Learning About and Caring For Frogs

Learning About and Caring For Frogs  Racheous - Lovable Learning - Unschooling

Since I shared how we are Raising Tadpoles and some of the resources we’re using to learn about the frog life cycle, half of our taddies have turned into froglets and frogs! It has been the most fascinating process to witness! Cameron and Lucy have been full of awe and wonder and questions.

I won’t go into the legalities of keeping amphibians. Research the regulations in your state to find our whether you require a permit and what is expected of you. Also, with any information I give, remember that I’m not an expert and I’m talking about our experience and Australian Green Tree Frogs.

We have every stage of frog development (bar the frog spawn aka eggs) in our tank at the moment!

 

tadpole legs front froglet frog land

Each of the tadpoles go through metamorphosis at different rates according to their environment (competition, temperature, etc). Their back legs develop first, then the front legs grow under the skin and pop out elbow first! (I had no idea – I got to witness it) sometimes hours between arms. It’s kind of hilarious watching them swim around with one arm.

It’s incredible to literally watch them transform before your eyes! Their once almost transparent belly changes (much to Cameron’s dismay – it is mighty fascinating to watch their teeny hearts pump as they swim around and eat) to opaque. The shape of their bodies alters dramatically, and you start to see colour changes and green in them.  Their mouth changes and their little eyes bulge upward and out moreso – all in a short span of time!

As soon as you see the metamorphs have all four legs, it’s typically only a day before they will be on land – so you have to be sure to provide the right space for your froglets.

 

Froglet and frog tank set up homeschool

Our temporary set up minus leaves (lid only off for the photo)

You can see our newest froglet on the back wall (above the stick) in the photo above. They jump around with that long tail!

They don’t eat in the first days of being on land and instead get nutrients as they reabsorb their tail. Their tail dramatically decreases in a matter of days. Once they do start eating, they are now fully insectivorous. They can only consume insects approximately as big as the space between their eyes. As froglets (with small tail stub) and young frogs, they can eat a few bugs a day but as they get bigger, they eat every other day and have larger meals. The like fruit flies, small crickets, meal worms, cockroaches, grasshoppers, and earth worms. Catching the insects is all part of the fun! Cameron loves finding “a little one!” but often needs help catching them!

Frogs typically eat when it’s dark, so we sometimes wait until before the kids bedtime before we release the bugs into the frog enclosure so we can watch them stalk, pounce, catch and eat their prey.

froggies

Frogs are fairly easy to keep as they only really need spaces to hide, height (if tree frogs), dechlorinated water and humidity.

Frogs skin has been the subject of many discussions in our home lately. They drink through their skin and absorb oxygen through their skin as well as their lungs. Because of this, they’re extremely sensitive to chemicals and Cameron and Lucy have learned that in order to handle the frogs, they must first wash their hands and scrub their nails thoroughly. We got our sweet perfect-sized child’s nail brush from Montessori Child.

 

frog handling preparation wash touching froglet

You have to remove any soaps and lotions. We also have dechlorinated water (for water changes for the tadpoles) that we dip our hands in prior to handling frogs. Handling the frogs is the kids favourite part, although we try not to do it often.

It’s a great exercise in gentleness and allows for closer observation. Tree frogs are pretty docile and don’t mind being handled. Our oldest frog actually jumps onto your hand if you put it near him.

 

Raising frogs and froglets homeschool

Speaking of learning, this has been the first full-blown project that Cameron has really got involved in. From drawing the life cycle to watching a documentary several times, to keeping a life cycle journal (free printable here) and reading many many books. He has loved learning more and more about frogs and I’ve loved watching him and facilitating!

 

frog unit table life cycle exploration reggio montessori

It’s the first time that I’ve been able to watch the magic and beauty of a child-led interest blossom. Cameron consistently wants to know more about them. Initially it was all about tadpoles. Now it’s all about froglets and frogs. The questions! So many questions! Thankfully we have many resources at our fingertips.

