From Tadpole to Frog the Perfect Plan for a Family Learning Adventure

Did you know an American Bull Frog can jump 17 feet? Frogs are amazing creatures; transforming themselves from wiggly tadpoles to four legged, croaking, hopping amphibians, and if they are handled with respect, tadpoles make a terrific "temporary" pet.

Did you know an American Bull Frog can jump 17 feet?

Frogs are amazing creatures; transforming themselves from wiggly tadpoles to four legged, croaking, hopping amphibians, and if they are handled with respect, tadpoles make a terrific "temporary" pet.

Amphibian- the class of animals that includes frogs means, "double life." It's true! Every frog does indeed live two different lives. It hatches from an egg to spend its life as a creature of fresh water--eating plants and using gills to breath and a tail to swim. But, in time, like magic--metamorphosis happens. The gills are replaced by lungs and the tail becomes part of the body. The tadpole becomes a land-dwelling, meat-eating (carnivorous)--frog!

Just the mere mention of the word frog is enough to get most kids hopping. Both the frog and its call are famous-especially to children who have spent time around water during the early morning or evening hours of summer.

Looking for something special to do with your kids this season? Summer is the perfect time to plan a tadpole-learning adventure. Why not take advantage of the excitement that comes from the already-famous chorus of deep, throaty croaks and ribbits.

In the next few paragraphs, you will find helpful tips and information you will need in order to plan your own adventure. These details will guide you through catching and growing your own frogs--helping you to make the most of your experience with nature.

Before you get started, there are a few things you should do in order to make your scientific journey more memorable and fun. First, it is helpful to pay a visit to your local library or bookstore. While you are there, gather a pile of picture books and articles related to tadpoles and frogs. Reading them aloud to your children will add to their excitement, while providing valuable facts and background information about your family's new pet project.

Next, be sure to give each child a notebook or journal for record keeping. Invite them to design their own covers. Then explain that they will be using their journals to jot down their observations and facts. Also, give them a camera. Inexpensive, disposable cameras work well for taking photographs of their tadpoles at various stages of development.

Finally, the fun begins! Find the nearest pond or lake to begin your search for a large population of these fascinating little creatures. Help your children collect a few. Bring them home in a jar of (pond or lake) water. If possible, place river sand or sand from the bottom of the lake in the tadpole container.

Be careful not to put too many tadpoles in one container. Most people recommend four gallons of water for every group of twenty (full grown) tadpoles.

Once you have brought the tadpoles home, use rain water (or room temperature bottled spring water) to keep the container full. Lettuce or fish flakes will make a good meal for your tadpoles-since most tadpole species are herbivores.

Finally, it's time to watch and see! Within a few weeks, these tadpoles will begin to change. First they will develop legs or little buds that will become legs. This is the start of metamorphosis. Over time, mouths will appear too, and their gills will stop working. Soon, their skin will change to allow air and water through.

The tails will completely disappear and like magic-metamorphosis happens. Your tadpoles will have slowly transformed into croaking, hopping amphibians!

Return them to their natural habitats once the transformation is complete, and you will see that the magic of metamorphosis was indeed-the perfect family learning adventure!