Pond Life Theme

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


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


Nursery rhymes that go well with a Pond Animals theme:



 Look for the Aquarium Field Trip Checklist on the Field Trip Checklist page.

Pond Animal BingoPond Animal BingoPond Animal Bingo Look for the Turtle Bingo, Frog Bingo, & Duck Bingo printables on the Bingo Games page.

Grid Games Look for the Frog Grid Game on the Grid Games page for math.

Pattern Block Mat Printable Pattern Block Mats in blackline and color. Look for the turtle, alligator, and fish mats to use with a pond theme.

 Look for the Pond Animal Cards on the Picture Cards for Themes page.


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.

Pre-K Pond Life Theme

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.

Pre-K Pond Theme

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.

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.

Preschool Pond Theme

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.

Pre-K Pond Unit

Frog Patterns

We use frog counters to make AB, AABB, and ABC patterns.

Pre-K Pond Unit

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.

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.

Pre-Kindergarten Pond Unit

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.

Preschool Pond Theme

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.)

Pre-Kindergarten Pond Theme

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.)

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.

Pre-K Pond Unit

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.

Preschool Pond Theme

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.

Aquarium Checklist Printable

For the Science Center

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

Pre-Kindergarten Sensory Table

Turtles in the Sensory Table

[Sensory Table]
Children used water with river rocks, aquarium grass, and plastic turtles for creative play.

Pre-K Sensory Table

Lily Pads, Turtles, Frogs, & Fish

[Sensory Table]
Read the blog post here: Pond Sensory Table


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