The beautiful wooden magnifying lens is from Montessori Child too and is the perfect strength and quality for viewing the tadpoles and frogs a little closer when they sit on the side of the glass.

frog life cycle resources books unit preschool

Most of our wildlife books are by Steve Parish, as they relate perfectly to Australian animals and are thorough with beautiful photography. We purchase our books from The Book Depository and Fishpond (both have free shipping to Australia – Book Depository is free worldwide – and I just go by what is cheapest).

We got our frog life cycle figures and 3 part cards from Montessori Child. They fit perfectly in my favourite tray. If you are from the US, Amazon sells the frog life cycle figures by themselves.

frog life cycle figurines play cards printable frog life cycle small world play

Cameron loves to use the figures in small world play and it’s great for him to clarify what he knows and is thinking about. I love hearing the things he comes out with. He was chattering about coiled intestines yesterday!

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I hope you found out something new and enjoyed us sharing our experience! Have you kept tadpoles or frogs before? Come share your experiences and questions over at the Lovable Learning community.

Thanks for reading!

 

Montessori Baby | Toys & Materials

montessori baby

contains affiliate/sponsored links

Montessori Toys and Materials for newborn babies to 18 month olds

I want to share some of my favourite handmade Montessori toys from Etsy – enjoy!

il_570xN.215417262Montessori baby 5 toy pack

il_570xN.307077662Baby gym

il_570xN.430422438_9j48Montessori visual mobiles

Montessori Baby Toys | Pinkhouse set on Etsy
Montessori Baby Toys set by Pinkhouse

il_570xN.525496636_lyqm4-in-1 progressive stacker

il_570xN.545472712_15xuGeometric solids

il_570xN.556095692_fyxcBall run

il_570xN.568592038_sc64Cube chair & table

il_570xN.583280147_luwmPull up bar

il_570xN.586595506_4leaMontessori pegs and beads set

il_570xN.594281849_9yarWool topponcino

Selecting Materials | Day 10 – 30DaysTYP

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Welcome to Day 10 in the 30 Days to Transform Your Play series with myself and An Everyday Story! Today we are discussing the selection of materials. This includes toys, play materials, art materials and books.

I completely agree with Kate that the materials and toys that we give our children is a reflection of how we view them. This is true too of the spaces we create for them and the way we display their belongings. Our respect for our child and their interests, their curiosity and their capabilities will show in the toys and materials we choose for them.

I select materials based on whether they are:
(in no particular order)

  • made of natural materials where possible,
  • realistic – I’ve touched on real tools for exploration and learning previously,
  • open-ended or at least have several uses,
  • engaging,
  • affordable (not necessarily ‘cheap’: for example, if an item is gender-less, spans many ages and has many uses – like Spielgaben, for example – I will view the expense as an investment)
  • attractive (not as a novelty, but attractive in the sense that it has beauty and simplicity that inspires play and exploration), and
  • good quality.

selecting materials

Task:

Some reflection for you:

  • What do you think is your image of a child & where do you think this view originated from?
  • How do you think this view and your idea of their capabilities influences the materials you purchase?
  • How do you think you could change the materials and/or your perception to better your child’s play and engagement?

Share your invitation to construct on Instagram with the hashtag #30daystyp and/or on my Lovable Learning Facebook group.

Here is the rest of the 30 Days to Transform Your Play series and make sure you’re following An Everyday Story’s posts too!

Culling Toys | Day 2 – 30 DaysTYP

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Today and over the coming days; we are going to start organising toys.

As a parent, you know that toys have the ability to grow seemingly out of nowhere. Unlike Kate at An Everyday Story, I do not have my toys culled and organised. I have a loose system but I haven’t got on top of it since the end of last year. So, I’m doing this with you!

With our list from last week, we know which toys are best to keep out at this rotation. Let’s move onto the others.

What to look for in a toy

Chances are, several of your child’s favourite play things are not toys at all. Untoys, like bags, containers, loose parts, kitchen items, etc. are brilliant and should be factored into play spaces.

