Young scientists are fascinated with living creatures. Their natural curiosity about how living things change and grow make kindergarteners budding scientists, eager to learn and absorb interesting facts about the world around them.
In kindergarten, students are learning the concept of a life cycle – the stages of a living organism's life that progress in an ordered sequence. Kindergarten students learn that cycles progress in a circle, so that the last step takes you right back to the beginning, and the cycle repeats itself.
Here's a simple craft activity that can help your youngster better visualize the life cycle of a frog as a circle.
What You Need:
- Bubble wrap (with small bubbles)
- Black plastic garbage bag
- Black or green ink pad
- Green construction paper
- Paper plate
What You Do:
- Use the marker to draw lines on the paper plate and divide it into fourths.
- On the top left portion, glue a square of bubble wrap. Assist your child in labeling this part of the plate “eggs.” Explain that frogs hatch from clusters of eggs laid in the water. Ask your child to describe what the eggs look like. (They are clear, or see-through, and they are all clumped together.) Explain that real frog eggs are like jelly.
- Use scissors to cut several small tear-drop shapes from the garbage bag, then glue them on the top right portion of the plate. (Position them horizontally, so they look like they are swimming.) Assist your child in writing the word “tadpole” to label this stage of the frog's life. Explain that the eggs hatch into little creatures called tadpoles, and ask your child to describe what they look like. (They are black, and have a big end – the head – and a pointy end – the tail.) Explain that tadpoles swim around in the water like little fish. Ask your child if these baby frogs look like grown-up frogs.
- Have your child stamp her thumbprint two or three times on the bottom right portion of the plate. This will be the larger tadpoles' heads. Use scissors to cut pointy triangle shapes from the garbage bag to create the tadpoles' tails. Glue these to the thumbprint heads. Then, use the marker to draw front and back legs on the larger tadpoles. Draw on a mouth and eyes. Assist your child in labeling this piece “froglet.” Explain that the tadpole changes as it grows bigger. It grows legs in the back first, then in the front, and finally, its tail starts to disappear. Now it's almost a grown-up frog, and it is called a froglet. Ask your child to tell you if it looks more like a grown-up frog now.
- Cut out a simple frog from the green construction paper. Glue it onto the last fourth of the paper plate. Use the marker to draw on eyes and a mouth. Assist your child in writing the word “frog” to label this final stage of the frog's life cycle. Explain that the frog is now an adult. It can now leave the water, and it can lay eggs of its own.
- Have your child use the paper plate model to re-tell the frog's life cycle in her own words. Ask her to describe what shape the life cycle sequence progresses through.
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading.