I am super excited about today’s post- it’s another collaboration, this time with my friend Asia from Fun at Home with Kids! Even though Asia and I have never officially met in real life, we do chat quite a bit, and happened to run across this photo from Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School at the same time. In one of those “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” moments, we were inspired to create two very different (but equally awesome) super-sized “pond worlds” for our little ones and post about them together. Be sure to hop over and check out her pond after you’re done here…you are going to love what she came up with!
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If you are a regular reader of Twodaloo, you know that I stress the importance of creating pretend play scenes based on a child’s real life experiences, especially when they are very young. You want to work on language within a meaningful context, meaning situations they are familiar with and will have opportunities to repeat. Luckily, we have lots of experience with creeks and ponds- let me show you our favorite place to spend a sunny morning!
There is a park not too far away that has a beautiful creek running right through it.
The twins love to sit on the banks of the creek and observe the wildlife- here they are having snack time with Mimi.
There are tons of creatures to get acquainted with here- like these slider turtles. We’ve seen soft shell and snapping turtles, too!
Although the turtles are my personal favorite, the twins are all about the ducks. They are definitely the stars of the show, and it’s always interesting to count the different species on any given day.
Let’s Make a Duck Pond!
While we couldn’t quite recreate a creek in our backyard, we were able to make a convincing pond relatively easily using our 6′ x 8′ sand box. To begin, I simply made a large mound of sand in the middle of the sandbox, dug a trench around it, and mounded the rest of the sand around the sides.
Then I draped a giant brown tarp over the entire sandbox, moved some of our tree stumps to the corners, and added a few faux cattails and grasses that I found on clearance at a craft store. After filling our “pond” with a few inches of water, all that was left was the wildlife!
I found these used duck decoys at a junk store for a few dollars each. Every time we went looking for “treasures,” the twins would make a beeline for these guys. They were so excited when we actually brought them home one day!
Another fun thing we added to the pond setup were these dragonfly puppets- they only took me a few minutes to make and the twins are STILL playing with them! More to come on these guys soon.
The twins were beyond excited to jump right into their very own “duck pond.”
They wasted no time getting acquainted with the locals.
The ducks bobbed around very convincingly on the surface.
Sydney became particularly attached to our resident turtle (find him HERE). They did lots of experimentation with floating and sinking while trying to get their animals to “swim.”
The twins enjoyed the pond on two levels- I saw LOTS of imaginative play with this setup, which made me very happy from a developmental standpoint. Plus it was just so darn fun to watch!
In this picture, Mr. Duck and Mr. Turtle are having a polite conversation. “Hi Duck! My name is Turtle! How dee do, friend?”
I love how the wings of the dragonflies caught the light as they “flew” over the pond, just like in real life!
Although the pretend play was fantastic, the twins also loved the physical aspect of the pond world, too. The “island” in the middle was just the right size for climbing up…
“I wuv you Duckie!”
This was such a fun activity for a summer afternoon and only took a few minutes to set up. The cool thing about using a sandbox to make a pond is you can move the sand around to create different configurations. It would be neat for older children to make their own landscapes by digging holes and making mounds in the sand before covering with the tarp. If you had a large enough area of sand you could actually make a small creek!
Like the idea of a giant pretend play world? For more inspiration, check out our “Giant Sensory Lagoon”!
Don’t have a giant sandbox? Never fear! You can still create your own giant pond just about anywhere you have room- even your driveway. Wanna see how? Click on the photo below to “hop” over to Fun At Home With Kids and check out the Giant Frog Pond World she created for her little ones!