The best play materials (toys) are open-ended and are only limited to your child’s imagination. This includes blocks, legos, play silks, loose parts, and other untoys. The play that is created from open-ended toys is creative, beautiful and meaningful.

Rotating toys

Why rotate toys?

  • Clean up is easier – both for the children, and yourself
  • Less toys = less clutter. Less clutter means increased meaningful, involved and creative play and discovery.
  • Increases interest. Children will view toys with renewed interest when the next toy rotation occurs. Aside from novelty, new play ideas and refreshed interest leads to better creative play.
  • Overstimulation is easier to avoid. Lots of toys can often lead to too much stimulation and consequently to disruptive play or no play at all. You can avoid this with a rotation system.
  • More engagement. Being more mindful and observant of which toys and how many toys are displayed will make a huge difference on the length of time your children will play with their toys.
  • Increased lifespan of toys. Both in terms of wear & tear and focused play. Therefore, you can buy less toys and less often.

You won’t rotate all of your toys. Some, like the open-ended toys described above, can be kept out while other toys are rotated depending on your child’s interests. Because of this, it’s great to keep toys stored according to themes.

009My current system is less than effective…

There’s no hard and fast rule on how many toys to keep out. It depends on the age of your kids, the space you have and your family.

Similarly, there is no toy rotation storage system that is one-size-fits-all. This is entirely dependent on your family – how many children you have, their ages, their interests and your spaces.

Some ideas include storing items by their use (i.e. fine motor toys), by theme (i.e. animals) or by their function (i.e. light table toys). This will depend on how your child plays and will require you to think and test what works for you.

Task:

  1. Sort through all the toys and identify which toys are going to be kept, donated or trashed.
  2. Trash all broken toys and any of those cheap plastic toys that somehow make their way into the mix.
  3. Put aside sentimental toys and chose the toys to donate: include toys that have been outgrown and those which haven’t been played with for some time.
  4. Organise plastic containers (clear so you can view what’s inside) and sort all the toys that won’t be out in this rotation.
  5. Put these containers out of site and set a date for next rotation.

Remember to continue observing your children’s play in between rotations so that you have an idea of what to bring out and put away.

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This is going to be a BIG job here at the Racheous household. I know it may be for you too. But I’m here, holding your hand and guiding you through it. We know why and how, so let’s do this!

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Please share your before/during/after photos of your toy cull. You can share a photo on my Facebook page or on Instagram using the 30 Days to Transform Your Play hashtag: #30daystyp

I will be!

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Best of luck!

If you missed a post, here’s the rest of the 30 Days to Transform Your Play series

30 Days to Transform Your Play | Series Introduction

30 Days to Transform Your Play series
30 Days to Transform Your Play series with Kate from An Everyday Story and I (Racheous – Lovable Learning). We have created this inspiring and thought-provoking series for you. With simple and practical advice for you.

You – the mama who respects her child and is passionate about learning with them
You – the mama who tries to be mindful with the toys and materials that are brought into your home but still finds herself overwhelmed
You – the mama who needs to re-organise her children’s playspace but needs some guidance
You – the mama who knows her child’s interests but isn’t 100% sure what to do with that information
You – the mama who wants to know how to organise invitations to play and explore
You – the mama who wants to know how to help her child represent and express ideas and learning
You – the mama who  wants to transform your play

30 days to transform your play
So where do you start?

Think about and answer this: Why do you want to make changes to the way you approach your child’s play?

Over the coming weeks we will be working with you on all of the above and more. This is an interactive series. We want you to be involved.

Share your questions, updates and suggestions on our Facebook pages, Instagram with the hashtag #30daystyp (30 Days [to] Transform Your Play).

And if you feel inspired to blog about your experiences, make sure you leave a link in the comments each day so we can all pop over and have a read. 30 Days to Transform Your Play.

If you haven’t already done it, make sure you set aside some time today to complete your homework from last week; you’ll need that information for tomorrow’s task.

Be sure to follow us as we update daily for the next 30 days and guide you with practical and inspiring tips to transform your play. See you tomorrow!