Sunday 16 September 2018

Project 51: Pond Life!

Ferry Meadows, the local country park, had a pond dipping session for home educated children this week, so we decided to make pond life the week's project. Unfortunately it turned out to be a project that went wrong from start to finish!

Firstly, the Ferry Meadows pond dipping event was cancelled due to the algae levels being too high, so the children did a living things trail and plant cycle hunt instead. 
Not pond dipping at Ferry Meadows
Luckily there are a number of other nature reserves in the local area, so we decided to try pond dipping at one of those on our own. Bob's Pond was the closest, but unfortunately it wasn't particularly accessible for the children as the water levels were a bit low.
Not pond dipping at Bob's Pond
We had ordered a number of pond dipping books from the library, but seemingly even intra-library loans were beyond the capacity of our local underfunded library this week as they didn't arrive twice due to 'staff shortages'. So we bought a secondhand book online: My First Book of Pond Life. 
It's a good book for small children, nothing too excessive: clear illustrations and descriptions, and a checklist in the back. Unfortunately, although it was listed as 'Used-Very-Good', the checklist was filled with the previous owner's pen ticks. Nonetheless it did appear just in  time for our last wildlife walk of the week. 

Although we've visited Thorpe Meadows many times, we'd never visited the nearby Boardwalks nature reserve, in fact we'd never even heard of the hidden network of ponds and woodland walks before doing a search for local ponds. It even promised a pond dipping platform! Unfortunately despite a long walk round with three increasingly exhausted children, we never spotted the platform or found a pond suitable for dipping. We did, however, allow the children to get their nets wet in the nearby river inlet in Thorpe Meadows. 
Boardwalks and Thorpe Meadows
Of course there was only one way the week's pond dipping was going to finish: Solomon managed to fall in the river, although he is adamant that he was pushed by his two year old brother. Luckily it was very shallow and we had spare clothes. 

We did do a couple of craft activities this week as well, making life-cycle of the frog pictures and origami jumping frogs.
Origami and life-cycle of frogs
Despite the total pond dipping failure, we did enjoy the local parks on our doorstep, and we will try pond dipping again in the spring...the books might be in the library by then as well!

Next week's project: Battles!

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