Friday, May 8, 2015

Pond Viewers

One activity that is always a favorite in the summer months is creating a pond viewer. We have done this activity a few times and used them both at lakes and ponds. What I have found is a lake became much to enticing to play in which in essence ditched the activity. A pond however, felt more inviting to actually step more carefully in the water and view without to much extra play. As well, a pond seemed to offer more immediate life to discover vs a the lake we used. That more immediate gratification seems to prolong interest.

To create a pond viewer you need just a few simple supplies. For this activity I asked that each family scout out their own metal can, the size of a #10 can that restaurants use (great source to hit up) or a very large coffee can. With coffee cans though be sure to double check they are metal as many are cardboard. They were to arrive with both ends removed, which a simple can opener will do safely. I provided for the activity some duct tape, scissors and a couple rolls of Syran wrap/plastic wrap. (I also brought a can opener for the families that were not prepared) I had a fold up table prepared to work on as this location did not have tables, however the pond was in a great location and a new journey for us to explore as a group.

The kids then took turns cutting and covering both ends/edges of their metal cans to ensure nothing sharp could hurt them. I asked parents to double check their work. Once lined with tape the kids then took a piece or two of plastic wrap (I suggest a double layer for sturdiness) and placed it over the can tightly. Once it was placed over the can they then secured it with more duct tape. Nice and tight!! The idea is that your plastic wrapped end can be put faced down into the water and you look through the open end, no water is to come into the can to make for clear viewing under the water. If your plastic wrap is taped loosely it will leak, which can make for a frustrating tool.

Once everyone had a completed project, we cleaned up and hit the trail in search of good access to the pond area. I had pre-visited the location with my family to ensure it would meet our needs. We found about 4 spots with very easy access, fun exploring areas, quality viewing and wonderful little finds. The kids found several different kinds of little fish, snails, fresh water clam shells (which we discussed why there were just shells - a sign of a critter eating them), nice rocks, unique plants and little treasures like a couple of coins. Even parents got in on the action to see how it worked. Older students waded out further and the younger students we kept closer to shore. They really enjoyed exploring a new way to look at a pond! Fun and hands on!!

These were some of the treasures the kids found using their pond viewers. We had many, many more including crawfish but I didn't get photos of them.

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