Pond Life Theme

Pre-K & Preschool theme ideas for learning about pond animals: frogs, turtles, fish.

Find more Pond Activities for Pre-K on the category page.


Check here for a complete list of Books about Pond Animals!

Pond Books for Pre-K Children

Turtle Crawl

{Large Motor}
Children crawl like a turtle with a “shell” (foam mat or carpet) on their backs, trying not to lose the shell.

Frog Hop

{Large Motor}
Children move from one point to another, hopping like a frog.

Hatch, Hatch, Little Egg

{Large Motor}
Several pond animals come from eggs. In this movement game, children curl up into a ball and pretend to be an egg. One child is tapped on the shoulder, and pretends to hatch and act like an animal they choose. That student taps the next child who hatches, then taps the next child, etc.

Sand Art

Children draw a pond animal of their choice using a black ink pen to make the outline. They use a glue brush (inexpensive dollar store brush) to spread glue inside the outline and sprinkle on some colored art sand. They use their fingertips to pinch the sand and sprinkle it on, then shake the excess sand onto a paper plate.

Pond Animal Sand Art

The Lost Button

{Literacy, Visual Discrimination}
We read the story “The Lost Button” from Frog and Toad Are Friends, by Arnold Lobel. Each child in the group has a set of buttons. While listening to the story, they eliminate the buttons that do not belong to Toad (for example, a button with two holes, or a square button). At the end, we find out which one belongs to Toad.

Lost Button Activity

Story Retelling

This is an activity that goes with any theme. Choose a book that goes with the theme, and have the children retell the story.
Read the blog post here for details: story retelling

Frog Jump

Frogs can jump ten times their length. We lay ten frog cutouts end-to-end to see how far a frog can jump. Then, we compare our jumping distance to the frog’s.

Froggy Slap

The children work in two teams, each team with a froggy fly swatter. They count dots on a game card, find the number on a lily pad, and swat the fly. The first team member that slaps the fly swatter on the correct fly earns a point for the team. Froggy fly swatters are bought at Big Lots. Lily pads are made with green craft foam sheets, with the bugs drawn on with a Sharpie.

Froggy Slap Number Game

Turtle Bingo

{Literacy or Math}
Use plastic turtle counters to cover the letter/number/shape on the bingo cards. We use these to play alphabet bingo, number bingo, shape bingo, or rhyming bingo.

Pond Animal Bingo

How Many Turtles Fit?

Children use felt “logs” of various lengths, line the turtle manipulatives across the log, and count how many fit on the log.

Gus the Alligator

{Literacy, Science}
We watch a National Geographic video called “Gus the Alligator”, and discuss what we learn about alligators. We make a 4-page book about alligators:

Alligators eat ___.
Alligators live ___.
Alligators have ___.
Alligators can ___.

The blanks are filled in with the children’s dictation (a fact about alligators they learned from the video), and the children draw a picture to illustrate.

Alligator BookAlligator BookAlligator Book

Fish Tumble

Children toss foam fish (numbered 1-9) into the pond (blue felt), and arrange them in numerical order. The foam fish were bought in a package at a craft store. (If these are not available in a package, you can make these by cutting a simple fish shape from craft foam.)

Fish Number Game

Beginning Sounds

Children match a small toy pond animal to it’s beginning letter (which is written on a plastic egg), and place the animal inside the egg. (F for frog and fish, T for turtle, D for duck, S for snake, A for Alligator, etc.)

Oviparous Animal Game

Floor Graph

Pond animals, such as frogs, flies and turtles are put in plastic eggs. Children choose an egg from a basket without knowing what is inside. At each child’s turn, they open the egg and place it on the floor graph. We count each group of animals and determine which had the most, least, and same.

Object Graphs

Ice cube trays make great graphs that can be used with manipulatives. Children graph two kinds pond animal manipulatives in the two columns of an ice cube tray. They count each column and determine more/less/same. For example, 5 turtles and 3 frogs.

Animal Graph

Aquarium Field Trip

During a field trip to the aquarium, children look for animals on the checklist and mark them off as they found them. The pictures can be marked with a crayon or a sticker dot. Go here for the printable: Aquarium Checklist Printable

Aquarium Field Trip

Pond Animal Bingo Stamping Game

{Math or Literacy}
Read about and print the Pond Animal Bingo Game here: Look for the turtle, frog, and duck games.

Pond Bingo Game

Pond Pattern Block Mats

Read about and print here: Pattern Block Mat Printables. (Go to this page and look for the fish, turtle, duck, & alligator mats.)

Pond Pattern Block Mats

Frog Grid Game

Read about about print here: Grid Games

Pond Grid Game

Frog Roll & Write Game

{Literacy or Math}
Print and find directions here: Roll & Write Games

Frog Roll & Write Game

For the Science Center

Live tadpoles
Live frog
Live turtle
(sometimes these can be borrowed from a student)


Nursery rhymes that go well with a Pond Animals theme:



You might like these Pre-K Math Journals for May, available in my shop.

Pre-K Math Journals for May