline:
Frogspawn- 3-4 weeks (they will start to look more tadpole like inside the jelly by week 3)
Tadpoles- 1 week old- external gills visible
6weeks old- external gills disappeared
8 weeks old- hind legs formed
12 weeks old- front legs formed
14 weeks old – tail disappeared
I would suggest visiting weekly.