I think it is so important for kids to be kids, to explore, get messy, discover nature and what is around them. I am always on the lookout for new exciting ways to get the children into nature and the great outdoors.
A great inexpensive way for this is pond dipping. We are lucky to have a beautiful river running through are local park that is teaming with pond life. The nets themselves are very cheap, I got two of them from Amazon and the other we picked up last year at the beach.
This time that we went pond dipping we couldn’t even find our bucket so I used an old takeaway tub that I had cleaned out but if you do have a bucket it would be better. We normally use a crab bucket as they are clear so children can easily peer through and see what is inside the bucket.
My girls had an amazing time, we were fishing for ages and found all sorts of creatures. The excitement on their faces every time they pulled the net up from the river and found something inside of it. After about 30 mins we had caught two fish, a few caddis fly larvae, a great pond snail, a slug and a pond skater.
We also fished out two bees that fell into the water, my girls were please that they had saved their lives. It was great for the girls to get so close to the bees and have a real good look at them.
They could see that as long as the bees are left alone they are harmless to us. The bees were actually mid mating which is probably the reason they landed in the water in the first place, but to the eyes of the innocent child it was a mother bee and her baby.
It was amazing to get so close to them and one of the bees was the biggest bee I had ever seen. As you can see from the picture the bee at the back is an average size bee but looks small in comparison.
The girls also fished out a butterfly that fell in but unfortunately it wasn’t so lucky. Alexa also pointed out a really big dragonfly she had spotted and as we were all watching it fly around it swooped above our heads and caught a butterfly and flew off with it.
It’s amazing what you can see just from being by the river and taking a good look around. The fun didn’t stop there as on the way back to the car the girls were chasing the butterflies with the fishing nets trying to catch them. We only managed to catch one but the girls had great fun trying. Not to mention the exercise they got from running backwards and forwards chasing after them.
The girls then decided to use the nets to go on a bug hunt. They heard the grasshoppers in the long grass and discovered if they used the nets they could catch them. It was the first time they had actually seen a grasshopper and enjoyed watching how far they can jump and listening to the noise they make.
Pond dipping is a great day out that is inexpensive and provides so many learning opportunities for children and adults. It kept my girls amused and interested for hours and gave them a hands on learning experience that they will remember a lot longer than seeing pictures in a book.
Me and the girls all gave pond dipping a big thumbs up and will definitely be returning again during the holidays and I recommend to any parent looking for activities to do with children over the summer to give pond dipping a try.
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