Today I welcome Jessie Meisner as a new intern on the Kidoinfo team. In addition to her behind-the-scenes help, she will occasionally share her camp experience and love of children’s literature with our readers.
It may be getting too cold to swim, but it’s certainly not too late to explore in the water. Try pond scooping (or pond dipping) to get up close and personal with the critters living in the water.
First you’ll have to find a good body of water to explore. Ponds, streams, rivers, and lakes all do the trick, as long as you can walk right up to the edge of the water. See our list below for local spots in and around Rhode Island. Please share your own favorite places for pond scooping.
Sort through your cabinets for an old pasta strainer or flour sifter you’re willing to sacrifice. For the best scooping, attach the strainer to the end of a sturdy stick, no taller than your child, for easy maneuverability. Removable broom handles and duct tape work well for creating this DIY pond scooper. However, scooping without a stick works well, too, though it doesn’t allow you to cover as great an area. If possible, bring along small buckets, local pond guides from the library, magnifying glasses, and rubber boots as handy tools.
Once you reach your location, pull out your rubber boots, and move into the pond–be careful not to splash around too much or you’ll scare everything away! Carefully scoop the net from side to side in the water, pull it out, and examine what you’ve found. I’ve found that the best way to ensure a great catch is to find an area in the water with plant life, and scoop along the plants, near the bottom; this usually yields the smaller insects that cling to grasses.
Once you’ve made a catch, you can carefully dump the contents of your scoop into a bucket or shallow pan filled with water. Once your child is done scooping, sit down and examine what you’ve found; findings can range from tiny beetles to giant frogs, from leeches to dragonfly larva. These findings are a great way to start conversations with your kids about metamorphosis, adaptations, or they might spark some observational drawings. It’s an open-ended, fun activity…as long as you don’t forget to return your specimens to their native habitat before you return to yours!
Places to go:
For more ideas, visit: