5 Speckled Frogs Natural Small World Play

Create a beautiful frog pond small world play scene using natural play materials arranged as loose parts for free play and exploration. Team it up with some information books to turn it into a little science and discovery table for plenty of opportunities to learn through play!
It’s been a while since I set up a new small world play scene for the girls, so we put together this little frog pond natural play scene for some early science fun and to celebrate one of our favourite counting songs, “5 Little Speckled Frogs”. It works well as a Spring theme and can be added to as the season (finally) unfolds. We found two books about frogs to add to the table, one information book and another called “Growing Frogs” which is a favourite of mine from teaching days about a little girl who watched the development of her frogs from frogspawn in her home.
This small world play scene included:
silky green fabric, patterned peacock print fabric, blue foam pond shape, natural tree building logs, 5 small speckled toy frogs, blue glass pebbles, natural beach pebbles, green felt leaves, green felt lily-pads and two books about frog life-cyles.
They immediately set about singing the counting song, placing the little frogs on the log and counting down as they jumped them into the pond, one after the other. The kinaesthetic action of moving the frogs one by one from one location to another is fantastic for consolidating how to count using 1:1 correspondence (i.e. that one object represents one number.)  If you don’t know the song already, this is how it goes:
5 little speckled frogs,
Sat on a speckled log,
Easting the most delicious grubs, YUM YUM!
1 jumped into the pool,
Where it was nice and cool,
Then there were just 4 speckled frogs, GLUB GLUB! (repeat down to 0)
We read the books together and spent some time talking about how frogs behave and their habitats. They enjoyed rearranging the loose parts and making up their own stories to go along with the scene. 

For an extra opportunity to learn through their play, I wrote a few simple labels onto leaf shaped card and paced them next to the pond. We also found a wooden massage roller in baby’s treasure basket and, along with a toy wooden knife, experimented with using them to scrape back and forth to create a froggy “ribbit ribbit” croaking sound! 

Combining science, story-telling, non-fiction information books, singing, music making and numeracy play, this is a fabulous activity area to set up for Spring time with little ones, and can be extended to create more opportunities for learning depending on the interests of each child!

What they are learning as they play:
maths: singing familiar counting songs from memory, counting up and back to 5
creativity: singing familiar songs from memory, creating sounds using everyday objects and materials, making music to accompany songs, creating animal and nature sounds, imaginative play
science: learning about life-cycles, animal habitats
literacy: understanding about non-fiction books, creating stories through play
Browse our other Small World Play ideas here

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  1. says

    I read that book on your display, from tadpole to frog yesterday with my children. It was fascinating! We are planning to make little books on the frog cycle today. I really enjoy reading your blog, lots of ideas to do with my 5 little ones.

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  3. says

    This is such a fun idea, I love these activities you come up with, it’s so multi fasceted. I can’t wait to try this when my boy is older. How do you come up with these things, is it spontaneous or do you think and plan it in advance and get all the bits together gradually?

  4. says

    I love it :) Especially because I have a pond sensory bin stored somewhere with everything in it already. I just did not think of this wonderful extension.
    If I write a post about it, I would love to link back to you about extension ideas for the pond sensory bin :)