There was a pond in our old neighborhood. Every morning after I huffed our double stroller around the neighborhood, my twins would pop out at the pond and we would spend some time exploring.
Chasing ducks, watching for the elusive egrets, and finding endless entertainment in the bounty of sticks on the shore was the reward for all of us. Another mommy workout complete. Our daily adventures could begin.
In the two years I lived by this pond, their enthusiasm for this quiet little spot never waned. We read a lot of books and did a lot of related activities during this time. Below are our favorites.
In The Small Pond Storytime
Note: Our story times always have the same parts; We start with a hello song. Next, I read 2-3 books about a topic with a rhyme/song and group activity that works on a developmental goal in between each book. We end with a goodbye song and then head to the table. At the table there is an invitation of some sort that works on another one of the developmental skills they are building. These elements are all listed below so you can move them around into whatever order works for you!
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Books about the Pond
In the Small Small Pond by Denise Fleming
This Caldecott Honor Book is the featured choice for this week’s Virtual Book Club for Kids. It is a fun read aloud for toddlers and up about all of the wonders in a pond. I love the lively language and Fleming’s recognizable illustrative style that makes me want to immediately pull out our collage materials.
Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner
A gorgeous book and the latest in a beautiful series by Messner and Christopher Silas Neal. This one is a gentle moment between mother and son as they canoe over a pond full of quiet action. Can’t recommend any of the books in this collection enough!
Pond Walk by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
In the book the bear really want to see a turtle and I like how the messages of taking your time, noticing details, and being patient are described throughout the book. This book makes you want to go for your own pond walk.
Dimity Duck by Jane Yolen
Being a longtime fan of Jane Yolen, I was surprised to discover this previously unknown book on a recent hunt for duck related reads. It is the tender and playful story of a day in the life of Dimity Duck. Sebastien Braun’s depicting of Dimity Duck is undeniably darling, which helps to draw the reader into her little life. Full of rhythmic language, consonant pairs, and fun rhymes, Yolen’s language dances on the tongue. It is a great read aloud, as well as an excellent lesson in rhyming words. It is unfortunately more difficult to find in print these days – check your library or used bookstore for this one. You can buy a few copies on Amazon – that link is below.
Also Read: 10 Picture Books about Ducks
Songs + Rhymes about the Pond
Please Take Care of the Water from Music with Nancy (watch YouTube video)
Little Green Frog Song from Kiboomers (watch YouTube video)
The Goodbye Train is Leaving. (Watch on YouTube) from Jbrary
Table Invitations about the Pond.
Over and Under the Pond was the book that best captured the imagination of my kids. They have a fascination with what’s going on under the ground, under the water…what is the mystery? The secret under there?
I prepared a simple morning invitation for them to explore this idea of over and under a little more. This would also work well after story time or a read aloud session.
Over / Under Drawing + Storytelling Prompt
Over and Under book(s) by Kate Messner – optional
White Paper (one per kid)
Art Materials (we used markers, crayons and watercolors)
Place the books on the table with the art materials.
On one paper per child draw a line on the middle.
Write “What is over? What is under?” on an index card as a prompt.
The idea is for your child to draw what they see over and under something.
I let mine go in any direction they wanted with this. I got one picture of over and under dirt and another of over and under water. That one also came with a really fun story that I wrote down for my daughter.
For younger kids, offer a little more direction. In this case I would focus on ponds. What would they see above a pond? Can they draw that above the line? What would they see below the pond? Can they draw that under the line?
For younger kids, I might limit art materials as well. My kindergartners have full access to our art materials and they frequently go back to the art cart for different materials when working on projects. I originally put out crayons and watercolors for this activity – but rolled with it when my son really wanted to add markers. Toddlers and younger preschoolers will probably do better with fewer choices.
When they are done drawing, ask if they want to tell you a story about their over and under picture. I encourage you to write these down or record them with a recorder (my iPhone works great for this).
If you are hanging these up in a classroom, in the library, or even at home type up the words to their story to go along with their drawing.
Older kids will be able to write out their own story to go with their picture. Provide them with a piece of lined paper to do this with if they are interested after they draw their pictures.
Younger Kids will tell a much more brief story. Write down whatever words they offer to start drawing the connection between words and print.
This activity, of course, promotes creative expression but it also:
*encourages vocabulary in the conversations you have about their pictures and the stories
*develops fine motor skills
*offers a chance to practice positional words (over, under, above, below).
*storytelling and the connection between words and print.
More Activity Ideas
Printable Matching Game from Mama Smiles
Frog Hop Phonics from Rainy Day Mum
Edible Frog Life Cycle Snack from Teach Beside Me
Tweet Birds Storytime and Sensory Play from My Storytime Corner
The Best Water Play Ideas from Bambini Travel
Frog Life Cycle Coloring Pages from JDaniel4’s Mom
O is for Observing Ducks from Bambini Travel
Tips for Morning Pond Walks from Bambini Travel